Ted (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus enjoys the swearing and gags but it's Flash that steals the show...
John Bennet (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy that loved his teddy bear. Like many a child he wished his teddy bear ‘Teddy’ (Seth MacFarlane) would come to life and when Teddy does, John’s life brightens a little. However a boy’s dream of a talking teddy is one thing, it’s a whole different story when the teddy bear grows up with John and the pair share everything, together, including sexual experiences, bad language and drinking habits. Now John’s girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) wants John to grow up a little but can he leave his best friend behind?
Seth MacFarlane somehow found a gap in his busy schedule of creating TV shows, doing voices for his many much loved characters, doing Star Wars specials galore, singing, writing, doing the odd acting cameo and generally being the go to guy for a large chunk of modern mainstream comedy and decided to do a feature film. Opting for a live action project as opposed to animation, MacFarlane brings his usual blend of wise cracking, pop culture references, balls out offensive comedy and men who hang out with talking animals and wraps it all up in a computer generated bear that he is also the voice for. Phew, this guy just doesn't stop working does he?
Ted has been a huge hit in the box office. In fact, there’s barely a person I know that hasn't seen it, either theatrically or more so on DVD when it hit a couple of weeks back and that's quite rare. MacFarlane has seemingly brought his fanbase along with him to the big leagues and the Family Guy humour has obviously spread far enough to bring in a new crowd too. Ted is a concept that works. Sure it's got plenty of similarities to MacFarlane's previous work and the dramatic side of the tale feels a little forced but as a first movie to further spread the works of Seth MacFarlane, Ted totally works. Everyone loves a swearing teddy bear and MacFarlane uses his new character well in amongst this fairly routine story.
It’s not all swearing bears though. Wahlberg is proving to be comedy gold of late. Unafraid of playing the dumb guy with his bewildered expressions and laid back attitude to life, Marky Mark is a joy to be around in a comedy. In fact, I would go as far as to say, some of Wahlberg’s mannerisms or throw away lines between the more obvious gags in the film had me laughing way more than the big teddy bear set pieces. He also plays well off of his CGI companion and sells the friendship between then.
As a whole, Ted feels a little bit too long and a little bit too straight forward in places but it’s got a whole load of things to love about it. Some of the sharper throw away lines at the end of scenes really can shine and most of the bigger gags hit in all the right places. The cast are all likeable and well used (though Kunis doesn't really get a great deal to play with). The highlight here however is the segments loaded with Flash Gordon references. These nods to the 80s classic are amazing and tweaked my inner geek so much I actually picked up the Flash Gordon movie on Blu-ray for a rewatch straight after seeing Ted at the cinema. MacFarlane, as usual, does fan celebration of cult favourites incredibly well and he knocks one out of the park with his use of Sam Jones back in the Flash Gordon outfit.
This stuff alone makes Ted a highlight of 2012 for me and even though I know MacFarlane is capable of much more and will hopefully keep providing big screen comedies in the years to come, Ted is a great first entry in his cinematic directorial efforts and caters for both fans and casual movie goers alike.
Well this DVD suffers from having HD good looks without the HD power to sell it. Colours are bright and the entire movie has a warm glow to it but without the 1080p power behind it, this DVD just winds up looking like a weak presentation. It's very soft, not all that bright and totally lacks any sort of impressive definition. The gap between standard definition and HD seems to grow month by month but and this one really shows off just how bad DVD looks when compared to a good Blu-ray.
This Dolby Digital track is a strong effort. Dialogue is crisp, beginning with Patrick Stewart's voice over and continuing into the characters as they enter the story. The music sits in the rear speakers very well and MacFarlane's use of big band numbers and the Flash Gordon soundtrack are both punchy and well spread through the mix. The film isn't exactly action heavy but the odd car crunch or screech have a bit of power behind them and all in all this is an audio presentation that ticks all the right boxes for it's genre.
Sadly there's nothing extra on the DVD release. Yup, pretty weak Universal.
On first viewing I liked Ted but didn't love it, on second viewing I found myself laughing a whole lot more and sinking into the mood of it all a little better. As I already knew how the run of the mill story played out, I could just let it go but it is still the weakest element of the movie. MacFarlane's delivers a solid first movie to his fanbase and seemingly the movie going crowd also got their kicks from it (even my mum loved it!). Sadly the DVD release is bare bones and has an under par video presentation, even though the audio does a great job. Looks like the Family Guy fans will have to go Blu-ray for this one.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 26th November 2012
Disc Type: Single side, single layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, English DVS
Easter Egg: No
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFalane, Giovanni Ribisi)
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 0 minutes
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