Based on the 1936 book The Story of Ferdinand, and the subsequent short animation, Ferdinand tells the tale of a young bull who just doesn’t fit in.

While all the other bulls in his pen dream only of fighting and going to Madrid to take on the matadors, all Ferdinand wants to do is find a nice hill to sit on where he can smell the flowers.

Ferdinand, the gentle bull (somewhat ironically voiced by John Cena), spends most of his time trying to refute the violence of the bullfighting to his pen pals. The strongest of the lot, Valiente (Bobby Cannavale), insists that Ferdinand won’t fight because he isn’t strong enough, and the others tend to agree. Of course, they all have their own problems. Angus, the Scottish bull (voiced hilariously by David Tennant) has trouble seeing, and Bones (Anthony Anderson) is too scrawny to be a fighting bull. With selection for the fight against the world’s greatest matador looming, who will be chosen to make the trip?

Ferdinand is an enjoyable enough adventure for kids, but their accompanying guardians may find it hard to stomach. Where it’s normally the trend for kids’ films to include some references that may go over children’s heads and give the adults a good giggle, this film doesn’t deliver on that front, and surprisingly features some really dark and heavy tones one wouldn’t expect in a kids’ movie.

That being said, the animation is excellent, the music festive, and the film is a fun-filled safe bet for the kids this holidays, thanks to its playful voice cast – Kate McKinnon especially. Ferdinand is pretty much as good as you could expect a two-hour feature based on an eight-minute short to be – and that’s no bull!

In cinemas: December 14, 2017
Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale
Directed by: Carlos Saldhana

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