Its no coco but ferdinand a CG animated adaptation f the classic 1936 munro leaf and robert lawson book about a flower loving bull who rather sniff than fight manages to squeak by with enoth charming set pieces and amusing sight gags to compensate for a stalling storyline. Nimbly choregraphed by carlos saldanha marking the seventh blue sky feature he has either directed or co-directed with john cena agreeably voicing the role of the peace a bull protagonist the fox release should handily hit the bullseye with targeted holiday family audiences when it charges into theaters next weekend. Although the leaf book featuring lawsons whimsical ink drawings has been translated into more than 60 languages many will also be familiar with the seven minute 1938 disney adagption ferdiand the bull which would take home the oscar for best short subject cartoons.
Stretching the subject matter onto a feature length canvas the production kicks off in casa del toros a bull training camp in rural spain from which young ferdinand bolts upon learing his dad never returned from a trip to that madrid arena. He finds idyllic refuge on a farm belonging to juan singer juanes whose daugher nine lily day makes a pet out of the docile creature until he grows to an enormous threatening size cue Mr. cena and is subsequently seized by the authorities and delivered back to casa del toros where a bull becomes either a fighter or meat.
Not fond of either of those options and with the famous bullfighter EI primero miguel angel silvestre eyeing him for his farewell appearance ferdinand plots an escape with assistance of lupe a decidedly hyper calming goat the always dependable kate mckinnon and a trio of hedgehogs named uno dos and cuartro gina rodriguez daveed diggs and gabriel iglesias who prefer not to speak of the absent tres.
There are moments of comic delight to be found here like a literal bull in a china shop sequence as well as the foppish antics of a trio of lipizzaner horses voiced by boris kodjoe flula borg and sally phillips. But the plotting the script is credited to robert L. baird tim federle and brad copeland admittedly takes a while to find its footing and even when it does the stop start momentum never quite rises to the occasion.
The visual renderings including those pastoral vistas with all the bright green rolling hills and suny azure skies are cetainly pleaseing to the eye and the characters particularly the formidable ferdinand inhabit those vibrant spaces with a lithe grace. The voice work is similarly nimble but although cena and mckinnon are terrific it might have been nice to have heard hispanic actors in the lead roles rather than just the supporting ones.
Ferdinand A Formidable Ferdinand In This CG Take On The Not-So-Cocky Bull Story,