FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Ferdinand (2017)

TIME TO STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS.

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Ferdinand

Blue Sky Studios / 20th Century Fox Animation / Davis Entertainment / 20th Century Fox

A bull calf grows up to become the biggest, nicest, and most gentle bull you’ll ever come across. Oh, did I mention he also loves flowers?

If you enjoy a story about animals, then take a seat because Ferdinand is a step up from the rest of the creature features in the animated world…

Based on a children’s book by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson called The Story of Ferdinand, this light-hearted film tells the tale of a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in an arena for glory. I am all smiles from the get-go! This animated film entices you with beautiful Spanish scenery drawn like I’ve never seen before and music that takes you away to the European country, before continuing on to become a meaningful story.

When I first watched Ferdinand, I didn’t quite understand where the story was taking me until our protagonist was introduced. At a ranch called Casa del Toro, where bulls are trained for fights, he is the only tame bull; a flower-loving animal who doesn’t like violence. Because of this, and after finding out his father did not return from his fight, Ferdinand runs away from home and ends up at a florist’s farm—the expressions on his face when he is in a field filled with lovely flowers and sits atop a hill under a tree are so adorable. Can I have a pet bull just like him?

My heart is then broken when the film decides to take Ferdinand away from his happy place and is dumped back at the ranch he ran away from. I’m not sure if the film is depicting reality but if it is, then Casa del Toro seems like a death trap. If a bull is chosen to fight against a matador, he will be killed for a sport. If the bull is not strong enough to fight, he is sent to the slaughterhouse. That’s definitely a lose-lose situation that no bull should have to live by, hence why Ferdinand doesn’t want to fight (although he doesn’t realise this at the beginning).

I love that a WWE superstar has been cast for the role of Ferdinand. John Cena does a great job voicing the gentle giant and it’s unbelievable how comedic his voice comes across when he talks about flowers and all things sweet. Now that I mention it, what better actor to cast as the Scottish bull Angus than the former Doctor himself, David Tennant. Having travelled to Scotland myself, seeing the highland cows was a definite highlight and it goes without saying, watching Angus in this movie made me laugh out loud! After Ferdinand, Angus is my second favourite character.

Other characters in the film included Ferdinand’s fellow bull buddies Bones (Anthony Anderson), Guapo (Peyton Manning), Valiente (Bobby Cannavale), and Maquina (Tim Nordquist) as well as a crazy goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon) and three cute hedgehogs: Una (Gina Rodriguez), Dos (Daveed Diggs), and Cuatro (Gabriel Iglesias). If you ask about Tres, you will be greeted with heartbroken and sad faces.

There is so much about this movie that I love; for instance, the running of the bulls scene where it’s the people (namely, the owners of the ranch) chasing the bulls instead of the other way around. Also, ever heard of the saying ‘like a bull in a china shop’? Yep, they had Ferdinand walk through a china shop as slowly and as carefully as he could. Another scene I enjoyed was the dance sequence—bulls versus hoighty, toighty horses. Yes, you read that correctly! The horses in this film are snobby jerks with German accents who think they are better than the bulls. The dancing scene is one of the funniest as you watch Ferdinand dance the flamenco, Angus with his Scottish highlands dance, Bones going all hip-hop with breakdancing, and even Maquina joins in with pop-locking and ends with a robotic twerk. The horses, on the other hand, were more graceful in the style of ballet and contemporary dance. Such a fun scene!

The message in this film is not quite in your face but is still obvious enough that you know it’s saying it’s ok to be yourself and not someone else. Overall, Ferdinand is a little cheesy but still a lot of fun. And remember, “We do not talk about Tres.” 3.5 / 5

 

Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, David Tennant.

Director: Carlos Saldanha | Writers: Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, Brad Copeland (Story: Ron Burch, David Kidd, Don Rhymer: based on The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson) | Producers: John Davis, Lisa Marie Stetler, Lori Forte, Bruce Anderson | Music: John Powell | Cinematographer: Renato Falcão | Editor: Harry Hitner

Available: Blu-ray and DVD.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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