Review: Ferdinand

6 10

PLOT: Despite his mammoth size, Ferdinand the bull (John Cena) wants no part in the violence and spectacle of the bullfighting arena, running away from home at a young age. Raised in an idyllic setting by a kindly farmer and his daughter, Ferdinand’s size attracts the attention of his former owners, who once again attempt to train him for the ring – but he’s not going down without a (non-violent) fight.

REVIEW: So there’s this movie coming out this weekend that all the kids are gonna want to see. Parents too. It’s gonna make billions, shows will sell out around the clock, and it might become an instant classic. That movie – of course – is STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Oh yeah, and FERDINAND, the latest from the makers of ICE AGE comes out too and it’s…fine.

Truth be told, FERDINAND is a perfectly acceptable animated romp from Blue Sky Studios. While not as creative as Illumination or as perfect as Pixar, they’re relatively good at their pop culture-infused kiddie comedies. FERDINAND is a step up in that regard, being based on the children’s classic “Ferdinand the Bull”, famously turned into a lyrical short by Walt Disney. While I’m sure ol’ Walt and author Munro Leaf may not have been keen on the non-stop pop soundtrack, with cuts by the omnipresent Pitbull, overall this is a sweet little fable with a message that’s as strong now as it was then.

Bullfighting, to be sure, is grotesque. FERDINAND never attempts to downplay that, with it opening with a tragic scene where the young bull’s dad is led to his death in the arena. From there, it becomes more your typical zany romp (with an inspired take on the proverbial “bull in a china shop”), but the message is clear throughout, making this the closest to an animated message flick I’ve seen in a while.

As the titular character, John Cena is pretty perfect. He’s taken a page from Dwayne Johnson, in the way he totally subverts people’s impressions of him by playing a softie – in the mold of the greatest of them all – Arnold Schwarzenegger. While his action career has never really gained momentum, in comedy he’s carved out a niche, and this is the most prominent use of his talents to date. He aces the part, making Ferdinand lovable in a legitimate way. The same goes for the rest of the voice cast, with Kate McKinnon as his goat sidekick, and none other than a well-cast Peyton Manning voicing one of his bull pals.

It all comes together in a much sweeter fashion than you’d think for the genre, although it suffers from opening so close to COCO, another Latin-inspired CGI romp that’s arguably an instant classic – something this isn’t trying to be. Rather, this is the quickie movie you take the kids to if STAR WARS is sold out, but in that regard it does its job just fine. The young ones will love it, and parents, while not floored by it, will no doubt think its money well spent.

Source: JoBlo.com



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