Ferdinand Full Movie Review: Ferdinand’s story may be able to relatable to many of us, despite the fact that he’s a bull. Growing up, Ferdinand is expected to be a tough and competitive fighting bull just like his friends and all the other bulls raised in Case del Toro. But Ferdinand is different from everybody else. He doesn’t dream of becoming a champion like his dad, or to be chosen by the matador like his ranch buddies. Instead, he likes smelling flowers and if given a choice, he’d rather be the “Champion of not fighting”.
Based on the 1936 children’s picture book by Munro Lead and Robert Lawson, “The Story of Ferdinand”, Blue Sky Studios’ “Ferdinand” tells the story of a peace-loving bull who prefers flowers over fighting. Judging it by its trailer, I entered the cinema with managed expectations, especially with the fact that the last animated film I’ve seen before this is the incredibly brilliant and widely-acclaimed Coco. “Ferdinand” turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and I actually enjoyed the movie much more than I though I would.
Look beyond the usual tropes of children’s animated films, and you’ll see that there’s more to “Ferdinand” that what’s on the surface. In an environment where machismo has become too toxic and at some point even deadly, our titular pacifist bull dares to express himself, regardless of how other bulls sees him as “soft” merely because he likes smelling flowers more than violence. In a society that tells us that “boys don’t cry” or “girls should only like dolls”, it’s refreshing to see a kid’s movie that tells us otherwise. “Ferdinand” shows us that it’s okay to have different interests from everybody else, and bullying someone for being different doesn’t necessarily make you better than them.
However, despite the cute animation and quirky characters, parents may want to take note that “Ferdinand” has some hints of darker undertones, which may need s bit explaining to the kids. In the film, bulls that don’t get selected by the matador, may be brought to the “Chop Chop” which is basically a slaughterhouse for bulls who can’t fight. There’s this one scene where one of Ferdinand’s friends thinks he’s off to become a champion when he’s actually being sent away for slaughtering. I don’t know if it’s just me but I found this scene unsettling, together with other scenes that are suggestive of what really happens to bulls that fight in the ring.
But don’t get the impression though that “Ferdinand” is all gloomy. In fact, it’s one of the most genuinely funny and enjoyable animated films I’ve seen recently. It’s peppered with clever scenes that are entertaining both to kids and adults. My favorite part was a dance off between the bulls and the pretty horses, which may sound corny but was surprisingly hilarious; I actually wished it held on longer.
“Ferdinand” is an animated movie that actually makes an effort to communicate a positive message to its young viewers. Neither the animation nor the storyline is perfect, but the brilliant performances of the voice actors and the hilariously entertaining script did more than enough to make up for what’s lacking. This is one movie I would actually bring my niece to see.