In the shadow of the epic saga, there lies an animated field where flowers grow, birds sing, and bulls romp around smelling the fauna. No, I’m not drunk, I’m talking about Ferdinand the Bull, the latest kid’s animated feature to stamped on to the silver screen. Blue Skies Studio has been advertising this film like crazy, in hopes of nabbing the younger audience this weekend. Yet with Disney knocking these films out of the park is there any hope for the other studios to put out quality work? Robbie K here happy to answer that question, as we hit yet another Robbie’s movie review.
Animation: It’s an animated movie and as such you want the animation to be well good. While not the most realistic looking film to drop into our laps, Ferdinand still has a wonderful style that brings the world to life. The cartoony looks of the character, a common theme in Blue Sky production, adds to the fun of the film, and will be a welcoming sight to your little ones. The world has dynamic shades of color to mirror the tone of the setting, and a majority of it explodes to life in a manner that kid’s movies only can. And of course… the anthropomorphized animals move beautifully in all aspects from the simple act of speaking to even break dancing.
Voice work: In an animated work, it’s up to the voice work to also bring the characters to life and Ferdinand accomplishes this goal quite well. John Cena is surprisingly a great voice actor, bringing some range in his emotional spectrum I didn’t quite expect from the gigantic tower of a man. Kate McKinnon in all her glory, is the comedic punch to the film with a very energetic delivery that gets toned down a few times to roll her character back in serious mode. Of course the other supporting voices lend their roles well with Anthony Anderson, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias all contributing to the fun at hand in their own special way, and yes fluffy was my favorite. And as an added bonus, most of the characters have decent screen time, meaning you don’t get shortsighted like many films do.
The Fun: This movie is exactly what the advertisements promise, a fun, simplistic adventure that brings a lot of enjoyment to the screen. Ferdinand’s antics are simply cute, like a big puppy trapped in a big body that is awkward and klutzy. What starts as simplistic slapstick though soon evolves, recruiting some rather witty jokes, a poke at some cinema references, and a dance off that will be legendary on YouTube for some time. All these little gestures combine to maximize the laughs, and while much of this is geared towards kids, there are some jokes that adults will appreciate.
The emotions: While this movie is certainly more on the humorous side, it’s also got a great delivery to tug at the heart strings. Ferdinand’s moral code is inspiring, his perspective of love, loyalty, friendship, and courage fantastically told in the camera work and cinematic score. I didn’t tear up, but the things the digital bull did carved a smile on my face for a majority of the movie. It’s nice to see such balance in the film.
A little too simplistic: One thing that is difficult to compete with Disney is their unique worlds and ideas they build. Ferdinand, despite being fun, is not that unique of an environment compared to the magic of Walt and is lacking that creative spark that has become famous in modern animation. In addition, the movie doesn’t have the most complicated twists to the mix, which works for the younger audience, but could have added a little more pep to the step.
McKinnon’s jokes: While McKinnon is a fantastic voice actor and infuses energy into the mix, there are times where she goes a little too far in her joking. The writer’s capitalized on her SNL talents, but sadly they went a little too far. Kate’s character Lupe is very sporadic, extremely silly, and at times very irritating. Imagine a drunk toddler with an ADD twist, and you’ll get a good idea of what her character is like, including regurgitation and memory lapse for the whole family. Yes, there are those golden moments where it works, but for me, well Lupe’s over trying was a downfall for me in the long run. Thank goodness for those grounding moments, because without them… well I wouldn’t have been pulling for them.
More hedgehogs: Final small dislike, wanted more hedgehog power to bring up the magic. They were my favorite characters of the bunch, and I would have liked to see them shine a little more.
Ferdinand is fun, wholesome, family entertainment that will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face. With great animation and voice work to guide the way, this movie will be a fantastic trip for you and the whole family. Despite the fun to be had though, it still needs some tweaking in a few areas to really bring out the masterpiece. In comparison to a Disney film, it has a lot of work to catch up on, but most families should not mind with the fun adventure to be had. Worth a trip to the theater? Yeah, I can say it would be, especially for a nice holiday church outing.
Movie Overall 6.5-7.0