“Ferdinand,” the latest offering from Blue Sky studios, the people behind the “Ice Age” series of animated films, is about a bull who refuses to behave like one. And in a bullfighting-obsessed culture such as what you’ll find in Spain, that tends to be problematic.
Seen as a bit of a wimp by his peers because of his refusal to fight and his appreciation of pretty and fragrant flowers, Ferdinand longs for a life away from all the glory of the ring and the honor of beating the matador that his fellow bull calves long for.
It may surprise some people to learn that the story of Ferdinand is a lot older than one might think. The story the movie is based on was published in 1936. “The Story Of Ferdinand” was also used as a basis for a short Walt Disney film in 1938, which won the Oscar that year for best short film.
This theatrical animation version takes many liberties and expounds on the story, adding twists to keep the audience’s interest for the one hour forty-eight minute runtime. There are many new characters that help fill out the world, some of them cute like the numerically-named hedgehog siblings.
The style of the animation is cartoony, just like Blue Sky’s previous movies. The flow is action oriented, with many of the gags and laughs coming from slapstick gags, which again reinforce the idea that this is a kid’s movie more than anything else. There are some moments of heart too, for those whose interests run deeper than funny dancing Spanish bulls and German horses (To be fair though, I must say that the dance-off is hilarious).
Though mostly a comedy, Ferdinand has some thought-provoking moments. The whole idea of a matador torturing a bull for fame is brought up, as are the themes of fitting in and being true to one’s self. It’s a shame that could have been expanded on but weren’t, moments where a character’s entire world view is challenged. There is enough to tug at the heart strings, however.
Some characters, sadly were underused and even felt like they had no overall use except for that particular moment or gag, then they were set aside.
Overall, “Ferdinand” is a fun watch, and totally safe for young children who will enjoy the colorful, often fast-paced activity on screen. For slightly older children, there’s enough to think and talk to them about without being preachy.
Tags: animated films, Blue Sky, Blue Sky studios, Bull begs to differ, Disney film, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, Movie Review, theatrical animation, Walt Disney, “Ferdinand”