12 November 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Ferdinand

written by David Steffen

Ferdinand is a computer-animated children’s comedy/adventure distributed by 20th Century Fox.  The title character Ferdinand (John Cena) grew up on a Mexican ranch that breeds bulls for bullfighting in the arena.  The bulls compete with each other for the honor of being chosen for a bullfight, with the idea that they will defeat the matador and win eternal glory.  But young Ferdinand doesn’t want to fight, and one day he runs away and is adopted by Nina (Julia Saldanha) and her family where he is raised as a beloved pet, and he lives happily there for a time.  His favorite time of year is the flower festival, because he loves nothing more than smelling flowers.  But when he is fully grown, they tell him he can’t come along because he is too scary at his full-grown size.  He sneaks into town anyway, but is considered a threat to the populace and is sent back to the ranch where he meets the other bulls he knew as calves.  The other bulls treat him poorly, but a nanny goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon) decides to take him in and train him to be a fighter, but he’s no more interested in fighting than he was before, and the only way he might be able to avoid fighting is if he can escape.

I liked Ferdinand.  He’s a sweet creature, and given the casual violence in a lot of cartoons and superhero shows and etc it was refreshing to have a pacifist protagonist who isn’t a coward, he just doesn’t want to fight.  Although I liked Ferdinand himself, Lupe really stole the show–she had most of the best lines and Kate McKinnon’s delivery made them all the better.  But, my goodness did I find this movie depressing.  The characters were all fine, but the situation they’re in, where they’re all competing for the right to be in a bullfight where they will be baited and wounded for no better reason than to force them to be violent to fight harder in a fight that they cannot possibly win, and will be killed at the end of.  The alternative is showing that they can’t fight at all and getting sent to the butcher to get turned into meat.  The movie’s fine, though it’s nothing spectacular like  Pixar film would be.  But the background scenario is just so bleak, I had trouble getting over it when I was expecting this to be a light kid’s film.

 

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