There have been a number of better movies released in 2012, but I can't remember a more enjoyable one than 'Ted.' Seth MacFarlane's (who also provides the very Peter Griffin-like voice of the main character) story of a foul-mouthed talking bear could have really gone off the rails, but it manages to be both hilariously funny and heartwarming at the same time. Just don't let your kids see it… no matter how hard they beg! Okay, I've done my public service… now onto the review!
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of 'Family Guy.' I note that fact as I realize there are people out there who can't stand MacFarlane's sense of humor. If you're one of those people, you may not enjoy 'Ted' very much, as it's full of the type of pop-culture references that have made 'Family Guy' such a huge hit. Of course, it's also quite profane, and one gets the idea that MacFarlane used 'Ted' as a dumping ground for all the jokes he couldn't get by standards and practices for his animated television shows.
'Ted' opens with an "origin" scene (narrated by Patrick Stewart) in which we see young John Bennett (played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg) getting a stuffed bear as a Christmas present. That night, he makes a wish that Ted was real, and the next morning he awakens to a talking bear. The movie handles the event in a realistic way, as Ted becomes an instant celebrity – only to fall out of favor and interest with the public years later, which is the point at which our main story begins.
Without giving too much of the storyline away, Ted and John are still living together, but John is now dating Lori (Mila Kunis), a woman who appears to be perfect for him, but hates the fact that Ted seems to be preventing John from growing up. Throughout the film, John is torn between trying to act like an adult with Lori and still hanging out Ted (which includes a great cameo from a science fiction icon of the 1980s) to the point where John has to make a decision between his girl and his bear.
One has to give the human actors in this movie a great deal of credit, especially star Mark Wahlberg, he's asked to do some pretty wild stuff onscreen - all with the hope that the final film's effects will prevent him from looking silly. It pays off, and viewers will quickly forget that they're watching a special effect and totally buy into the fact that Mark is acting alongside a talking stuffed bear.
Now the story here is all pretty much run-of-the-mill as far as movie comedies go, but MacFarlane's script (and let's be honest… the fact that it's delivered by a talking bear!) is really what sets 'Ted' apart from dozens (if not hundreds) of films with similar storylines. Is 'Ted' perfect? No – it gets sidetracked with a rather inane kidnapping (or is that "bearnapping"?) story that the movie really could have done without (or at least saved for the sequel) – almost as if the dynamic between boy, girl, and bear wasn't enough for the film. But that's nitpicking on my part… 'Ted' is a great comedy that holds up to multiple viewings and actually has a heart behind all its potty-mouthed humor and situations. It's definitely not for children (again, a warning for parents out there), but it proves to be a really fun ride for adults.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
This combo release from Universal comes in a standard Blu-ray case (including a slip cover) which houses two discs – the Blu-ray and the DVD. There's an insert with an online code for the digital and Ultraviolet copies. The Blu-ray is a region free (as are all releases from Universal) dual-layer BD-50. The disc is front-loaded with skippable previews before arriving at the standard Blu-ray menu for Universal titles – with the options lined up on the left side of the screen while video for the movie plays on the right side.
'Ted' was shot digitally using the Panavision Genesis camera, meaning the transfer to Blu-ray is straight from the digital source…and it shows.
The video quality is amazingly sharp, with strong blacks and whites throughout. For those who have not yet seen the movie, 'Ted' is filled with scenes that contain lots of whites (the box cover gives you some hint), and lots of scenes that either contain reflections off glass or sunlight streaming into windows. Given that, an overly contrasted transfer could have resulted in a very bad looking picture, even taken from a digital source. Fortunately someone was minding the store, and the video here looks great, with our main character looking very lifelike and believable. Fleshtones are also well-balanced, and details are sharp throughout.
Overall, this is another great looking Blu-ray from Universal.
The audio is presented in lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and is fairly active for a comedy that has a very 'sitcom' like presentation and not a ton of action.
Listeners will notice the most activity during the several thunderstorm or rain scenes in the movie, as well as during a car chase sequence that happens near the end of the film. Thankfully, while the audio remains active, it is never overbearing (pardon the pun), with the dialogue (which nicely bounces from the center to the left or right front speakers when appropriate) clear at all times.
In addition to the Master Audio 5.1 track, there's also both Spanish and French DTS Digital Surround 5.1 selections, as well as a 2.0 descriptive video service option.
In addition to the supplements listed below, this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack also includes a code for a digital copy of the movie, as well as an Ultraviolet streaming version. Both the DVD and Blu-ray are also front-loaded with seven minutes worth of trailers and advertisements. Finally, although not listed as a bonus below, both the Blu-ray and the DVD also contain a longer (roughly seven extra minutes) "Unrated" cut of 'Ted.'
'Ted' is a very funny movie now available on a pretty great Blu-ray/DVD combo release. If I have any qualms about the Blu-ray itself, it's that the bonus materials seem just slightly on the thin side when you consider how popular the movie was in theaters. The A/V quality here is top-notch, and the film is probably the funniest we've seen in 2012, so there's really no good reason not to give 'Ted' my highest recommendation.