Ferdinand (the voice of John Cena) is giant bull with a gentle heart. His father is a champion matador fighter and at the farm where Ferdinand is born, he is expected to follow suit. But he escapes and finds a home where his kindness and mild demeanor is embraced. When he follows his new family into town, he turns “wild,” trying to escape capture by law enforcement. The rest of the film follows Ferdinand in his efforts to return to the peaceful setting of his lost family.
Ferdinand, based on a children’s book, was first a short cartoon by Disney in 1938. To reach the 107-minute length of this edition, some enhancement of the original publication was necessary. The expanded story has all the charm of the shorter version. It’s a lively, colorful and well-written production. It subtly captures issues kids can relate to, such as bullying, teasing and disappointments. It also teaches that judging people—or in this case a bull—by appearance can be misleading. And gentleness can overcome the threat of violence.
There are some tense scenes, such as a matador pulling swords on a bull, that might alarm the very young.
Ferdinand gets an A for diversity. A story set in Spain, a large number of characters’ voices are performed by Hispanic performers, such as Gina Rodriguez, and Black performers, such as Jerrod Carmichael, Anthony Anderson and Boris Kodjoe.
Finally, I want to add that my 9-year-old son, Robert, who really is the targeted market for this film, loved it.
Ferdinand is rated PG for crude humor, action and some thematic elements. It’s 107 minutes and is a See It!