(Fox Movies/Courtesy Photo)

Fox Movies/Courtesy Photo

‘Ferdinand’ sells light-hearted peace at the right time of year

Animated film shows how to stop fighting, smell the flowers

December 21, 2017

If you find yourself wanting to see “Star Wars,” but the theater is sold out, consider seeing “Ferdinand.” It is an animated comedy about a lovable, peaceful bull that will have the audience laughing and falling in love with gentle Ferdinand.

Blue Sky Studios (the creators of “Ice Age”) produced “Ferdinand” with a cast that includes John Cena (as the voice of Ferdinand), Kate McKinnon (Lupe), Gina Rodriguez (Una), Anthony Anderson (Bones) and Peyton Manning as Guapa (one of the bulls).

The animated film takes place in Spain and begins with a young Ferdinand carrying a bucket to water a single red flower. The other bulls his age make fun of him and want him to fight, but Ferdinand has no desire to fight.

Like the Disney short film “Ferdinand the Bull," this movie was inspired by the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.

The creators of the film also introduced other heart-warming characters, including a goat, and a little girl, Nina. Nina and Ferdinand develop a friendship much like Fern had with Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.”

One of the comedy highlights of the film is a dance-off between some snooty German horses and a group of bulls. Other funny moments including a bull in a china shop scene and Ferdinand playing peek-a-boo with a baby in the town. Other characters that bring comedy to the story are a Scottish bull, Angus, who can’t see because his eyes are covered by his hair, three hedgehogs – Una, Dos and Cuatro – and a goat named Lupe.

Besides just bringing laughter, “Ferdinand” sends a lesson of not judging someone by their appearance.  His reaction to being stung by a bee while in a crowded village has the town convinced that he is a scary beast. After he is taken away from his home, all Ferdinand wants is to go back home to where he can be himself, instead of being what is expected of him just because he is a bull.

The movie also delivers a message of peace. Ferdinand refuses to fight — and while he is the largest and strongest bull on the ranch — he only uses his strength to protect others and to make sure no one is left behind.

Ferdinand’s gentle heart and message of nonviolence, even when the other bulls think that fighting is the only way, is a lesson to us all.

*****

“Ferdinand”
4 out of 4 stars
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Cast:  John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and Peyton Manning
Director: Carlos Saldanha

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