Based on the beloved children’s novel — and true story, The One and Only Ivan follows a headlining circus gorilla, named Ivan (Sam Rockwell) who decides to hatch a plan to escape his circus captivity.
The One and Only Ivan is everything you’d expect from a live-action Disney movie.
The film boasts a top-notch cast, including Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Danny DeVito and a very charismatic, Bryan Cranston. It has childlike humor, touching moments and eye-popping visuals. Hell, the film was even shot in 40 minutes from Walt Disney World (I couldn’t help but giggle when Angelina Jolie’s character referenced a large forest area nearby where animal and man made amends. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, perhaps?)
But it still manages to work its way into your heart even though you know exactly what will happen. Let’s get this right. The One and Only Ivan is no Dumbo or Homeward Bound. It’s not going to send you into a crying frenzy (although it may make you tear up).
However, it packs a heartfelt message that does pull at the heart strings – especially if you are an animal lover, like myself. The film relishes in its message that animals should not be caged, but should be able to roam free. It’s just enough to spark a discussion with your younger ones.
And just like the film says, “not all humans are bad. Humans can surprise you.”
Final Thoughts: The One and Only Ivan isn’t the greatest show on earth, but it sure is one of the sweetest.