With The One And Only Ivan, Disney does what it does best. A family-oriented movie with an emotional story and a lesson for kids: Wild animals do not belong in cages.
Recently nominated for an Academy Award, it is based on a book with the same name, which is also based on true events. Sadly, the film wraps a very dark theme in a heartwarming entertainment movie for younger viewers.
Ivan (voiced by Sam Rockwell) is a gorilla raised in captivity who ends up performing in a local mall circus. Since the circus is losing customers, Mack (Bryan Cranston) buys a new baby elephant, Ruby (Brooklynn Prince). To Ivan’s surprise, Ruby’s bedtime stories start helping him to piece together his past. Ivan remembers that he loves “The Wild”, so he decides to hatch a plan to escape from captivity with the rest of the animals.
To be frank, The One And Only Ivan is okay for families, but I don’t think there’s anything great or new here. Heartwarming, if a little obvious, it is an excellent family film fun from Disney. On the other hand, the movie may prove too melancholic for young kids, but the animals inspire awe. At the end, it’s very obvious that the movie draws winningly on Disney classics like Dumbo and Bambi.
Should you watch it?
The One and Only Ivan is a Disney movie beginning to end, for better or worse. It has plenty of emotional moments for both kids and adults to enjoy, even if its take on the story is only skin deep and ends up undermining its own emotional stakes.
Where can I watch it?
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, you can stream The One And Only Ivan exclusively on Disney Plus.