Thanks to Disney’s recent purchase of 21st Century Fox this past week, we will slowly start doing reviews based on films from the 20th Century Fox studio. Our first release since the purchase is Ferdinand, an animated film from Blue Sky Studios based off the classic children’s tale from 1936 by authors Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.
The tale is about compassionate bull Ferdinand (John Cena) being ridiculed by his peers at a Spanish bull training area called the Casa Del Toro due to refusing to fight and rather deciding to be a pacifist. One night after his father fails to return from a bullfight, the kind hearted Ferdinand decides to run away not wanting to fight like the other bulls. He ends up at a florist’s farm and befriends the farmer’s young daughter Nina (Lila Day).
After causing havoc in town one day during a visit to a flower festival thanks to an accident involving a bee, Ferdinand is left behind by his owners and taken back to the Casa where he is reunited with his childhood friends along with some new bulls such as Angus (David Tennant) and a mute bull named Maquina.
One day, a legendary bullfighter named El Primero (Miguel Angel Sylvestre) arrives at the arena to choose one last bull to fight before his retirement. After the bulls fail to impress him, one of the bulls is taken to the slaughterhouse as Ferdinand warns the others this fate will happen to them once the fight is over. This starts Ferdinand’s adventure to save his friends from their eventual fates and reunite with Nina once again.
Tackling a classic tale while giving it a new twist to lengthen its run time to almost 2 hours is almost never an easy task but Ferdinand gives enough of a fresh take to leave its audience pleased with a few genuine touching scenes and lots of humour for the little kids.
While most Blue Sky films tend to rely on pop culture references or bodily humour to fill up its run time such as Robots or the Ice Age franchise, this film, much like 2013’s Epic or 2015’s The Peanuts Movie is more story and character driven giving the audience a chance to feel a genuine bond to the characters in the film ranging from the main bull to the hedgehog sidekicks who tend to give out most of the film’s humour.
In a year full of animated disappointment ranging from Sony’s The Emoji Movie and The Smurfs: The Lost Village to Lionsgate’s The Nut Job 2, it is refreshing to see Blue Sky Studios could give us a beautiful golden flower in a field of useless weeds. Hopefully this film convinces Disney to give Blue Sky a chance at doing films for the Mouse House in the future alongside Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
RATING : 7 out of 10