Streaming now on Disney+Hotstar
Based on a children’s book by Katherine Alice Applegate, what makes The One And Only Ivan special is the fact that it’s inspired by true events. The story revolves around a silverback gorilla named Ivan (Sam Rockwell) who is raised by Mack (Bryan Cranston) as if he were his son. Since he couldn’t be kept at home, he now lives in a cage at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade center. Ivan is the main attraction at Mack’s circus along with an aging elephant named Stella (Angelina Jolie) and the stray dog Bob (Danny DeVito) who also happens to be his best friend. Things take a turn when the baby elephant Ruby (Brooklynn Prince) is brought in to join the gang. Stella takes the scared elephant under her trunk and soon, Ivan starts to care for Ruby. When things take an unexpected turn, the janitor’s young daughter Julia (Ariana Greenblatt) helps the animals in her own way.
A predictable but sweet story
The plot is as predictable as it gets but it’s still an adorable film that makes every effort to tug on all your emotions and make you feel all mushy. The friendship between Ivan the gorilla and Bob the stray dog who doesn’t belong with the circus is fun to watch especially since Ivan is a serious and mature guy whereas Bob is super chill and lives life on his terms.
Live-action with CGI seems to be Disney’s new thing
Disney has been on a roll with either turning their old classics into live-action films or making new ones in them. All the animals in The One And Only Ivan are voiced brilliantly. Angelina Jolie who plays the aging elephant Stella is the wise one with a calm tone you can’t help but love. On the other hand, we have Danny DeVito who aces voicing Bob. No surprise there! The other animals who are part of the circus are a baseball-playing chicken (Chaka Khan), Snickers the posh poodle (Helen Mirren), Murphy (Ron Funches) the rabbit who drives a fire truck, Frankie (Mike White) the neurotic seal, and Thelma (Phillipa Soo) the parrot who does what a parrot does best – imitate.
The theme of animal captivity is touched upon from the lens of an animal. We see how an animal would feel like in a cage rather than being free in its natural setting. Disney also encroached on the topic of animal poaching with a scene that reveals Ivan’s history.
WATCH OR NOT:
The One And Only Ivan is a sweet film that makes for a nice one-time watch. It’s definitely a kid-friendly film that even adults can enjoy. While this is no Bambi or Dumbo, it’s worth the watch with your little ones.
Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar