“Ferdinand” (Fox)

The animated character Ferdinand appears in the movie "Ferdinand." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I, general patronage. (CNS/Blue Sky Studios)

By Catholic News Service

Good values help to redeem a somewhat padded plot in this animated adaptation of Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s 1936 children’s classic “The Story of Ferdinand,” directed by Carlos Saldanha.

Escaping the confines of the stable in which he and other bulls are prepared for their fateful confrontation with a matador, the peace-loving protagonist of the title (voice of John Cena), who prefers smelling flowers to locking horns, is adopted as a pet by an affectionate and growing girl (voices of Julia Saldanha and Lily Day). But a misunderstanding sets him back on the path to the bullring where his commitment to nonviolence will be put to the ultimate test.

Lively secondary characters (the most prominent voiced by Kate McKinnon) and charming pastoral landscapes surround a theme that all those who base their ethics on the Gospel, and parents in particular, will find congenial.

Scenes of peril, some mildly irreverent humor, a vague scatological reference, one slightly crass expression. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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