Release Date: December 15, 2017.
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Writer: Munro Leaf, Robert Lawson, Ron Burch, David Kidd, Don Rhymer, Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, Brad Copeland
Cast: Jack Gore, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Nile Diaz, Colin H. Murphy, Carlos Saldanha, Jeremy Sisto, Bobby Cannavale, Raul Esparza, Luis Carlos de La Lombana, Juanes, Jerrod Carmichael, Julia Scarpa Saldanha, John Cena, Lily Day, Rafael Scarpa Saldanha, Karla Martinez, Jordi Caballero, Maria Peyramaure, Nazanin Homa, Andreas A. Esparza, James Palumbo, Bernardo de Paula, Belita Moreno, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Peyton Manning, David Tennant, Tim Nordquist, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Flula Borg, Sally Phillips, Boris Kodjoe, Alvaro Mendoza, Miguel Angel Silvestre
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 106 minutes
Production Company: Blue Sky Studios, Davis Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Animation
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
The wrestler, actor, and rapper John Cena continues to test his voice talents in his latest film Ferdinand. He’s the voice actor for the titular character, and hearing him on screen was the perfect casting for the role. The film is being produced by Blue Sky Studio, and while they may not be at the top of the list for animated 3D movies, it’s at least fair to suggest they’re able to compete in the big leagues. There are other voice talents that you’ll be able to pick out from Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, and Peyton Manning which is surprising, and they all did a fair job within their casting. However, with all the films hitting theaters at the time of this release, Ferdinand is, unfortunately, nothing that will stand out for wide audiences besides it is assumed that it is a specific target that is aimed at young children.
Set in Spain Ferdinand is a small calf at a ranch who looks up to his loving father. His life is already decided for him to be the next big Bull in the arena to face the most formidable Matador in front of a large extravagant crowd. It’s expected of him to take on the legacy of his father, but he has other dreams of his own. Bullfighting is a violent sport, and there’s not an ounce of brute force in all his body. Ferdinand just wants to be free and friendly with flowers, and the other surrounding bulls make fun of him for it. What I liked about Ferdinand’s character is that he stood his ground. When peer pressure is all around him, he never buckled in the sight of fear or self-doubt. He was constantly put in a corner, and forced to make a decision, and whether bullied or not, he always chose what was best for him. Since this film is tailored for children, I felt this subliminal message was perfect, and fit well into the story. If only the rest of the film, spoke up as it did hear, it could possibly compete with one of the best animations of the year.
That’s not a chance by a long shot though. While Ferdinand was great, no other character or bull in the ranch was. Earlier on in the film, Ferdinand escapes captivity to explore a world he has never known, then finds a loving home to take him in where he’s raised. While we get to know this family quite well that appears to be the next driving force in Ferdinand’s life, they’re again, left behind, and there are no other characters that speak up to support Ferdinand in his Journey. In the end, Ferdinand ends up exactly where he began. He’s bigger and stronger, but other than that, nothing else motivates you to be excited about the conclusion of the film.
There is some laughter, but apart from a remarkable dance battle between the local bulls on a ranch, and some local horses, nothing else stands out, but throw away the characters that are there to fill the space. I chuckled a few times, but that was it, and after the first hour, I could imagine how the film would conclude to warrant anyone else spending their hard earned money to participate in a viewing. The conclusion was anti-climactic, not ending on a high note as you would want or deserve. Ferdinand isn’t a bad film, to say the least, but it isn’t a great one either, that barely receives a passing grade.