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FERDINAND (2017) – My rating: 8.5/10

Ferdinand is a 3D computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios, Davis Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Animation. The film was based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand, written by Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle and Brad Copeland and directed by Carlos Saldanha.  Ferdinand is another animated movie I was obligated to see because of the Oscars.  Ferdinand is also another animated movie I was happy to have seen because it was excellent with a beautiful message.  I must say, animation story telling is getting better and better.

Ferdinand opens in Spain on a ranch owned by Moreno (Raúl Esparza) called Casa del Toro that trains bulls for bullfighting.  There is where a bull calf named Ferdinand (Colin H. Murphy) lives.  He is ridiculed by his fellow calves, Bones (Nile Diaz), Guapo (Jet Jurgensmeyer), and Valiente (Jack Gore) for being non-confrontational and for his habit of smelling and protecting flowers.  After months and months of ridicule, a melon collie Ferdinand runs away from home after his father, Raf (Jeremy Sisto) doesn’t return to the ranch after being chosen for a bull fight, plus a flower Ferdinand was fond of was flattened by Valiente after his own father was defeated by Raf. Running away eventually lands Ferdinand at a florist’s farm, where he is lovingly accepted and adopted into the family.

Ferdinand (John Cena) eventually grows up into an enormous bull, he still retains his non-violent, flower-loving nature. Due to his size, he is left alone when his new family, Juan (Juanes), Nina (Lily Day), and their dog, Paco (Jerrod Carmichael), goes to the town of Ronda for an annual flower festival. Against the family’s decision that Ferdinand stay home for his own protection, he decides to go to the festival anyway.  As a result, Ferdinand gets stung by a bee and unintentionally causes much chaos around town that results in him being sent back to Casa del Toro, much to his and the family’s sadness.

Once back at his old ranch, Ferdinand finds his old friends, Bones (Anthony Anderson), Guapo (Peyton Manning), and Valiente (Bobby Cannavale) have also grown up and have been joined by a Scottish bull named Angus (David Tennant) and a silent but intimidating bull named Maquina (Tim Nordquist). Ferdinand is still disrespected by the bulls, but manages to befriend a crazy goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon).

Ferdinand goes on to bigger and more exciting adventures. The message projected in Ferdinand is extremely profound.  Between Ferdinand’s beginnings at Casa del Toro to the Florist farm and back to Casa del Toro, there are many plots to explore.  I am unable to find anything negative about this film.  Ferdinand is brilliantly smart, beautifully illustrated and well acted with lessens to be had by all. Or course, the actors only lend their voices to the characters.  I highly recommend Ferdinand, which is now on DVD and Blu-Ray and is also streaming on Amazon.  I don’t think you can go wrong with this one, the kids will love it!

[Ferdinand is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature.]