Ferdinand Review: When in Rome Do as Romans Do

Articles ، Exclusive Gamefa ، Reviews February 17, 2023, 4:51 pm

Ferdinand (2017) is an American comedy produced by Blue Sky Studios. it is loosely based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s 1936 children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, written by Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, and Brad Copeland, and directed by Carlos Saldanha.

This animation can entertain both young children and adults at the same time to pass their time and enjoy the animation with their families. What is significant about this animation is that it has a hidden meaning and layer in it which conveys a kind of special message to all people worldwide. It is the story of a calf that after his father’s death ran away from the place he was kept unlike bulls are supposed to be a fighter and bullies, he is soft and innocent and enjoys smelling flowers and also starts a friendship with a human- a girl- which is awkward for other animals and people. The first thing that is bolded in the animation is the character and behavior of Ferdinand which has been deconstructed and is against what society expects. He is a bull biologically but doesn’t behave like a bull. He is going to fight but he doesn’t. In several scenes, he is made to do something violent and harsh, but he presents soft behavior and tries to protect others. It is what makes him weird in this society.

As we see, we have the binary opposition of normal and abnormal. In a society or community in which fixed behaviors are accompanied by fixed labels, people or animals will be seen as normal and abnormal and will be put in these two categories. What defines normality or abnormality highly depends on the societal and cultural definition of that thing. If a person behaves according to society or cultural norms, s/he is expected, otherwise abnormal. According to this definition, Ferdinand is abnormal because he is nothing like his peers. All bulls and calves in the animal center have one common goal; fighting. Ferdinand thinks of having a happy life and enjoying a life where he loves flowers and cares about his friends. He is different for sure, even when one of the bulls in the zoo tells him he isn’t, he is. He behaves differently and has chosen his way, not to be like others and this is what has made him different.

Gender identity defines muscularity and femininity, so to be feminine or masculine requires practicing an array of rituals. Ferdinand doesn’t rely on his muscularity and doesn’t show off his body strength even when he can. What we see most in him is femininity which may have been bolded because of his friendship with Nina. His only friend is a girl, he dances with her and waters flowers or plays with her, they are features that make a bull queer because he’s not following social norms. It sounds strange to people so at the flower festival they take and send him back to his childhood home. He is queer and different from his friends too. He isn’t like them; he isn’t after what they are. He is after freedom and peace. Because other bulls have no idea of these things, they call him different and soft. However, his benign behavior impresses them later and he even wins the final fight with the mediator with his innocence and softness where people set him free. His queerness makes him see everything differently and encounter them with nice behavior as if because he has been treated badly and seen harsh behaviors, he doesn’t want it for others.

So, what we see in this character is the portrayal of a bull which is not like our presuppositions or previous experiences with bulls. It is trying to depict a deconstructed image of a bull that varies with the regular historical or cultural image of him and nothing is wrong with it. In the world of violent bulls, one can be a soft bull. As we see at the end of the animation, all bulls and the goat accompany him and accept this difference and violate what they got accustomed to. I guess the author of this work has tried his best to show the audience being different is ok. It isn’t necessary to do as Romans do when you are in Rome.

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