‘Ferdinand’ Review Roundup: A Fun Children’s Animation With Little To Offer To Adults
Ferdinand tells the story of a pacifist bull who is captured and taken from his home after being mistaken for a beast. But really the bull, played by John Cena, is a sweetheart who just wants to return to his family. The animated comedy film received an 80% on Rottentomatoes and features a stellar supporting case of Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, and Bobby Cannavale.
Directed by Carlos Saldanha and inspired by the children’s story of the same name by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, Ferdinand will be a hit with children, but remains perhaps too uninteresting for adults. The film hits theaters Dec. 15.
FERDINAND REVIEW ROUNDUP
“What the world needs now is Ferdinand, sweet Ferdinand, a rare breed of bovine who takes a stand against aggression, competitive rivalry and conforming to the expectations of others… Ferdinand comes as a mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings and stands in stark contrast to less savory aspects of The Boss Baby and The LEGO Batman Movie. Yes, there is padding afoot in the plotting, including a group dance-off, a too-long chase through a crowded city as well as an excess of chatty critters. But instead of being crude and rude, director Carlos Saldanha—a veteran of the Ice Age franchise whose Rio films were love letters to his native Brazil—and his writing team chose to extol such virtues as respect for others, teamwork, kindness and following your dream even if you are being coerced to do otherwise.”
–Susan Wloszczyna, rogerebert.com
“Ferdinand, the new computer-animated adaptation from Carlos Saldanha, speaks to its own time in a different way, dutifully adhering to the template for contemporary children’s films while avoiding much personality or distinction. The be-yourself messaging is easy to comprehend. A growing-up montage is set to an original Nick Jonas song that sounds like ideal music to get put on hold to. The farm animals represent a cross-section of nations, from a Scottish Highland bull (voiced by David Tennant) to German horses. And the movie is bright and peppy enough to hold young viewers’ attention, though a faithful 1938 Walt Disney short showed more inventiveness in eight minutes.”
–Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Some of the jokes land easier than others, and the film’s bolstered by charming voice performances from Cena and McKinnon. Other than that, Ferdinand is just another forgettable family flick.”
–Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly
“There’s always an uh-oh moment when you hear that Hollywood is taking a beloved but narratively thin children’s story and expanding it into a feature-length movie. You can instantly picture the chase sequences and disposably topical humor that committees of studio meddlers will tack onto the source material in a dubious push to get it multiplex-ready. This week’s case in point: Ferdinand… The good news is that while the movie is susceptible to some pandering, it also takes the story’s charming core elements and gives them a contemporary luster.”
–Tom Russo, The Boston Globe