After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is 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.
In time for the commencement of school summer holidays this year is Ferdinand, the new film from animation veteran director Carlos Saldanha who helmed two of the Ice Age films, and the two Rio animated films. Ferdinand puts together John Cena, Bobby Cannavale and Kate McKinnon in the adaptation of a classic book about a peaceful and flower loving bull.
Overall it’s a predictable story, with Ferdinand spending his youth on a ranch for training bulls to participate in popular fighting matches, where he quickly discovers he has no love for the idea of bull fighting and would rather spend his days sniffing flowers and being with friends. With little choice but to flee the ranch to avoid an unwanted future, Ferdinand pursues a different life until eventually his past catches up with him.
With a straightforward plot, things tend to drag on a little too much, stretched out to a running time of approximately 106 minutes the film doesn’t quite have the substance or comedic sensibilities to maintain a strong presence from beginning to end. Thematically there are sound messages around friendship, and family, though some of the jokes and comedic payoffs will go over the heads of younger viewers.
That said there are a few sequences where the film really shines, including a bull trying to sneak through a classy china shop, not to mention a trio of egotistical horses who are constantly taking joy in the misfortune of others, which eventually results in a hilarious dance off between bull and horse which serves as the comedic high point of the film.
Ferdinand is a visually delightful film to watch, it’s filled with picturesque rural landscapes, detailed cities, and a colour palette which is easy on the eyes. The character designs are fun and interesting, as well as humorous when the film calls for it. McKinnon and Cena are both excellent in their roles and are able to make the most of the material they’re given. Ultimately it’s just disappointing that the script and dialogue isn’t a bit shaper to blend all the film’s various elements together more effectively.
By the end Ferdinand is a little drab in that it’s story doesn’t really find much momentum and ultimately overstays its welcome, but it’s not without entertainment value still being able to deliver some funny comedic sequences and a visual style that is a joy to watch.
I’m giving Ferdinand 6.5 out of 10, it’s in cinemas around Australia from 14th December 2017.