"The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf might be one of the most well-known children's stories written. The story is about a bull named Ferdinand who rather than fighting like the other bulls loves to smell the flowers under a tree and then accidentally finds himself in a bullfight. It was a simple story and I think it mostly translated well to the silver screen with Blue Sky Studios' newest animated release "Ferdinand". This film definitely has it's message stand out while also providing some pretty funny laughs. Here's why I think this movie works.
The story of the film is essentially mostly the same with some more additions. In the country of Spain, a bull named Ferdinand (John Cena) is a bull who is more interested in smelling the flowers rather than fighting like other bulls. Living on a florist farm with a girl named Nina (Lily Day) and her father, he has lived a mostly calm life going to the towns nearby flower festival. One day when he visits the festival, he accidentally sits on a bee and gets stung causing him to accidentally destroy the festival. The authorities seeing him as a danger, send him away to the home for fighting bulls named Casa Del Toro. Though he is disrespected by the other bulls as the home, he quickly finds himself to a calming goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon) and three hedgehogs name Una (Gina Rodriguez), Dos (Daveed Diggs), and Cuatro (Gabriel Iglesias). What happened to Tres you may ask? Well, they don't speak of him sadly. Meanwhile, a matador from Madrid (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) comes to the house to chose a bull to fight in the ring for one last time. The only problem is that if a bull doesn't get chosen, he is sent to a slaughterhouse nearby. So, what happens next? I'd rather not spoil the rest of the film so I'll move on to my analysis.
Before I go into more detail about the film, I'll go ahead and say that isn't the first adaptation of the story. The book was adapted into a short cartoon by Walt Disney back in 1938 and ended up winning an Academy Award. Though that version is unsurprisingly the better adaption, this version of the story is actually a pretty good adaptation. The way I would describe it is comparing it to Blue Sky's own movie "Horton Hears a Who!". Where that film isn't good as the original Chuck Jones special, I still thought it was a good adaptation nonetheless and the same can be said with Ferdinand. What I was surprised by with this film is actually how funny it was. For the most part, the movie relies on classic cartoon humor you usually see in old Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and Tex Avery cartoons most notably the scene where Ferdinand accidentally destroys the festival, including going into a china shop. Also, Kate McKinnon as Lupe was pretty hilarious. In fact, this is an example of a comic relief that you think might be annoying working very well in the film. This is where I think the story succeeds the most. Its comedy is what makes the movie work. The animation is also great again. It's one of Blue Sky's best-looking movie I've seen in a while with some pretty landscapes to go with it. The characters are also pretty memorable due to their good character designs and voices. I was in fact initially very nervous when wrestler John Cena was chosen to play Ferdinand because I seriously doubted whether or not he could act. Luckily, I found out that he wasn't that bad in the movie and actually sold the character very well. In fact, if you didn't know Cena was Ferdinand, you probably would have assumed it was some unknown voice actor. My only problem with the movie is that some elements of the movie will be dated very fast. I have always stated that it's better to be timeless than popular and where most of the humor will be timeless, some of it will get dated pretty quickly. For example, there was a scene where the bulls face a dance-off between horses at Casa del Toro to some modern pop song and I remember scratching my head and thinking to myself "What is the point of this?". I can understand that the writers were clearly trying to write a scene where the bulls start to bond with Ferdinand, but it could have been written better and even in a more timeless manner. That was really about it though.
"Ferdinand" is actually a pretty funny movie with some pretty funny comedy, good animation, and very memorable characters which lead to a very enjoyable movie. It's easily a movie that continues Blue Sky's reputation that they're better at making original movies rather than sequels making up for their misfire last year known as "Ice Age: Collision Course". Hopefully, they'll take this movie as inspiration that people want to see more original content and not more sequels because if they do, I think they can become one of the best animation studios right now.
P.S: As a note to Fox, stop releasing these movies on the same day a new Star Wars movie comes out. You are just going to lose money and besides, finding a parking spot on the night I saw this movie was a pain.