December 15, 2017

R: December 15th, 2017 | R: 107 minutes | R: PG

Ferdinand brings the 1936 children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” to modern day life. While the basis of the tale stays the same, there are new characters and events added to transform the bull’s story into something new. Are the additions enough to breathe new life into the story or is Ferdinand a flop?

The movie starts off with a young Ferdinand and his father in the countryside of Spain raised up to be fighters in the bull ring. His father wants nothing more than to be picked by a matador to fight in the ring in Madrid while Ferdinand has a much more serene aura and prefers taking the time to sit and sniff flowers. He even asks his father “is it okay if it’s not my dream?”.

Shortly after this conversation, the movie kicks viewers into their feelings as Ferdinand is faced with his father being chosen and Ferdinand choosing to run away luckily to a young girl and her father who sell flowers. From there Ferdinand grows into a massive bull who still would rather sniff flowers all day and play with his new family in their yard. He soon learns that not everyone sees him as a gentle giant and goes on an adventure while staying true to his kind hearted nature.

I thought Ferdinand did a great job at turning a topic as brutal and savage as bull fighting into a positive message for viewers that despite your surroundings, following your heart and staying true to yourself is the best route. The movie did deal with some of the harsh realities of bullying, adversity and how bull fights typically end. That being said some of the younger audience members around me cried and asked the adult(s) with them questions about the possible outcomes.

Do not be deterred from watching however because the sad scenes were evenly and possibly outweighed by the comedic ones. With a cast including John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Gabriel Iglesias and even Peyton Manning, their dynamic voices did a great job at personifying the animals they played and turned them into lovable characters. There are even horses with a strong Austrian accents that do the popular “dab” dance move that had many viewers cheering.

The film did a great job on twisting the 1936 book as well the the 8-minute 1938 Walt Disney short into something more modern and elongated. In my opinion, there was never a dull moment during the runtime and seeing how the basis of the story was updated with the transporting cart changing to a hauling truck, the matador driving a fancy sports car and more touches was the right amount to bring this 81 year old story to the present.

The revamped adventures Ferdinand finds himself brought laughter and some tears but also found its way into one of my favorite animated movies this year.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ashley Ashley (Senior Contributor) is an Orlando native who loves watching movies. Her favorite genres include comedies, thrillers and sci-fi.
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Well...this movie really surprised me. It touched my heart, made me sad, happy, angry - so many emotions!!!

Ferdinand is a movie about a bull by the same name voiced by John Cena (YESSSS). It tells the story of him growing up on a ranch that trains bulls how to fight. Ferdinand doesn’t think violence is the answer and is looking for peace in his life where he can smell the flowers (he loves flowers!).

Through a series of events, Ferdinand escapes only to find himself back on the same ranch and will be facing the matador in the bull fights. You’ll find yourself rooting for this gentle soul through the movie. I became very attached to him, and all I wanted was a peaceful life for him.

This movie doesn’t shy away from explaining what happens in bull fights, how the bull never wins and how they become meat if they don’t make it to the fights. I heard many kids, including my niece who were asking questions and had a lot of curiosity about what was happening and if this really happens in real life. I think it’s an excellent movie to take your kids to if they love animals and if you want to engage in a discussion with them about using animals for sport.

There were a lot of funny parts in this movie, Kate McKinnon plays Lupe, the goat who is hilarious. The German horses are also super funny...there’s a really good scene with them but I don’t wanna spoil it!

So are you planning to take your kids to see Ferdinand? Or maybe you just wanna go see it sans kids! I think anyone will enjoy this movie.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

AshleyK Ashley K. (Contributor) is a frequent traveler currently living in San Diego. She's a super nerd who enjoys all kinds of movies and doesn't always think the book was better.
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If you were to ask a 6-year-old John Cena what he wanted to be when he grew up, he probably would have said, "A giant bull, but a lover, not a fighter."

Fast forward 34 years and here we are. Dreams do come true.
Ferdinand (John Cena) is about a happy-go-lucky bull who takes great pleasure in the old adage, "stop and smell the roses." Growing up around bullies, Ferd has put his hoof down pretty firmly on the idea that he won't fight.

Unfortunately, the lives of bulls in Spain are dedicated to becoming the biggest and strongest so they can beat the Matador in the ring when the time comes. When he is separated from his best friend -- a little girl named Nina (Lily Day) -- after an incident in which he is labeled the beast he appears to be, Ferdinand is taken to a ranch where fighters are raised and eventually taken to the bullring.

Rejected by his competitors, Ferdinand befriends Lupe (Kate McKinnon) -- a goat with a heart of gold -- and hatches an escape plan. His emancipation and subsequent safe return home to Nina will be a team effort, calling on the assistance of his fellow ranch dwellers; from the tallest (the other bulls) to the smallest (a trio of helpful hedgehogs) and his BGF (Best Goat Forever), Lupe, everybody will play a part.

Ferdinand speaks to the ugly truth of Bull Fighting -- which is still a sport, amazingly enough -- and wildly popular. It simultaneously addresses the bullying -- HENCE THE BULLS -- problem facing so much of this country, young and old.

This is a movie marketed for kids that I would be comfortable taking my pre-teen niece and nephew to. In fact, when I pitched seeing it to my niece, we convinced my nephew by telling him that John Cena is the voice of Ferdinand. I like that there are jokes that I know will make them giggle, but also some fare for the more seasoned folks.

It's a truly sweet story and I -- a grown, 33-year-old woman -- cried 'neath the cloak of the movie theater darkness, but I don't care who knows it! I cried when Ferdinand stopped to smell those flowers! And that Nick Jonas fella did a fine job on the song "Home" featured in the film which has since scored a Golden Globes nomination!

Ferdinand is charging into theaters this weekend -- a perfect escape from the cold with the kiddos!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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