Movie Reviews

Ferdinand – A Simplistic Yet Well-Acted Children’s Film

Star Wars: The Last Jedi wasn’t the only film released this weekend. If you’re burnt out by all the Star Wars action then maybe this one would be worth checking out.

Synopsis: FERDINAND tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover. (20th Century Fox)

Starring:  John CenaKate McKinnon, and David Tennant

Writers: Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, and Brad Copeland

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Rating: G (Canada)/PG (United States)

Running Time: 106mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Ferdinand on movietimes.com.

Most animated children’s film check a series of boxes. Is it colorful? Is it cute? Is it funny? Does it keep your attention? Does it have a message? Films that check these boxes will more than likely be successful. This film checks these boxes but only barely. It should keep most young and old viewers entertained although it never quite reaches the heights of the other great animated films of 2017. For what it is, it did more than decent job, however, the story limited how far it can go.

Set in Spain (but you’ll barely notice while watching), a bull named Ferdinand (Cena) would rather smell flowers and enjoy life than fight, refusing to even fight back whenever provoked. Ferdinand is against violence which was fine but there wasn’t much else to the story besides that. After running away at a young age, Ferdinand got to grow up with a caring family. However, it wasn’t going to last forever as he is unwillingly returns back where he started.

The story was okay but was told in a rather safe and simplistic way where nothing will come as much of a surprise. Being an animated children’s film, there were plenty of inexplicable gags and other subplots to stretch out the simple story. While their success ratio was about 50/50, they were still somewhat entertaining to watch. However, some may find such characters as a group of hedgehogs and for some reason, German showhorses more on the annoying side as they added nothing whatsoever to the story other than said gags.

Other than Ferdinand and a goat named Lupe (McKinnon), none of the other characters really mattered and were nothing more than just a means to push the film’s message in a very predictable way. The best part of the film was the relationship between Ferdinand and Lupe. They play very well off of each other which made them fun to watch with Ferdinand often acting as the straight man to Lupe’s craziness. Another fun character to watch was a hairy Scottish bull named Angus (Tennant) who could never see anything.

While the story was ordinary, what kept the film captivating was the stellar voice acting across the board with Cena and McKinnon being the standouts. Cena brought charm and warmth to his performance, making his plight compelling to watch. McKinnon simply makes everything better and this continued here, nailing an outrageous character and stealing many if not all of her scenes as a result. While not a Disney/Pixar film, the animation was better than average, still boasting a considerable amount of color and detail.

Overall, this was a good animated film whose simplistic story is redeemed by some stellar performances by Cena and McKinnon. While not for everyone, it should leave most entertained despite not quite reaching the heights of the other great animated films of the year.

Score: 7.5/10

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