Not a cartoon classic but well-cast, riotous fun Discuss this article

© ITP Images

With a perfect piece of casting (WWE legend John Cena) at its core and a selection of standout set-pieces throughout (not least one involving a literal bull in a china shop), Ferdinand may not be Pixar-good, but as holiday season animation goes it’s more than enough to keep the kids busy in between writing their letters to Santa.

Carlos Saldanha (of Ice Age fame) here directs an adaptation of one of the most controversial kids’ books ever. Unavailable in many countries for years, as well as being banned by Franco and burned by old literature-pyro Hitler, Munro Leaf’s original novel, the story of a bull who prefers tending flowers over goring matdors, has been variously accused of promoting pacifism, anarchism, fascism and communism.

In actuality, though, it’s a simple tale with a worthy message – in essence, be yourself – that deserves to be, ahem, herd.

The bottom line
Not a cartoon classic but well-cast, riotous fun.

By Mark Dinning
Time Out Abu Dhabi,


  • Released: Sun, 26 Nov
  • Language: English
  • Director: Carlos Saldanha
  • Stars: Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter



Explore by

Our favourite features