Tag Archive: Kate McKinnon

Review by C.J. Bunce

A fantastic animated movie is heading to theaters this week that your family is not going to want to miss, and (assuming you’re already planning to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi) if you see only two movies over the holidays you’ll want to make sure this is one of them.  Once referred to as the greatest children’s book since Winnie the Pooh, the 1936 internationally successful The Story of Ferdinand has finally been adapted into a full-length animated film.  It is the real deal–a classic animated movie in the tradition of Pinocchio, Bambi, Snow White, The Jungle Book, Tarzan, and Beauty and the Beast, possibly the best film in decades to merit inclusion among these cinema greats, with a level of animation that may have you thinking of the Aardman stop-action films because of its quality 3D animation.  The 32-page original story written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson has been expanded into a larger story with new characters like many popular children’s books–think Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Polar Express, and The Night at the Museum–remaining completely loyal to the original story.

Ferdinand tells the story of a rural Spanish bull (voiced by actor/WWE wrestler John Cena) who is not interested in growing up like other bulls to fight a matador in the giant arena in Madrid.  He leaves his farm and is adopted by a man and his daughter, where he spends his days smelling (and caring for) flowers on the hillside.  He eventually grows to be a giant bull, larger than any bull around, and a mishap bee sting lands Ferdinand back at the farm with the bulls he grew up with.  They, too, have grown up: Valiente, a stubborn, angry bull (voiced by Ant-Man’s Bobby Cannavale), a small bull named Bones (voiced by Law and Order’s Anthony Anderson), Guapo, a show-off bull (voiced by NFL football player Peyton Manning), an engineered super bull named Machina, and a Scottish Highlander named Angus (voiced by Doctor Who’s David Tennant).  Law and Order’s Jeremy Sisto provides the voice of Ferdinand’s father and Jerrod Carmichael (Transformer: The Last Knight) is the voice of the dog, Paco.  Soon an ambitious goat (voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon) befriends Ferdinand as Ferdinand learns what it means to be seen by everyone as a “monstrous” bull again.

Ferdinand has it all, at its core a story about an individual who stays true to himself, beautiful scenery, some fun and familiar voice actors, a complex villain, an outstanding musical score with great songs, and powerful themes.  Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, who directed the Ice Age films and Rio, demonstrates his mastery of cutting edge animation, with a screenplay that creates several subplots that all get nicely tied up by film’s end.  The soundtrack includes songs from Smash Mouth, Green Day, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, and many more.  Prolific composer John Powell (The Italian Job, Shrek, The Bourne Identity, Paycheck, X-Men: The Last Stand, and next year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story) offers up a musical score that includes all you’d hope for in a Spanish story, incorporating a variety of styles and instrumentation.

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This year one of the world’s best children’s books will come to life as author Munro Leaf and artist Robert Lawson’s 1936 book The Story of Ferdinand is adapted for the big screen as Blue Sky Studios’ Ferdinand.  Life magazine once called Ferdinand, “the greatest juvenile classic since Winnie the Pooh”.  The Story of Ferdinand even outsold Gone With the Wind to be 1938’s number one bestseller.

Ferdinand is a bull in rural Spain, a pacifist who only wishes to enjoy the idyllic life and smell the flowers in the pasture.  But he is thrust into the world of bullfighting because he is seen as an enormous, fierce creature.

John Cena (Psych, Parks and Recreation) stars as the voice of Ferdinand, with co-stars Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters 2016), David Tennant (Doctor Who), and Anthony Anderson (Law and Order).  So far we’ve seen nothing but great films from Blue Sky Studios, like Titan A.E., the Ice Age series, Rio, and The Peanuts Movie.  These are the same guys that created computer animation for Alien: Resurrection and Star Trek: Insurrection.

Check out this fun trailer for Ferdinand:

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Ghostbusters poster

So here it is.  Maybe not the sequel fans of the classic all hoped for, but with the passing of the great Harold Ramis any sequel with the original team in their original roles was out the window.  Much has been written about this reboot, and many questions.  Is it just a redux with women instead of men, complete with a nerdy glasses-wearing team member, a street smart African American fourth team member, and a hearse as the Ecto-1?  Is there anything new that Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and current Saturday Night Live regulars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones have to show us about this story?

Maybe it’s not going to be a movie for the loyalists to the original.  But for fans of these comediennes it’s not going to matter.  These actresses are putting on the proton packs, and they’re going to get slimed and have fun along the way, like all the actors who have donned costumes in recent reboots like JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Wars.  This new Ghostbusters will be no different than those attempts to blend the past and present.

original Ghostbusters costumes and props

Screen-used costumes and proton pack prop from the new film.

In the first full trailer from the studio, Melissa McCarthy looks like she’s going to steal the show.  She always has that laugh-out-loud humor that leaves everyone rolling.  For those loyalists, look for cameos in roles different than their originals for Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, and Ernie Hudson.  Rick Moranis took a pass on participating in this new venture.

Check out this new trailer for Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures:

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New Ghostbusters

Ready or not, a new Ghostbusters is coming your way.

And we have our first look tonight at four one-sheet posters for next summer’s release.

Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones have the title roles.

1271033 - THE WALK     1271033 - THE WALK

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