Home Video Picks & Passes 03.18.18

A Disney classic gets a thumbs-up.

(photo: Disney)

Ferdinand (2017) — PICK

Lady and the Tramp (1955) — PICK

Blue Sky Studios makes some good choices and some less good ones in their animated take on Ferdinand, the classic picture book about a huge but gentle bull who prefers smelling flowers to butting heads and doesn’t share his peers’ dreams of bullfighting in Madrid.

As they did with Horton Hears a Who!, the filmmakers add plenty of new plot complications and characters, notably a manic goat voiced by Kate McKinnon, all while trying to be faithful to the spirit of the famous climax and the gentle hero, earnestly voiced by John Cena.

A story of bulls aspiring to bullfighting is an ethical minefield, but Blue Sky resolves it well, thereby making Ferdinand a darker, more subversive tale — in a good way.

Less good: the prolonged chase sequences, a trio of smugly superior Teutonic horses and a couple of silly nun jokes. Unexpectedly great: the cleverly beefed-up showdown in the arena and a literal bull-in-a-china-shop sequence.

Back in a new Blu-ray/DVD/digital edition, Disney’s Lady and the Tramp also isn’t a masterpiece, but has one truly great sequence: the Bella Notte musical segment with the iconic spaghetti kiss.


Caveat Spectator: Ferdinand: Some animated bull-ying; very mild rude humor language. Lady and the Tramp: Mild scenes of peril; racial stereotyping (the siamese cats). Both fine family viewing.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy