ted bares all on Blu-ray in an edition that includes both the theatrical version of the movie and a longer, unrated cut that goes on for another seven minutes. The movie itself, which centers on the relationship between a grown child and his magically living teddy bear, is intermittently funny. When it works, there are some very silly laughs to be had, particularly when it comes to 1980s movie trivia. Given that this is a movie written, directed and effectively starring Seth MacFarlane, it’s not hard to spot the Family Guy-styled humor in everything from the improvised gag lines to Patrick Stewart’s lovingly bizarre narration. Unfortunately, at nearly two hours in length, there’s just not enough material here to fill the time, and many of the gags are nowhere near as funny as the filmmakers clearly think them to be.
Studio: Universal/Media Rights Capital/Fuzzy Door/Bluegrass Films/Smart Entertainment
Length: 1 hr 47 mins (R-Rated Version), 1 hr 54 mins (Unrated Version)
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Obscene Teddy Bear/Seth MacFarlane
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, (AVC @ 30 mbps)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.2 mbps), Spanish DTS 5.1, French DTS 5.1, English DVS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Content Rating: R (Crude and Sexual Content, Pervasive Language, Some Drug Use, Obscene Teddy Bear Behavior), Unrated (See note for R-Rated Version)
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi
Screenplay by: Seth MacFarlane & Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Film Rating: 2 ½/5
You would think that ted would be a lot funnier than it turns out to be. It has the right ingredients: Seth MacFarlane at the helm and providing the voice of the title character, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in a fun mood, and plenty of opportunities for the wacky cultural references and sight gags MacFarlane’s Family Guy has become known for providing. The basic story is certainly a fun thought – the movie centers around the relationship between John (Mark Wahlberg) and his lifelong friend and teddy bear Ted (Seth MacFarlane via voice and motion capture). The only complication to the guys’ happy life is John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), and the growing realization that John will eventually have to grow up. There really isn’t much more to the story than that – there’s a bit about Ted having to move out, and a convenient bit of tension coming from a stalker fan of Ted’s (Giovanni Ribisi), but most of the time is spent watching Wahlberg and MacFarlane have a great time popping one-liners back and forth as the CGI animators have fun making the teddy bear smoke pot, make obscene gestures and do pretty much every wrong thing they can. So what’s the problem? In short, the movie is too long and not enough of the jokes land. It’s certainly funny in bits here and there. There’s some great material in some of the exchanges, particularly between Ted and his poker-faced boss (Bill Smitrovich), Patrick Stewart’s narration is occasionally hilarious, and some of the ad-libs are inspired at the level of Family Guy, but that’s not enough to sustain this movie for nearly two hours. (And I won’t even get into some of the more obscene jokes that just fall flat.) The movie is funny, but it’s not THAT funny. Fans of Family Guy will want to rent this to see Seth MacFarlane’s latest work, while more casual viewers may have some fun, provided they understand what they are getting into here.
Two versions of the movie are presented here. One is the R-Rated theatrical version, and the other is an unrated version that runs 7 minutes longer. For purposes of this review, I watched the longer version, with occasional visits to the theatrical version to be able to listen to the commentary.
ted was released on Blu-ray and standard definition this week. The DVD and the Blu-ray share some of the special features. Both the DVD and Blu-ray offer both versions of the movie, as well as a making-of documentary, a gag reel and a commentary track. The Blu-ray adds some deleted scenes and alternate takes, along with an additional featurette about the big fight scene. Of course, the Blu-ray package includes both discs. Instructions for downloading a digital copy and getting an Ultraviolet copy are also included in the package.
VIDEO QUALITY 4 ½/5
ted is presented in a 1080p AVC 1.85:1 transfer that presents a wide variety of environments and textures in satisfying detail. The biggest trick here is Ted himself, whose CGI animation is seamless with the live action and who appears more than lifelike.
AUDIO QUALITY 4 ½/5
ted is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, as well as standard 5.1 DTS mixes in Spanish and French. An English DVS track is also available for the R-rated version of the movie. Much of the mix lives in the front channels, as is appropriate for comedy, but there’s still a fair amount of directionality and atmosphere in the surrounds. The subwoofer comes into play for several of the music cues and some inflated action moments in the latter half of the movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES 3/5
The Blu-Ray presentation of ted comes with several special features, including a commentary track, some deleted and alternate scenes, a gag reel and a group of featurettes about the movie’s production.
My Scenes – The usual Blu-ray bookmarking feature is available here, allowing the viewer to set their own bookmarks throughout the film.
