Review of 'Ferdinand'

ferdinand.jpg A classic children's story brought to the big screen by the studio behind “Ice Age” sees a flower-loving bull attempting to escape fate in the bull-fighting ring.

As a young bull Ferdinand (voiced by John Cena) is raised on a ranch where he prefers smelling flowers to fighting contrary to his fellow bulls who feel the bullring is everything. After seeing his father leave in a truck for the ring and seeing the empty truck return Ferdinand panics and escapes from the ranch where he is discovered by Juan (voiced by Juanes), a florist, and his daughter Nina (voiced by Lily Day) where he is raised as a pet and spends his days enjoying the flowers. Now as a large adult bull he gets into trouble when he travels into the big city to see a flower show and is returned to the ranch where he faces the fate he has so far evaded. Trained by an eccentric (and hilarious) goat named “Lupe” (voiced by Kate McKinnon) Ferdinand must face the bullring…

An amusing story if somewhat dark with the contrast between a bloody contest in a fighting arena or being turned into hamburger. Indeed, the filmmakers do not shy away from either of these which makes it a bit of a relief to have such amusing characters. Ferdinand is wonderfully sappy contrasted with the humour of Lupe the crazy goat, the Scottish bull Angus (voiced by David Tennant) who has trouble seeing through his copious hair cover, the three proud, prancing horses in a neighbouring field along with a trio of quirky hedgehogs. These all help to distract somewhat from the dark fate that awaits Ferdinand and the other bulls. This being a children's animation the ending is not really in doubt but there are some twists and turns along the way.

The amination is typical of the “Blue Sky Studios” and will be familiar to fans of the Ice Age franchise. Slick and dynamic visuals and characters keep both the young and old(er) viewers amused despite the film being more than an hour and a half long. Most of this is character exposition rather than narrative - and all the better for it. I would say though it does occasionally feel to be moving too slowly but you are distracted by numerous amusing vignettes.

A fun if slightly dark animation of a fairly simple story that while intended for children has enough to amuse most.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-01-07

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha

Studio: Blue Sky Studios

Year: 2017

Length: 108 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha: