Movie Review - Ferdinand
John Cena (Trainwreck and 12 Rounds) stars as the voice of Ferdinand, an extra large bull in Spain who is adopted by a little girl named Nina, voiced by Lily Day. He basically just eats the fruits and vegetables on the farm that Nina's father manages. He gets fat and only frolics in the field of flowers, which are his favorite things. Ferdinand is basically treated like a pet no different than Nina's sheep dog, except Ferdinand grows to weigh a ton or about 900 kilograms.
Based on a 1936 children's book by Munro Leaf, an American author who may or may not be of Spanish descent, this movie plays a few notes that go beyond the book. Yet, even if it didn't, the movie suggests that not only would Ferdinand be happy if he weren't bullfighting but also the movie suggests that everyone else would be happy if there weren't any bullfighting. Crowds at the end cheer when the bullfighting stops. It's not as if the crowds are simply acknowledging Ferdinand's lone pacifism. When other bulls arrive to the arena, no one encourages the fight to continue with other bulls. The sentiment suggests no bull should fight, thus no more bullfighting.
Directed by Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age and Rio), it's excellent if this film is siding with animal rights activists and those who push for making these kinds of blood sports illegal. It's unfortunate that it does so in such a cute manner as to drain the blood from the blood sport. I'm not advocating for this animated feature to display blood or bloody wounds, but there simply is a lack of seriousness to this film that any broader issues are lost. For most adults watching, the disappearance of Ferdinand's father signals his death, which is never shown. At least in The Lion King, we see Simba's father fall to his death. Here, we have to assume like Ferdinand what has happened. Showing it isn't necessary but it would have underscored the stakes.
Rated PG for rude humor and action.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 48 mins.