A Million Ways To Die In The West is Seth McFarlane‘s second feature-length movie, following 2012’s Ted, the one with the swearing bear which I’ve still to see.
The complex plot sees McFarlane play Albert, who’s dumped by Louise (Amanda Seyfried) and then mopes a bit in a bid to get over it, while mean old Clinch (Liam Neeson – continuing to prove he can’t act to save his life) is the bad guy, killing anyone he cares to, with girlfriend Anna (Charlize Theron) in tow. In addition, Neil Patrick Harris plays the moustached evil-in-love Foy who wants to snatch Louise away from Albert forever.
while the film is set in Arizona, 1882, and everyone looks and acts the part, Seth’s character, Albert, intentionally is made to behave as if he’s from the modern day. Hence, a doctor takes a look at his injured leg straight after removing someone’s appendix, and Albert declares: “You’re not big on the ‘hand washing’ thing, are you?” Meanwhile, a cat jumps onto the open stomach of the appendix patient, chomps on one of the lady’s intestines, pulls it out and runs off with it. You can see where this is going.
The jokes are also signposted so far in advance you can see them coming without the need of binoculars. For example, when Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) goes to pick up girlfriend Ruth (Sarah Silverman) from the brothel, it’s not difficult to work out that the woman screaming graphic obscenities is going to be the love of his life.
I can see why Seth McFarlane wanted was hoping for this to be another Blazing Saddles, but it fails at almost every turn and it comes to something when the biggest laugh in your film comes from a reference to
And, if you have subtitles on, as I do, then another movie reference late on was spoiled as the character was named in the subtitles before their face even appeared onscreen. Spoiler warning comes here:
A Million Ways To Die In The West doesn’t inspire me to watch Ted. It’s lazy, predictable, overlong, and while the regular version of this film goes on for 116 minutes, I went for the Unrated Version – a term used in the US, even though both versions are rated 15 in the UK – and it outstays its welcome by a further 19 minutes, even throwing in a rape joke. Is McFarlane channelling Dapper Laughs?
From a man who brought us Family Guy and American Dad, which rarely have a duff episode, how did he get it so wrong with this?
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and is crisp and sharp, looking at its best during the bright outdoor scenes in the town. As you’d expect for a modern film, there are no problems to be found.
Audio-wise, there’s no SFX movie – just dialogue and music – so no split-surround that sprang to mind, but everything sounds as it should.
The extras are as follows, and they’re in HD and subtitled, but annoyingly, you have to switch the subtitles on for each one. They also discuss elements of the film so if you haven’t seen it, there will be spoilers:
- Alternate Opening (3:27): A bit more waffle from Seth’s character in the opening gunfight. Certainly not “hilarious” as the front cover suggests.
- Alternate ending (0:47): A brief scene featuring
- Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes (10:49): A number of short pieces, plus a very long, extended dream sequence, which was quite long enough in the main film. Nothing needs to be put back out of this lot.
- Gag Reel (5:43): aka outtakes.
- Once Upon a Time, In a Different West (10:06): A making-of with chat from the cast and crew. Fairly standard on-set stuff.
- A Fistful of Dirt… In Your Mouth (10:49): Another featurette in the same style, showing how they wanted to get the location shooting spot-on with Utah’s Monument Valley being the perfect place. The set design and score also get a look-in.
- The Good, The Bad and the Increasingly Decreasing Population (6:41): A look at the cameos in the film including Ewan McGregor, Bill Maher, Gilbert Gottfried, Kaley Cuoco, Ryan Reynolds, Jamie Foxx and Christopher Lloyd.
- Audio commentary: with Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron and co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild.
- Audio description track: Does what it says on the tin.
So, there’s not a massive amount here, but there’s a reasonable selection for fans of the film.
There are subtitles in English only and just 20 chapters, so it could use a few more in its extended form as I go by the rule of thumb of one every 5 minutes.
Running time: 116 / 135 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Released: October 6th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (F55 RAW (4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Seth McFarlane
Producers: Jason Clark, Seth MacFarlane and Scott Stuber
Screenplay: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild
Music: Joel McNeely
Albert Stark: Seth MacFarlane
Anna: Charlize Theron
Louise: Amanda Seyfried
Clinch: Liam Neeson
Edward: Giovanni Ribisi
Foy: Neil Patrick Harris
Ruth: Sarah Silverman
George Stark: Christopher Hagen
Cochise: Wes Studi
Sheriff/Narrator: Rex Linn
Millie: Alex Borstein
Pastor Wilson: John Aylward
Snake Oil Salesman: Dennis Haskins
Abraham Lincoln: Gilbert Gottfried
Cowboy at Fair: Ewan McGregor
Elsie Stark: Jean Effron
Barn Dance Comedian: Bill Maher (uncredited)
Man Killed by Clinch in Bar: Ryan Reynolds (uncredited)
Woman in the Store: Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (uncredited)
Dream Voice: Patrick Stewart (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.