Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Jennifer Fiduccia0
The movie follows the main character Ferdinand on his journey to find a way to “just be himself”, even though what he “wants” to be (and how he feels) is not what he is “supposed” to be.
The voice cast includes John Cena (Ferdinand), Kate McKinnon (Lupe), Gina Rodriguez (Una), Anthony Anderson (Bones), Daveed Diggs (Dos), Gabriel Iglesias (Cuatro), Bobby Cannavale (Valiente), and Peyton Manning (Guapo).
The movie opens to Ferdinand already bucking the system, tending a flower sprouting in the calves play yard. Born on a ranch and destined for either the bull fighting ring or “the chop shop” if he can’t make the cut, while the others play fight and trash talk, Ferdinand is trying to secretly water and nurture the pretty red flower. The other calves bully and intimidate each other, while Ferdinand is “softer”. Shortly after the opening, Ferdinand asks his father why he can’t be “the Champion of not fighting”. Ferdinand’s father responds that he wishes the world could work that way.
When Ferdinand realizes that there is no “winning” when it comes to being chosen by the matador, and his father never comes back from his contest with the matador, Ferdinand realizes he must escape. He runs away and eventually finds himself taken in by a family that has a flower farm. Ferdinand grows up surrounded by the love of a little girl and her family.
As a bulky adult bull, Ferdinands adopted family tells him he must stay home from the marketplace because he is too big, but Ferdinand defies their instructions and follows them to the market, where he is stung by a bee, and goes on a pain induced flight through the town, scaring people and breaking carts. The townspeople call for him to be removed, and lo and behold he is caught and returned to his origins at the ranch.
His original pen-mates are all still there, and practicing for their bouts with the matador. Ferdinand tries to tell them that nothing ever good comes of the meeting with the matador, that there is no winning, and that once gone, there is no glory and they will never return. Eventually they believe him and they make their hilarious escape.
The movie moves along at a good pace, and has a good message. It is full of bright colors and the music works well within the movie. The final scenes are wonderful and (to me) shed light on the absolute absurdity of the “sport” of bull-fighting, while at the same time wrapping up the movie with a well-deserved “happy ending”.
My 9-year-old son liked the movie a lot, my husband and I laughed out loud at many parts, and the 15-month-old was kept entertained by the music and characters dancing.
I would give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a cute, fun, family film.