If you were to ask a 6-year-old John Cena what he wanted to be when he grew up, he probably would have said, “A giant bull, but a lover, not a fighter.”
Fast forward 34 years and here we are. Dreams do come true.
Ferdinand (John Cena) is about a happy-go-lucky bull who takes great pleasure in the old adage, “stop and smell the roses.” Growing up around bullies, Ferd has put his hoof down pretty firmly on the idea that he won’t fight.
Unfortunately, the lives of bulls in Spain are dedicated to becoming the biggest and strongest so they can beat the Matador in the ring when the time comes. When he is separated from his best friend — a little girl named Nina (Lily Day) — after an incident in which he is labeled the beast he appears to be, Ferdinand is taken to a ranch where fighters are raised and eventually taken to the bullring.
Rejected by his competitors, Ferdinand befriends Lupe (Kate McKinnon) — a goat with a heart of gold — and hatches an escape plan. His emancipation and subsequent safe return home to Nina will be a team effort, calling on the assistance of his fellow ranch dwellers; from the tallest (the other bulls) to the smallest (a trio of helpful hedgehogs) and his BGF (Best Goat Forever), Lupe, everybody will play a part.
Ferdinand speaks to the ugly truth of Bull Fighting — which is still a sport, amazingly enough — and wildly popular. It simultaneously addresses the bullying — HENCE THE BULLS — problem facing so much of this country, young and old.
This is a movie marketed for kids that I would be comfortable taking my pre-teen niece and nephew to. In fact, when I pitched seeing it to my niece, we convinced my nephew by telling him that John Cena is the voice of Ferdinand. I like that there are jokes that I know will make them giggle, but also some fare for the more seasoned folks.
It’s a truly sweet story and I — a grown, 33-year-old woman — cried ‘neath the cloak of the movie theater darkness, but I don’t care who knows it! I cried when Ferdinand stopped to smell those flowers! And that Nick Jonas fella did a fine job on the song “Home” featured in the film which has since scored a Golden Globes nomination!
Ferdinand is charging into theaters this weekend — a perfect escape from the cold with the kiddos!