I wasn’t enamoured with the idea of seeing the movie ‘Ferdinand’. As far as animated films of 2017 are concerned, this year has proven to be more of a cesspool than a garden of Eden (we are talking mainstream), but I had some hope that ‘Ferdinand’ would be a step above the trash heap that was 2017 (minus ‘Coco’ that is downright phenomenal). I made sure to miss all the commercials and trailers before the film to limit my time in this theatre. Thankfully, I found myself watching the second best animated film of 2017, much to my surprise.

‘Ferdinand’ is about a young bull (Ferdinand) who has no interest in fighting. He would
rather smell flowers and frolic. However, when grows up, he finds himself in a bad situation and must not only face the past he ran away from, but find a way to save his future all while maintaining his passive and friendly nature with the help of an eccentric group of characters.

There isn’t a lot to hate about this film. Some of the humour is dumb, and they become
repetitive with some of those unfunny jokes. The biggest issue is the animation that I found to be average in design. Movies like ‘Coco’ break new ground and push to be visually spectacular, yet Ferdinand seemed to have no interest in doing this. Also, despite a great voice cast, the quality of the sound wasn’t as consistent as one would like. Finally, while the film is directed towards an immensely serious subject that is a blight upon the global society, it had the opportunity to get deeper and dirtier into the subject, but in the name of being more family-friendly, glossed over this.

The things I enjoyed were plentiful in ‘Ferdinand’. Yes, some of the humour is low-brow or doesn’t hit the right mark, but a lot of it does. I laughed more in this movie than just about every comedy that came out this year. Apart from ‘Girls Trip’, I’d say it would be my comedy of the year. I also loved the talented and diverse cast of voices they picked up for this, from Anthony Anderson, David Tennant, John Cena, to even Peyton Manning. Also, the musical score is beautiful, and the soundtrack fitting of this comedy. Yes, this film addresses the cruelty of bullfighting and that important to note, but it goes even deeper than this. The best aspect of the movie is how it directly targets the idea of toxic
masculinity. Yes, others have touched on it, but this one felt like it was directly charging toward this idea. Men must fit a certain stereotype and follow certain rules (don’t cry, don’t show emotion, don’t ask for help), or they are labelled outcasts, devoid of purpose in society. It’s a vile, archaic, and terribly damaging blight upon our global society, and this movie dives into that subject more aggressively than most. I mentioned that I wanted the film to deliver this point because it is so important to the world, but I understand why it softened the blow some.

Overall, I respect the film for its efforts, but feel it would have joined the cream of the crop if it went all in on the subject. In the hellscape that is the animated film selection of 2017. ‘Ferdinand’ is surprisingly delightful complete with a very powerful message about a serious issue facing our species. Pixar’s ‘Coco’ is by far the superior animated film of this year, but ‘Ferdinand’ is the only 2017 mainstream animated film that could be mentioned in the same sentence. (Sorry, ‘Lego Batman’).

Andrew’s Rating: 7.5/10

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gabriel Iglesias, Gina Rodriguez, David Tennant, Peyton Manning, Anthony Anderson.