Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Ferdinand 

2017.  Directed by Carlos Saldanha. 

By Brian Wallinger. 

Although it doesn't quite capture the thematically inclined elemental power that Coco previously embodied, Ferdinand is a worthwhile and entertaining experience for a family outing.

Based on the beloved children's novel originally written by Murron Leaf and Robert Lawson, with an adapted screenplay by Tim Federle, the film makes the choice to play it safe early on. Although it is not an entirely unwise decision, there are times when the film becomes bland as a result.  

Ferdinand is a young bull raised on a farm being bred and trained to bullfight. However, Ferdinand is also a pacifist, peace loving animal that just wants to be free and live a full life.  This leads to him being ostracized by the other bulls. Eventually after an unexpected turn of events Ferdinand escapes the farm and finds solitude with a young girl, her father, and their dog. Time passes and after another incident occurs, Ferdinand is put back into the farm among the other bulls who once belittled him. 

John Cena is the voice of Ferdinand and he pulls it off well.  He is supported by Anthony Anderson and Kate McKinnon. It is apparent that the cast put as much effort as they could into their performances, which breed moments of laughter and warmth throughout.  While the score is polished, the CGI animation feels a bit generic.

In the end Ferdinand is a film that works, maybe not all the time, but it's funny enough and kids will love it.

☆☆ 1/2

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