Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez
Age Restriction: PG V
Runtime: 108 min
Release Date: 22 December 2017
Billed as one of the most successful animation studios in the game; Disney Animation is faced with rival studios attempting to replicate their success. One of these animation studios is none other than Blue Sky Studios – owned by 20th Century Fox which Disney recently acquired, ironically.
Calling Blue Sky a rival to Disney is an understatement, considering that their feature films (besides the Ice Age and Rio franchises) are moderate box office performers; and cannot, in any way, compete with the Mouse House’s frequent smash-hit status.
Following its trailer debut and festive season release date, it was clear that Blue Sky was confident in their next feature; and the trailer was impressive enough to convince many that Ferdinand may be the studio’s next Rio or Ice Age.
Ferdinand takes us to Spain and attempts to immerse audiences into the world of bullfighting. The titular character, voiced by WWE star John Cena, is a kind-hearted bull who attempts to defy the laws of nature by not being the next bullfighter’s target.
One day, the non-violent creature with a big heart runs away from his inevitable fate and is taken in by a farmer and his daughter. However, Ferdinand’s tranquil life is soon interrupted when a misstep leads authorities onto his tail, and the gentle beast is thus returned to the bullfight training farm he left all those years ago. Ferdinand is once again forced to partake in the brutal sport of bullfighting or else.
Blue Sky’s latest is packed full of reflective lessons that will move viewers, particularly a line the titular characters says in the movie that bulls are "more than a set of horns". However, these touching bits are only unveiled during the film’s impressive third act, while the first two acts remain formulaic, tedious and far too kiddie for adults to handle.
For the kids, however, Ferdinand is hands down an easy-to-understand film with simplistic humour, a formulaic plot, energetic action and over-the-top characters that will meet their expectations.
One of the biggest surprises is no doubt Cena’s excellent voice work. The actor makes the lovable bull relatable, and proves to audiences that he is indeed a talented actor.
Verdict: Formulaic, tedious and too kid-friendly for adults; 'Ferdinand' is a rather forgettable animated feature that fails on so many levels despite gorgeous animation, excellent voice work from John Cena and a touching third-act that will move most.