When I saw the announcement for this movie, I was excited to see how it would turn out. I had read the book when I was younger and wondered how they would adapt that story to film. I liked how Blue Sky turned Horton Hears a Who into an animated movie and was hoping for the same to happen here.
The movie starts out off-putting. None of the voice actors hit the mark in believability. I don't believe what they are saying and I don't believe that the voices I hear are coming from the characters on screen. This annoyance becomes less of a problem after the first 15 minutes where the movie transitions to the one that you see in the trailer. But a different kind of problem becomes apparent, Blue Sky spent no money on actual voice talent. Everyone didn't sound that good other than Ferdinand himself. It was a really poor showing for everyone involved. The voices were not convincing enough to buy into the movie.
This fact isn't helped by really weird story beats and super weird lines. First, the story beats seem mishmash together. Its a typical movie about defying expectations, but with some plot devices that you usually don't see, or wouldn't expect to see in this movie. For instance, there is a dance-off between some bulls and some horses, which I was not expecting to see. This is followed up by the weird lines. For instance, the horses use an off-putting incest joke and more cringe-worthy lines for the whole cast to share. It feels like someone from the early 2000's and someone trying to figure out what is "cool with the kids these days", come together to write this movie. With an overuse of the word "stoked" and dabbing being some of the most egregious examples.
There is a kind of weird silver lining to this weird movie and that is the animation. The visual gags are fun for the most part and would work as a short animation. It seems like there are some really great small chunks of the movie that would be fun on their own. Most of these great scenes are with no voice at all. But it was not enough to save the movie.
I would recommend waiting for this movie to come out on a streaming service, or renting it. It feels like a movie you would put on in the background of a daycare center where not all the kids would watch it.