I was able to screen the film before it opened, and affiliate links are used. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ferdinand, created by 20th Century Fox, is a light and fluffy escape from the world. A family film that’s rated PG for rude humor (think fart jokes and some hidden language jokes), action scenes and elements, it stars such voices as John Cena, Kate McKinnon, and Peyton Manning. But after screening a few films debuting before Christmas 2017, I think this entertaining movie is perfect for elementary ages and small children.
Easy to Watch
Ferdinand has a running time of 1 hour 46 minutes, which is perfect for your little kids and elementary-aged moviegoers. Though it doesn’t have the musical aspect my two-year-old would have loved, it’s plenty silly with lots to enjoy. Grownups will enjoy the hidden humor and language (think Muppet style hidden verbal jokes) and the kids will ADORE the dance battle and physical comedy.
Ferdinand and its characters are silly. Many personalities in the movie are over the top archetypes, like the tough Valiente, who only wants to fight and prove himself, or the loving human Nina, who rarely shows another emotion other than TLC. But the situational humor and physical comedy that results gives the characters another much-needed facet. Helping this cause along are the goofy and witty hedgehogs (Uno, Dos, and Quattro) as well as Lupe, the pot-bellied goat. In fact, Kate McKinnon’s goat steals most of the scenes she is in, with true goat-like movements, cliches, and unexpected wit.
Fun Visual Character Design & Development
Because of the archetype nature of the characters, the bulls and Lupe are creatively designed. From a single glance, you can easily glean the nature of the animal, how they move and what part of the story they help to tell. Bones, the Casa del Toro bull, is skinny, wirey, and ready to hang out. The hedgehog’s movement and design show the inherent friendly and street-smart personalities of each. Lupe I had the most fun with, however. She has so many physical aspects of a real goat that it was fun to watch her move and jump. You can tell the animators spent real time mo-capping animals and watching them move because the heavy Ferdinand always feels grounded (you can feel his weight as he moves). Research and work on weight and physicality are evident.
Good Moral Lesson
Ferdinand brings a great moral lesson to its viewers. The movie tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart, who after being mistaken for a dangerous beast, is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, Ferdinand rallies a misfit team of friends to help. Set in Spain, Ferdinand not only shows you can’t judge a bull by its cover but that you don’t have to be who someone else says you must be. Stay true to yourself. Don’t fight. Be who you are!
Lack of Texture
What Ferdinand boasts in terms of physicality and humor, it lacks in visual texture. While you’ll each individual blades of grass and the knotty boucle of the matador’s hat, you’ll also see the flat noses of the bulls (only a hint of texture in the center) and plainly evident lack of fur texture on their flanks. Yes, cow and bull hair is slicker than say, a goat’s, but it stuck in my mind how texturally flat the characters were.
Make sure to take a peek at the trailer before you venture to the theatre. It really gives you a sense of the humor and style of the movie! Afterwards, you can stretch your creative streak by making some flower crowns that Ferdinand himself would love, or reading the original storybook that inspired the film!
FERDINAND OPENS NATIONWIDE ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 2017