Charming children’s animation about a pacifist bull
Ferdinand is a heart-warming children’s animation about brotherhood, bravery and… bullfighting? That may not sound much like festive family fare, said Ed Potton in The Times. Yet rest assured: Ferdinand is entirely free of “vicious bovine cruelty”. Its protagonist (voiced by the actor and wrestler John Cena) is a “non-fighting bull” who escapes from the farm where he was destined for the arena, and finds happiness with a human family who run a florist.
The film is based on a pacifist fable by the American writer Munro Leaf, which was banned by Franco and burned by Hitler, said Olly Richards in Time Out. Inconveniently, it was only 30 pages long, so extending it into a full-length feature proves a stretch. And there’s something a little “disingenuous” about the way Ferdinand draws on the “mythology” of bullfighting, yet avoids the brutal reality, said Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent. But for all that, it’s “charming” entertainment. Its talented vocal cast includes David Tennant as a Scottish bull, whose vision is so obscured by his hair that he converses with the backsides of other bulls.
The scene in which our hero literally wanders into a china shop, with hilarious results, is worth the price of admission, said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. It’s rather a shame that this enjoyable film is competing with Star Wars at the multiplex, but if your children are too young to be exposed to the Dark Side, take them to this instead.