It’s Oscar week, people. Not the week of the Oscars, but the week the Oscar winners and nominees come home to us. All told, five Oscar nominees (including the best picture winner) are available for home entertainment. And, if you prefer bad movies, Justice League is also out. Choice!
Action packed week in The Screening Room. We run down the spoiler-free pros and cons of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water, Wonder Wheel and Ferdinand and have a look at what’s new in home entertainment.
I’m thrilled to announce that Ferdinand, the new animated feature from Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Rio), did not ruin my childhood.
The story of a peaceful if enormous bull who’d far rather sniff flowers than fight matadors was my favorite book as a little kid, but to stretch these 32 or so sentences into a 90-minute feature-length film, there would have to be padding.
I worried about the padding.
Credit a team of six screenwriters for finding—for the most part—organic ways to develop the story. We meet Ferdinand as a young bull being raised with a handful of other bulls specifically to fight in the ring. Then we follow him on his adventure to freedom from the ring and back into the sights of the matador.
That doesn’t mean the film never feels padded. It definitely does. But a slew of vocal talents including John Cena, Bobby Cannavale and Kate McKinnon helps to keep the film afloat.
Rarely laugh-out-loud funny, a bit bloated and a tad dark at times, Ferdinand still manages to entertain. It looks good, bears a social conscience and remains more or less true to the simple “be who you are” core that made Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s picture book so lovely.