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Ferdinand (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

This past holiday season, Jumanji and The Greatest Showman showed that even with a Star Wars movie around, there was still winter money to be made at the box office. Hoping to be like the film Sing! the year before, an animated movie that thrived alongside a Star Wars, Ferdinand released to some solid reviews. The film mad some okay money and did well worldwide, but didn’t really launch like I’m sure its creators and respective studio would have liked. But, it’ll now have its chance to thrive in the home video world. The animated film features the voices of people from all over the map like John Cena, Kate McKinnon and Peyton Manning. The film is currently available on all formats and you can order yourself a copy from the link following the review.

Film 

Ferdinand is a young bull who escapes from a training camp in rural Spain after his father never returns from a showdown with a matador. Adopted by a girl who lives on a farm, Ferdinand’s peaceful existence comes crashing down when the authorities return him to his former captors. With help from a wisecracking goat and three hedgehogs, the giant but gentle bovine must find a way to break free before he squares off against El Primero, the famous bullfighter who never loses.

Ferdinand is a sweet animated film that takes on the vicious and traditional world of bullfighting. Its also pretty deep in its notations of what it means for a bull in its life when its raised for nothing but. There are some dark and deep moments when there is contemplation of no end in sight but death or showing what happens to a useless or bull that is done for (A sequence in a slaughterhouse basically). No, the film isn’t some big downer for children to watch, but as an adult you can see through the seams no problem.

The film is definitely brought to life and made fun by and endearing by way of its cast of actors vocalizing the animated animals. John Cena leads the way, and is actually very impressive in taking this lead. I’ve consistently been impressed with his presence and what he can bring to films lately and he really does quite a terrific job in bringing Ferdinand to life. Kate McKinnon is her usual fun self as the wild and weird sidekick in the film and no matter your thoughts on the overall movie, she’ll get you to chuckle at some point. And kudos to Peyton Manning for doing a solid job and not sounding like a stereotypical athlete filling in a role (Which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen a commercial or two).

Ferdinand is a decent little animated excursion that has some commentary on the brutality of bullfight (And probably meat eating as well), but mostly keeps it well below the surface as to have fun with wild silly animals to entertain the children. No its not Pixar or Disney, but its just fine as it is. It will probably be a forgotten memory of a kids films, but for now its something fun and something new for kids.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Ferdinand was finished at a 2K DI and is a 4K upscale when it comes to this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release. It’s a decent improvement over the standard Blu-ray, with more details apparent and just an overall crisper image. In terms of an animated film in the 4K world, its merely very solid and above average. It doesn’t really burst out like a few have tended to, but this one is an improvement.

Depth: Since this is computer animated film, it easily lends itself to a three dimensional look with good spacing. Movement is improved over its Blu-ray counterpart with more clarity to them.

Black Levels: Blacks are dark and natural. Details still hold on in dark areas. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: There’s a very nice color palette on display here for Ferdinand. It appears pretty vivid and well lit, but nothing really pops. Its hard to see where some of the stingy HDR really is used.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Castellano 5.1 DTS, Danish 5.1 DTS, Dutch 5.1 DTS, Finnish 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Norwegian 5.1 DTS, Swedish 5.1 DTS, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Flemish 5.1 DTS, Chinese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Chinese, Thai

Dynamics: Ferdinand comes with a rock solid Dolby Atmos track. You’ll need to turn it up just a hair from its default setting. From there the sound does hit good and display some good intricacies. Its a pretty active one and gets the action moments to good degrees of fun effectiveness.

Height: The ceiling speakers aren’t at their most active but do have good contributions like extra crowd noise in the theater and such.

Low Frequency Extension: Music hits, doors crashing, feet stomp and lots of impact rumble your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: The room is swimming in sound with this track. Travel is accurately and eventfully moved around the room. Rear and side speakers have good contributions in a pretty well aware environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are loud, crisp and clear.

Extras 

Ferdinand comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film.  Special features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Ferdinand’s Guide to Healthy Living with John Cena (HD, 3:09) – Some words of wisdom and keys to a healthy lifestyle from the voice of Ferdinand.

A Goat’s Guide to Life (HD, 3:08) – Lupe the goat gives 10 life tips while clips from the film play over it.

Ferdinand’s Team Supreme (HD, 3:45) – Ferdinand tells us about the other characters in the film while stills and clips from the film play.

Spain Through Ferdinand’s Eyes (HD, 1:50) – Ferdinand gives little history factoids on Spain while clips from the movie play.

Confessions of a Bull-loving Horse (HD, 3:22) – One of the horse characters in the film give a rundown of their experience in making the film.

Creating the Land of Ferdinand (HD, 5:49) – SUBSTANCE! Creators talk their crafting of the environments and cities of Ferdinand.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run (HD, 4:03) – The producers and creators go through one of the action sequences that is a reverse running of the bulls. Its actually got some good insight and cool storyboards, planning and execution material.

Learn to Dance with Ferdinand (HD, 7:46) – This shows the method behind how they animated and referenced dancers, getting insight to their choreography to bring many of the dance sequences to life.

Ferdinand’s Do-It-Yourself Flower Garden (HD, 6:49) – Lisa Ely, a garden educator, teaches us how to make our own flower garden.

“Home” Music Video (HD, 3:14) 

Creating a Remarka-Bull Song (HD, 3:51) – Accompanied by studio recording footage, Nick Jonas tells us how he came up with this song.

Art of Ferdinand Gallery (HD)

  • Concept Paintings 
  • Character Designs
  • Locations
  • Stills

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)

Summary 

Ferdinand is a solid little movie that really has its heart and everything in all the right places, it just can’t quite get to that level of where top tier animated films can get. And that’s just fine. Its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release features some terrific video and audio in the presentation and plenty of kid fluff for the extras. While this is the better presentation for sure, if you’re just getting it for the kids, the standard Blu-ray would probably suffice just fine if you want.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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