Featuring The Voices Of: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Jerrod Carmichael, Anthony Anderson, Jeremy Sisto, Raul Esparza, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha
Plot: Ferdinand (Cena) is a bull who doesn’t want to fight. Not because he’s scared,. but because he’d much rather spend the day smelling flowers. Unfortunately, he’s a bull, and bulls are expected to fight if they want to stay alive.
What Works: I think this has a great message for kids about how being passive doesn’t necesarrily mean you’re a sissy. Ferdinand is a great example of someone who has all the power in the world, but chooses not to use it. It’s pointed out that he is by far the largest and strongest bull of his group, and he’s not scared, he just chooses to live a peaceful life. The voice work here is pretty good. I was actually quite impressed with John Cena and the work he did for Ferdinand. Overall, this year has been a weird year for Animation. Instead of churning out any major instant classics, it just made a lot of “good not great” animated films. I think Ferdinand is good, and perfectly fine entertainment for the family. Is it great? No.
What Doesn’t Work:Ferdinand isn’t much fun for adults. It’s not aimed at little kids either, but rather the 8-12 year old group. There’s not much here for adults. No “wink wink’ jokes. It also felt a little long, and somewhat repetitive. It really wants to push this passive message home for kids. It’s like an afterschool special. It’s like the film was made by someone who was bullied a lot as a kid, and is permanently scarred and wants to send a message. We get it dude. Now make your movie more interesting… or funny…or something.
Final Word: I’d say because of the message alone, this is an important film for kids. You don’t walways need to fight, despite what our twitter President might suggest otherwise. If you’ve already seen Coco, take your kids to Ferdinand. At least they’ll get a one-two punch of culture.
Final Grade: B