Ferdinand, rated PG
This Golden Globe nominated animated film is a family-friendly treat that includes some positive messages. It is directed by Oscar nominee Carlos Saldanha (Gone Nutty, Rio, Ice Age), and is based the classic 1936 picture book The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Both Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco banned the book about a bull who doesn’t want to fight, while Gandhi and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt admired it. Walt Disney produced a short film version in 1938.
The new film has already received Golden Globe nominations for best animated picture and best original song.
As a young calf in Spain, Ferdinand (voiced by Colin H. Murphy), is different from the others. He doesn’t participate in the games that the rest of his peers do. He doesn’t want to grow up to be a fighting bull. Instead, he just loves to smell flowers, his favorite being red carnations. Then, when his father doesn’t return after being chosen to fight against a matador, Ferdinand realizes he has been killed. He then escapes from the bull ranch, eluding his pursuers. He eventually finds himself at a flower farm. Nina (young Nina voice by Julia Scarpa Saldanha and older Nina voiced by Lily Day), a young girl and her father adopt him as a pet. We see him sleeping in Nina’s bed and eventually grows into a large, but loving, bull. Although people are frightened of him, Ferdinand is in reality just a very nice bull, a gentle giant with a big heart.
One day Ferdinand goes to the local flower festival with Nina. While there however, he gets stung by a bee and as he reacts, he does an incredible amount of damage to the flower festival and the town in general. Because he is a large bull, he is mistaken as a dangerous beast, and as a result, he is returned to the same bull-fighting training ranch in Madrid that he had escaped from.
Ferdinand is voiced by wrestling star John Cena. Lupe, an ugly and funny goat voiced by Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), designates herself as his trainer on how to fight as a bull. But Ferdinand has no interest in fighting, even though that is what is expected of a bull. Ferdinand’s bull peers are Valiente (Bobby Cannavale), Bones (Anthony Anderson), Guapo (Peyton Manning, future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback), and a Scottish Highland bull Angus (David Tennant, Dr. Who, Broadchurch).
Ferdinand realizes that if he doesn’t escape back to his family, he will either die in the arena or be sent to the chop house (slaughterhouse). So, he decides to put together a team to help him escape led by three hedgehogs voiced by Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs and Gabriel Iglesias.
John Powell (Ice Age, Rio, Horton Hears a Who!), provides the music for the film.
This funny film includes a lot of positive messages about respect, kindness, teamwork and staying true to yourself.
Listen to Golden Globe nominated song “Home” in this trailer for the film: