22 December 2017
Just in time for the Christmas school holidays comes Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation’s must-see animated film of the year – Ferdinand. Based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s 1936 children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, this animated adaptation perfectly develops the much-loved story for a 2017 audience.
Ferdinand is a Spanish fighting bull who is gentle and kind, unlike the fellow bull calves he grows up with on the Casa Del Toro ranch outside of Madrid. Disinterested in locking horns with his bullish comrades, he far prefers to smell the flowers and make friends with nature. When his father is selected by a fearsome matador to go and fight in the big city, the reality of Ferdinand’s differences with the other bulls set in and he makes a daring escape from the ranch. Adopted by a kind-hearted and exuberant little girl named Nina and her flower-growing father, Ferdinand finally feels like he is where he belongs, and delights in his new field of wildflowers. But when Ferdinand, now a huge, fully-sized bull is mistaken by the village people as a dangerous beast, captured and returned back to the bullfighting ranch, he must rally the other bulls to understand why it’s better to love than to fight.
An uplifting, charming and funny film, Ferdinand features some headstrong bulls, a dear little goat, some dancing hedgehogs and a dopey and self-deprecating dog. A special mention must go to the brilliantly choreographed rivalry between the bulls and their neigbours; three sassy German horses, who ponced and pranced about their paddock in their self-indulged superiority, resulting in squeals of delight from all of the children at the film screening. Even the adults were clinging to their seats in laughter!
The discussion of bullfighting in Spain is one gaining momentum around the world, with some calling to end the long-engrained cultural tradition amid concerns for the animals, so Ferdinand comes at the right time in this discourse for adults to take a particular interest. This socially responsibull (pun intended, of course!) take on a children’s film is particularly admirable as it gives credence among the issue to our younger generations.