The Invercargill Eye - - BACKYARD BANTER -

While ev­ery other bull at Casa Del Toro dreamed of be­ing cho­sen by the Matador, Fer­di­nand (John Cena) pre­ferred to tend to the wild­flow­ers. And de­spite cop­ing with the bul­ly­ing from his more ag­gres­sive con­tem­po­raries for years, his fa­ther’s fail­ure to re­turn from the Madrid arena was the fi­nal straw for our sen­si­tive beef­cake.

Run­ning off into the night, he boards a train and finds safe har­bour on a farm with Nina and her fa­ther. How­ever, his idyl­lic life is shat­tered a few sum­mers later when his de­sire to at­tend the lo­cal flower fes­ti­val ends in dis­as­ter, de­struc­tion and dis­grace.

Hauled away by the au­thor­i­ties, Fer­di­nand winds up back where he started and in prime po­si­tion to be se­lected for leg­endary Matador El Primo’s fi­nal fight.

The first fea­ture-length ver­sion of Munro Leaf and Robert Law­son’s much-loved, more-than80-year-old chil­dren’s book, Fer­di­nand is an ami­ab­ull, en­ter­tain­ing romp for cin­ema­go­ers of all ages.

From the bright, colour­ful an­i­ma­tion to the eclec­tic vo­cal cast (ev­ery­one from NFL quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning to former Doc­tor Who star David Ten­nant and Mi­randa‘ s Sally Phillips), di­rec­tor Car­los Saldanha’s ( Rio, Ice Age) ad­ven­ture com­bines knock­about com­edy with ac­tion aplenty – to en­gross­ing ef­fect.

While the evo­ca­tion of a panEuro­pean Spain will an­noy some (why they have Bri­tish po­lice­men, I’ll never know), the story ben­e­fits greatly from the in­clu­sion of Ten­nant’s High­land Bull An­gus and a trio of self-ab­sorbed Aus­trian horses.

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