Ferdinand is a new animated film from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation that comes out on December 15th. It’s based on the 1936 book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. The film is star-studded with John Cena as Ferdinand, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriguez, Peyton Manning, and Gabriel Iglesias. Maybe you’ve heard about the movie, but the book it was based on sparked international controversy. Here’s why.
Leaf is said to have written The Story of Ferdinand on a whim. He ended up writing a book that was wonderfully received by some and banned by others. Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler banned the book. Hitler ordered it to be burned and cited it as “degenerate democratic propaganda.” On the other hand, the book was a favorite of Gandhi, H. G. Wells, and both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. I think we know who had the right idea.
The original story is about Ferdinand the bull, who enjoys sniffing flowers while all of the other bulls are out fighting. One day, men show up to choose a bull who will fight in the ring in Madrid, looking for the fiercest bull around. Ferdinand is the strongest and largest of the bulls. When he gets stung by a bee, he inadvertently displays his ferocity, which prompts him to be thrown into the arena in Madrid. However, when he gets to Madrid, he is distracted by the flowers in the arena and does not fight. Because he disappointed the men, he is sent back home where he sniffs the flowers for the rest of his life.
Now, the Blue Sky film has taken a bit of creative license and changed things around. Not to worry, though, because the film will still have its theme of staying true to oneself at its heart. The book has been adapted once before as a Disney animated short in 1938, which won an Academy Award. Hopefully the Blue Sky adaptation does just as well!
Feature Image Via Los Angeles Times