14 December 2017 (released)
31 December 2017
The world of bullfighting is an unlikely backdrop for an animated children's film, but Ferdinand's titular bovine character is also an unlikely fighter.
As a young calf Ferdinand (John Cena) is the runt of his bull training farm - with a preference for sniffing flowers and admiring the Spanish countryside over the rough and tumble of training for the bullring.
His peers, a testosterone-fuelled bull called Valiente (Bobby Cannavale), the waif-like Bones (Anthony Anderson), and nerve-filled Guapo (American football star Peyton Manning), all dream of fighting matadors - hoping that one day they will fight, win and be feted as a champion.
Tragically, the perils of following their fathers on this course are made all too clear to young Ferdinand, and he runs away from the farm in panic.
After his escape, he lands on his hooves, as he's taken in by a human family who are in the flower business - and is given everything his heart desires - flowers, love and food, which he guzzles down until he grows to an incredible size.
His idyllic lifestyle cannot last, however, and after he accidentally runs amok at a flower festival, Ferdinand is taken away from his adopted family and must face his destiny as a fighting bull.
Based on Munro Leaf's 1936 children's tale The Story of Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha's film is a fairly run-of-the-mill animated movie, with none of the vaulting ambition of Disney and Pixar's films.
There's a lot of enjoyment to be had in Ferdinand though. Visually, it's beautiful to look at - its Spanish setting is lovingly rendered down to every detail, with every flower, roof tile and speck of dust popping off the screen in vivid colour.
The humour is broad, with pop culture references and music occasionally inserted in place of genuine wit, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments, most notably an hilarious scene in which Ferdinand finds himself in a bull's least favourite place - a china shop.
John Cena made his name as the family-friendly face of World Wrestling Entertainment, and is perfectly cast as the lead, while there are enjoyable comic turns from David Tennant as another of Ferdinand's friends, a Scottish bull named Angus, and Kate McKinnon as Lupe, a hyperactive goat who takes it upon herself to coach him until he's ready for the ring.
Ferdinand is an overwhelmingly good-natured film, and as a result, the inevitable moral message aimed at a young audience doesn't feel too preachy.
Ultimately, this is not an animation that will have critics raving - but is an enjoyable experience for all the family, and certainly a movie younger children will enjoy.