mtl Movie Reviews by The Dove Foundation
Runtime: 106 minutes
Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Anderson, Katy Perry
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Sex: A lot of butt jokes, as well as a twerking bull, booty shaking and a comment about a female liking Ferdinand’s pecks/flank; a zoomed in shot at the Matador’s bottom, played for laughs
Language: Reference to an “F-bomb” (Ferdinand-Bomb) as a joke. “Butt”; “sucks”; reference to blood/gore/death (very little of which is ever shown)
Violence: Cartoon violence, including thematic peril and bull fighting necessary to the story line. There’s very little blood or damage shown, its more portrayed as wrestling. A bull’s horn gets torn off. Ferdinand is poked and cut with a sword during the bull fight with the Matador
Other: A character vomits/passes out a lot, although no vomit is ever shown. Characters bully Ferdinand, and there are some scenes revolving around a chophouse
Integrity: Ferdinand demonstrates incredible integrity throughout the film, and during the plot we see his former bullies have a much-needed change of heart.
After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is 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.
Based on the popular children’s book of the same name, Ferdinand is a delightful, must-see family adventure with a powerful message.
In a world where his kind are viewed as angry and beastly, Ferdinand (John Cena, Colin H. Murphy) the bull is the exact opposite. Gentle, well-meaning and clumsy, Ferdinand would rather spend his time tending to flowers than picking fights in the ring with the other bulls. His friends maintain that in order to have honor and be brave you must fight. Ferdinand, however, understands that true bravery lies in the strong silence of peace – the punches you don’t throw. His uniqueness is misunderstood by his companions, isolating him and making Ferdinand one lonely bull. After the tragic death of his father, Ferdinand runs away from the Casa Del Toro, the bull ranch, and finds himself adopted into a beautiful human family. He is raised on a flower farm, with his best friend Nina (Lily Day, Julia Saldanha), her father Juan (Juanes), and his "brother," Paco (Jarrod Carmichael) the dog. As he grows, the size of his body catches up to his already big heart. His new life is idyllic, filled with all the flowers he could ever need, and he is seen for who he truly is. But when a series of misunderstandings land Ferdinand back at the ranch, he must find a way to stay true to himself, rescue his friends, and find his way home.
What is true bravery? Do you have to compromise who you are to succeed? This little children’s film answers these big questions in a powerful and charming way. The film’s tagline, “never judge a bull by its cover” rings true throughout the film. We have Ferdinand, a large and seemingly intimidating bull, with so much integrity and compassion. In the world of bullfighting Spain, where so much emphasis is put on being the toughest or the biggest, Ferdinand shows us that honor and bravery are not achieved in an arena, but rather in the way one treats others, standing up for what is right, and serving the needs of others. This message is so relevant to the time and season we are in; while others are concerned only with getting, Ferdinand is concerned with giving! Even in the midst of bullying, personal sorrow, and trauma, Ferdinand maintains his integrity. When pressured by peers to change who he is, Ferdinand stands his ground and develops smarter solutions to the problems they face. Children and adults alike will be inspired by Ferdinand’s tenacity and how he stays true to himself.
One bit that is rather serious that I really liked, was a scene in which Ferdinand discovers that no bull ever wins against the Matador. The disappointment is obvious as the other bulls learn that “the bull never wins.” What they had believed and been fighting for their whole lives was a lie. Soon they discover the truth that Ferdinand has known all along; the “bull” (violence, anger, jealousy) never wins, but kindness, integrity and compassion do.
The film, in addition to being chock-full of important lessons and heart, is also unexpectedly hilarious. I laughed out loud throughout and teared up a bit during the more emotional moments. There are daring escapes, drama, love, and quite literally, a bull in a china shop! The animation, signature in style to Blue Sky, is pleasing to the eye and lovely to watch. The storytelling is wonderful and full, given that the film is adapted from a very short children’s book. It is a considerable task to add material to an existing story without it feeling misplaced or like filler, and the writers have managed to blend their story and the original so seamlessly that you just assume this has always been Ferdinand’s story.
Although there are one or two questionable jokes, Ferdinand offers us squeaky clean content and is an excellent film for children and families. Ferdinand is sure to become a family go-to and a classic children’s film. For this reason, Dove is proud to award Ferdinand the Dove Seal of Approval for All Ages. Please keep in mind that this film does contain lots of cartoon fighting between bulls which may frighten very young viewers.
I cannot say enough about this little film with the big bull. The feeling you experience walking away from Ferdinand is the feeling you want from every film you watch. Inspired, uplifting and delightful, Ferdinand is not to be missed!
Dove Family Approved: Recommended For All Ages
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