BD-Live - This Blu-ray includes access to Universal’s BD-Live online site, allowing for the viewing of trailers online.
pocket BLU – This Blu-ray includes the usual pocket BLU functionality, enabling viewers with appropriate laptop, iPad or smart phone integration to remotely control their Blu-ray player and access some of the bonus content from the separate device. Also, a digital copy is available for download via the pocket BLU application.
Feature Commentary with Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Mark Wahlberg (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) (THEATRICAL VERSION ONLY) – This scene-specific commentary finds the guys in a jovial mood, joking and free-associating about practically everything onscreen and off. It’s not one of the more in-depth production discussions I’ve ever heard, but the guys are pretty funny and it’s never hard to spend a couple of hours listening to Seth MacFarlane free-associate.
The following materials are presented in high definition on the Blu-ray. If they are also available on the DVD, they would obviously be presented in standard definition there:
Gag Reel (6:24, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – About six and a half minutes of blown takes and gag reactions are included here. At least a few of them involve Mila Kunis breaking out with the giggles, which tends to be a fun moment for the set as we see in the other special features.
The Making of ted (34:42 Total, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – This making-of documentary is actually three featurettes combined together: “A Guy, A Girl and A Teddy Bear”, “Doing it Live” and “A MacFarlane Set”. Overall, this is actually a fairly satisfying look at how the movie was made. A fair amount of time is spent on the creation of the title character, including the fact that MacFarlane actually performed the motion capture and voice work on set, thus allowing everyone to ad-lib their interactions with the teddy bear to their heart’s content. The middle featurette shows a lot of the tricks to making this movie, including the use of a stuffed animal for a guide take, and then the use of a small stand for eyeline before essentially making the cast act to thin air. Probably the best moment of the documentary comes when Mila Kunis admits to completely losing her composure every time she heard Mark Wahlberg say “bear” in his inimitable Boston accent. (Read: “Beaw”) An extended take of Kunis laughing her head off in the car is presented for viewer’s enjoyment – the best part of which is watching her look ANYWHERE but at Wahlberg, who is knowingly egging her on.
teddy bear scuffle (5:38, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This Blu-ray exclusive is a pretty thorough look at the climactic Mark Wahlberg/Teddy Bear fight. Beyond the normal material of seeing the stunt rehearsals and discussing the difficulty of staging a fight with a CGI character, there is something strangely satisfying about seeing Wahlberg getting into a punch-out with a teddy bear. If anything, this featurette almost makes the time I spent enduring Contraband worth it. Almost.
Deleted Scenes (14:54 Total, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – 15 deleted scenes are presented here, totaling out at about 15 minutes. Most of these are fairly minor ideas, or extra jokes that just don’t play out.
Alternate Takes (10:32, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Similar to the Line-o-Rama feature usually included on Judd Apatow movies, this is a collection of alternate ad-libs between Ted and the other characters, showing rough animation in most cases. The selected take is usually shown first, followed by a few alternate jokes that were left out.
DVD Copy – A second disc is included in the package, holding the standard DVD of the theatrical cut of the movie. It contains the movie presented in standard definition in an anamorphic 1.85:1 picture with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound in English, Spanish and French (448 kbps). The English DVS track is also included. The commentary, gag reel and Making-of documentary are all included, in standard definition. The DVD also includes a “Previews” menu containing trailers for Get Him to the Greek, The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Role Models, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Paul and Your Highness. One feature on the DVD that doesn’t pop up on the Blu-ray is a subtitle track for the commentary.
Digital and Ultraviolet Copies – Instructions are included in the packaging for downloading a digital copy of the movie to your laptop or portable device, as well as for obtaining an Ultraviolet streaming copy to be placed up in the cloud. No deadline for activation is indicated on the insert. I note again that the pocket BLU online menu also includes an option for downloading the digital copy.
Subtitles are available for the film and the special features, in English, Spanish and French. A full chapter menu is available for the film.
IN THE END...
ted is a surprising misfire of a comedy. It works at various moments and has a few laugh-out-loud funny bits in it, but it’s not the barn burner one would expect from Seth MacFarlane and this cast. Part of this is due to the length of the movie, and part of it is due to many of the jokes just not being that funny. (Call me prudish, but I just don’t find defecation gags to be hilarious…) The Blu-ray nevertheless presents this movie in the best possible light, with solid high definition picture and sound, and with some fine special features. Fans of Seth MacFarlane will definitely want to rent this, while more casual viewers will probably want to think about the option first.
December 14, 2012.
Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:
Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at ISF picture mode
-Set professionally calibrated by AVICAL in June 2012
Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver
Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player
PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)
5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)
2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)
Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer