For the longest time I have had 2 steadfast rules here on Slack Jaw Punks: No politics (Unless you’re making fun of Cheeto Hitler! The guy has a spray tan! How can we NOT make fun of him!?!?) and no kid stuff. Both seemed super messy and are an elements I just didn’t want to deal with. Like all great rules, they were just waiting to be broken. No, we are not starting Bub’s Political Corner, but as of today there will be two reviews from the world of children’s entertainment. This has less to do with me being a hypocrite and more to do with my son being old enough to directly influence what I consume as entertainment. It’s a weird time in my life. This 2 and 1/2 foot person who I helped create and is completely dependent on me to survive, is now in absolute control of almost all aspects of my life. Including this website, and less then 18 months ago he needed my help to wipe his butt. How the hell did this happen!?!? Like a good Father when the opportunity to see Ferdinand landed and my family was invited, I swallowed my pride and loaded them up. A drastic change from the horror and craziness we usually cover on the site, but I’m nothing, if not ever evolving. That and the 36 inch human that runs the house demanded we go… I gotta get this house back…
Ferdinand is a bull raised on a ranch in Mexico that specializes in bulls for bull fighting. Unlike the rest of the bulls on the ranch, Ferdinand is more interested in growing flowers than fighting and doesn’t understand why he has to fight. After his father doesn’t return from a match (we can assume the worse. It is bull fighting after all…), Ferdinand high tails it off the ranch and finds a new life and family on a flower farm. After a trip to town gone wrong Ferdinand lands himself back at the same bull ranch he escaped in his youth. Now he has no choice but to try and escape or face the matador in the bull fighting arena.
For the real critique of the movie I feel it’s only fair to allow the intended demographic to guide my review. I was accompanied to the screening by my aforementioned son (age 5) and niece (age 3). I love both of these two dearly, but they are force of chaotic energy that’s soul purpose is to destroy everything! It takes a lot to get this two to sit still (especially when together), but Ferdinand has them sucked in in mere seconds. Not only were they glued to the screen, they were also dying laughing. I am admitting I was laughing right with them. The car ride home was filled with everyone reciting their favorite lines and yuking it up all over again.
At first it may seem weird to center a children’s movie around a sport as cruel and barbaric as bull fighting, but Ferdinand never shows the sport in a positive light. It’s actually the opposite. With a strong message of the importance of being yourself and violence is never the answer, when the climax hits in the arena (which we see coming a mile away) it’s handled well and sends a great message to the youngsters. Another aspects of films I never cared about until becoming a father.
For me to review this movie feels very weird. Ferdinand is not intended for men in their 30’s who regularly consume hardcore horror flicks and comic books. That said, I would be lying to say I didn’t enjoy Ferdinand. It’s a cute story with a ton of heart and some solid laughs. It feels weird to say it, but Ferdinand was blast for the entire family… What have I become!?!?