Movie Review: Blue Sky Studios' #Ferdinand

Animation, in 3D
Release: December 15, 2017
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant, Anthony Anderson, Flula Borg, Sally Phillips, Boris Kodjoe, Jerrod Carmichael, Raúl Esparza, Karla Martínez, Miguel Ángel Silvestre.
FERDINAND Official Channels: 
FERDINAND tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can't judge a bull by its cover.

From Blue Sky Studios and Carlos Saldanha, the director of "Rio" and inspired by the beloved book "The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, "Ferdinand" is a heartwarming animated comedy adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and many more.

If you read Ferdinand the Bull as a kid, you will recall that it’s a relatively short book. When I heard that it was being turned into a feature-length film, I wondered where there would be enough material for that. And would the true-blue message of the story in the book be lost in the conversion. I was happily surprised by most of this week’s new animated movie, Ferdinand.

First, the positive message of the great big bull with the heart of gold has translated well onto the big screen.  Thankfully, Ferdinand is still the same floral-inclined bull that people remember from their childhoods.  Ferdinand seems funny and ever altruistic.  He puts others’ needs in front of his own and he loves his family.  The positive messages of the film seemed effortless and genuine. Nothing preachy about Ferdinand.

The animals are also cute.  Along with Ferdinand and his bull friends, three hedgehogs and a goat round-out the farm (or is it a ranch?).  John Cena’s (as Ferdinand) voice fits well onto the giant Ferdinand, but the best voice work was,  by far, that of Kate McKinnon (as Lupe).  The movie was about the bull, but the best and funniest scenes were Lupe’s scenes.  McKinnon, it seems, can do no wrong in comedy.

Now, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the animation.  It seemed flat to me. In 2017, Blue Sky (the studio) could have done more.  The colors seemed muted and the movement felt two-dimensional.  Nowadays, animation seems to want to convince an audience that it is more than drawings on a sheet, but Ferdinand missed the “wow factor.” The animation looked average.

Also, at a one hour and forty-eight minute run time, Ferdinand is too long! What should be a ten-minute long animated short is morphed into a feature length film by adding a lot of filler. There are all kinds of animal hijinks and a musical montage to lengthen the run time of the movie. (At one point, the bulls are even in a meat packing plant.) The filler lacks the same heart and message of the original story. And the bit with some horses was really obnoxious. 

All in all, Ferdinand is an okay film. Parents should be able to tolerate the movie and kids will like the cute animals. It isn't remarkable, but the positive message makes it a good holiday film for the whole family. Ferdinand is playing everywhere today. 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review sweetie :D Yay for enjoying this movie, despite some issues with it. <3 I'm watching it later this month, and hoping I will like it too :)


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