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John makes a Christmas miracle happen by bringing his one and only friend to life, his teddy bear. The two grow up together and John must then choose to stay with his girlfriend or keep his friendship with his crude and extremely inappropriate teddy bear, Ted.
For more about Ted and the Ted Blu-ray release, see Ted Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on November 30, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Mila Kunis, Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton
Narrator: Patrick Stewart
Director: Seth MacFarlane
» See full cast & crew
Ted Blu-ray Review
"John, I look like something you give to your kid when you tell 'em Grandma died."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, November 30, 2012
Story by Seth MacFarlane. Screenplay by Seth MacFarlane. Directed by Seth MacFarlane. Starring Seth MacFarlane. Produced by Seth MacFarlane. Ted isn't just MacFarlane's big screen directorial debut, it's a message to Hollywood: Um, yeah. That thing I did on TV? I'm about to do it here. Lest ye forget, Family Guy was canceled in 2001, only to gain momentum in syndication in Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, bag huge numbers in DVD sales, and return to Fox in an unheard of series resurrection in 2004. And give way to American Dad in 2005. And spawn successful spin-off The Cleveland Show in 2009. And launch its eleventh season in 2012. And earn its creator the hosting gig at the 85th Academy Awards. What would have quashed the aspirations of most industry upstarts only propelled MacFarlane into stardom, transforming him into something of a TV animation magnate along the way. But I digress. Ted is more than a message to Hollywood too. It's laugh-out-loud funny -- hilarious even -- and just sharp enough to suggest MacFarlane's world is about to get much, much bigger.
When a lonely little boy named John (Bretton Manley) makes a desperate wish that his teddy bear would come to life, the universe answers his plea and grants his stuffed friend a soul. Fast forward twenty-seven years. John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (Seth MacFarlane, providing the raunchy Ruxpin both a voice and motion capture performance) are roommates, and most everyone in their South Boston neighborhood has come to accept the talking teddy bear as a local fixture. Ted's obscene, tasteless antics are starting to wear thin, though, especially as far as John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) is concerned. Before long, Ted is looking for a job and an apartment, John and Ted find themselves on the outs, Lori and John split, and an obsessed fan (Giovanni Ribisi) kidnaps Ted to the devious delight of his barbaric son (Aedin Mincks). Can Ted forge a life apart from John? Can Lori and John make it work? Can they save poor Ted from a grisly fate? Can a cocaine-snorting, prostitute-wrangling, curse-spewing teddy bear sustain laughs for almost two hours?
I didn't have a lot of hope going into Ted. Its trailers left me grinning, sure... but that voice. MacFarlane's voice bothered me in the trailers and it bothers me in the film. Regardless of whether you love or loathe Family Guy, it's hard to get past the fact that Ted sounds like Peter Griffin. The tone is a bit deeper, the Baaahstin accent a bit thicker than Peter's nasally Rhode Island inflection, but the two, particularly when paired with MacFarlane's delivery, are strikingly similar. And while that may seem like a petty point on which to mount an attack, a distraction is a distraction, and no film benefits from a distraction. It doesn't help that much of Ted's humor relies on the same shock and awe comedy, boundary-breaching gags and rapidfire pop culture references as MacFarlane's animated stable. In another reality, Ted could be a Family Guy spin-off, and a successful one at that. In many ways, Ted's best bits are decidedly small screen, albeit upgraded with unabashedly crass R-rated content.
But put aside such hangups and give Ted even half a fighting chance, and you'll be lucky to catch your breath in between belly laughs. Comedy notwithstanding, MacFarlane and Wahlberg take the man-meets-talking-teddy-bear setup so seriously that the sincerity of it all is nothing short of refreshing. Most filmmakers would have built a story around the need to keep Ted's existence secret. Here Ted's existence is a given; the mystery and luster of his living, breathing, talking nature having already faded at some point between his "birth," his failed stab at celebrity stardom, and his attempts to land a working stiff's job at a supermarket. He isn't feared or misunderstood. He's just one of the guys. And it's in that seemingly throwaway nod to the mundane that Ted lands its fiercest punches. Bitter knockout, dragout fist fights are suddenly that much funnier. Sam Jones cameos are instantly that much more effective. John and Lori's relationship woes are that much more believable, the strains placed on Ted and John's friendship are that much more familiar, the already seamless CG is that much more convincing, and the entire film is that much more infectious. Granted, it's far from perfect -- the relatively inexperienced MacFarlane dons a few too many production hats, and it shows -- but you certainly won't forget it anytime soon. It's playing on my television now and, even muted, it's still making me laugh. I suppose that says plenty.
Ted Blu-ray, Video Quality
I don't have any major gripes when it comes to Ted's 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer. Colors are surprisingly natural and subdued, with lifelike skintones, nicely saturated primaries and deep blacks, while contrast is dialed in perfectly, without any crush, problematic delineation or hot whites to speak of. Detail is excellent as well, from the crisp, clean edges that grace every scene to the refined, precisely resolved fine textures that elevate every patch of faux-fur, swatch of fabric, five o'clock shadow, darting aquarium fish, broken shard of hotel room furniture, discarded Corn Pop or nacho. Better still, there isn't any significant artifacting, banding, aliasing or errant noise to report. Ted looks every bit as good as a new film shot with Panavision Genesis HD cameras should.
Ted Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Whether by shrewd intention or something less exacting, Ted's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track sounds as if it's been culled from a high-concept sitcom, with a presumably faithful but front-heavy mix that values center-channel quips and conversation above all else. To that end, dialogue is clean, clear and smartly prioritized, and Ted's voice is nestled in the same world-weary Boston as those of his co-stars. The rear speakers, meanwhile, provide little more than light ambience and atmosphere, and really only kick it up a notch during storms, battle-royale hotel fights and climactic chase scenes. The LFE channel follows suit, lending its support when needed but rarely making much of an impact. That said, Walter Murphy's score and the film's various songs give the lonely soundfield a few friends to play with, which is more than enough as far as Ted's sound design is concerned.
Ted Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ted Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Ted isn't for everyone, but what comedy is? MacFarlane has crafted a genuinely funny bit of profane puppetry (or motion capturing I suppose), and anyone who gives it a shot will be surprised by just how much laughter they have pent up inside. Universal's Blu-ray release is even better, with a terrific video transfer, a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, and a nice batch of special features primed with even more laughs. Ultimately, I'm not sure if Ted will grow on me with age, but I'm willing to give it another go. Chances are you'll feel the same.
Ted: Other Editions
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Ted Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, December 10-16: Ted's Misbehavior Scores Top Sales - December 20, 2012
For the week that ended on December 16th, Universal Studios' Ted won the top sales position on both the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts. The film is the first live-action feature from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, and the audience interest ...
• Ted Blu-ray (Updated) - October 11, 2012
Universal Studios is bringing Ted home to Blu-ray. Starring Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) and Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Ted is the latest offering from infamous, politically incorrect adult comedian, Seth MacFarlane. Catch Ted on Blu-ray December ...
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