It sounds cliched and cheesy, and it is cliched and cheesy
Ferdinand feels like the most inevitable children’s animation of all time. If there was a list of topics and ideas that children’s animation somehow hadn’t reached yet, a fighting bull that didn’t want to fight would be the very top of that list. However, these animations are often severely lacking in quality. Ferdinand strangely isn’t.
Ferdinand (John Cena) is a young bull desperate for his father to stay home with him and not begin a fighting career. Yet when he is taken away, Ferdinand knows he must run and find a loving owner. Many years pass and Ferdinand reaches his full size and potential with a new family but this time causing absolute havoc. It is then that he knows his destiny and what he must do to keep himself out of the amphitheatre battleground.
There is a certain charm to Cena’s bull as Ferdinand grasps onto his personality and becomes the animal that he wants to be. It sounds cliched and cheesy, and it is cliched and cheesy, but that doesn’t stop it from working for the film.
Once again however, an animation has been let down by the quality, of its animation. Anything released away from the few largest production companies seems to fail to even remotely touch the naturally high standard set by DreamWorks or Pixar. Ferdinand’s stanrdard is only slightly better than that of a mid-2000’s children’s television programme and really shows how quickly the technology moves on, leaving all but the pack leaders behind.
Aside from the visuals, Ferdinand works as a well-rounded children’s film with a thematically sound message and strong characters. It’s a good bit of escapism, even if it does transport everyone back in time by 15 years through its CGI.