If, like us, Christmas shopping is wearing you out, we’ve got the perfect cure to get you and your family back in the festive spirit: upcoming animated family adventure Ferdinand, on release now in Cineworld.
We think this animated adventure about an unfeasibly friendly bull (voiced by wrestling legend John Cena) hits the bullseye when it comes to delivering the perfect family adventure. Here are five reasons why…
1. It's an adventure in every sense of the word
Can a film even qualify as a bonafide family treat if there’s no sense of adventure? We certainly don’t think so.
Ferdinand sees the titular, loveable, flower-loving bull and his new-found friends embark on an epic cross-country adventure to return home after he’s mistaken as a fighting bull and taken away from his loving family. Moreover, Ferdinand is also on a journey of self-discovery as he realises how he’s perceived by others while simultaneously learning about the world outside his home.
2. It's got an important message and a big heart
From Toy Story to Shrek and beyond, all of our favourite family flicks are made that much better because they have something to say that’s worth listening to, and so does Ferdinand.
The film is really a lesson about not judging a book (or in this case a bull) by its cover. Ferdinand may look like a fearsome fighter, but really he’s as friendly as they come, and wants to spend more time smelling flowers than fighting matadors. This makes the voice casting of John Cena a genius move: not unlike the character Cena looks like an intimidating fighter (and indeed he is), but he comes across as genuinely friendly off-camera – we still wouldn’t fancy our chances against him in the ring, though.
3. It features some truly memorable sidekicks
What’s an adventure without some memorable friends? From a trio of feisty hedgehogs and a hot-headed goat (voiced by Ghostbusters actress Kate McKinnon) to a herd of colourful cattle (including a Scot voiced by Doctor Who himself, David Tennant) and a group of obnoxious, German-accented horses, the movie is bursting with sidekick characters.
Of course, the real heart of the film lies in the relationship between Ferdinand and his life-long friend, Nina (voiced by Lily Day), from whom he's been separated and who he longs to be reunited with. We don’t know about you, but the unbreakable friendship between a child and their pet gets us every time.
4. It's got an A-list voice cast to keep everyone entertained
You could have the best team of writers and animators to come up with a cast of creative characters, but to truly bring them to life, you need to have the right actors.
Ferdinand has no shortage of talented stars behind it. We’ve already mentioned that John Cena is the voice of our hero (in his first ever voice performance, might we add). Not only an esteemed WWE wrestler, he's also proved his acting chops in small, scene-stealing roles in Trainwreck and the Daddy’s Home movies.
As well as Cena, Ferdinand also stars the aforementioned Kate McKinnon and David Tennant, as well as comedian Sally Philips (Bridget Jones’s Diary), and Bobby Cannavale (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), alongside many more celebrity names.
5. The movie's creators know how to make a great family film
Ferdinand is brought to us by Blue Sky Studios, the same people who gave us the Ice Age series, Rio, Robots and The Peanuts Movie, each of which met with popular acclaim and box office success. We have no doubt, then, that Ferdinand will follow suit.
Still not convinced? Ferdinand is helmed by Blue Sky veteran and Oscar-nominated director Carlos Saldanha, the same person behind Robots, the first three Ice Age films, Rio, and its sequel, Rio 2. If there’s someone who knows how to make an excellent family film, it’s Saldanha, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands.
Andy Murray is an Unlimited member who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.