How many remember The Story of Ferdinand from their childhood? You know, the children’s book about the pacifist bull that was turned into a Walt Disney short film? Well, it’s getting the feature film treatment.
Blue Sky Studios, the minds behind the Ice Age franchise and the Rio films is set to bring the story of Ferdinand to life – animated life, anyway – with a diverse voice cast. And former WWE wrestler-turned-actor John Cena is voicing Ferdinand. Don’t believe me? Take the trailer’s word for it!
If the story isn’t clear enough, Ferdinand (John Cena) is a peaceful bull in Spain who is mistakenly recruited for bull fights in Madrid, and it’s up to him and his friends to train (a “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality, if you will) and eventually get home to his favorite flowery pasture. And like any adaptation of classic children’s books, there’s plenty of padding – Ferdinand’s home village in Andalusia, the training, and the overall modernization of Spain.
They’re not shying away from the bull meta-jokes and puns, are they? And Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”, while nostalgic at times, ends on a contemplative Springsteen-esque note, which is a downer – and likely the opposite of the trailer’s goal. That’s not my only gripe, unfortunately.
The Spain setting, one would think, would be a great way to showcase Hispanic voice talent to compliment director Carlos Saldanha … but that’s not the case. Familiar voices being used to sell the film include Cena, David Tennant (voicing a likely Scottish bull named Angus), Anthony Anderson (voicing a bull named Bones), Kate McKinnon (voicing Lupe, the goat), Boris Kodjoe (as Klaus, a horse), Jerrod Carmichael (as a dog named Paco), Bobby Cannavale (as Valiente, another bull), and Daveed Diggs (as Dos, a mouse). It’s awfully American (with the exception of Tennant). However, four names in particular stand out from the crowd: Miguel Angel Silvestre (voicing El Primero, the bullfighter), Gabriel Iglesias (as Cuatro, a hedgehog), Raul Esparza (as Moreno), and Gina Rodriguez (Una, one of the hedgehogs). That’s … good, at least? I’m quietly hoping Ferdinand will be lacking over-the-top Spanish accents.
Ferdinand speeds into theaters on December 15, 2017 … and will likely be dominated at the box office by Star Wars: The Last Jedi.