The One and Only Ivan was released on Disney+ this weekend and it was a must-see for my family. Between the cast, the storyline, and the graphics, it’s a film that you must see, too. From the storyline to other Disney movies it reminds me of, here’s my The One and Only Ivan review.
Disclosure: This review contains spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Table of Contents
The One and Only Ivan Review: Storyline
Before I can truly get into my review, I have to give you the scoop on the storyline. Based on a true story, and real silverback gorilla named Ivan, it follows Ivan during a period of his life when he’s feeling unsure about his role in a small mall circus.
And when the most adorable baby elephant, Ruby, comes to live with the rest of the circus animals, Ivan’s role as headliner gets put on the back burner. So, between his newfound need for more and his new status in the circus, he doesn’t realize he longs for his life as a baby gorilla in the wild until tragedy strikes.
Trust me, there’s so much more to the movie, but I’m trying to not give everything away. The main theme of film, in my opinion, is to trust that kindness will always be there when you need it most.
The One and Only Ivan Cast
The cast for The One and Only Ivan is massive:
- Sam Rockwell as the voice of Ivan
- Angelina Jolie as the voice of Stella
- Danny DeVito as the voice of Bob the dog
- Helen Mirren as the voice of Snickers the poodle
- Brooklynn Prince as the voice of Ruby
- Ramon Rodriquez as the mall employee George
- Ariana Greenblatt as George’s daughter Julia
- Chaka Khan as the voice of Henrietta the chicken
- Mike White as the voice of Frankie the seal
- Ron Funches as the voice of Murphy the rabbit
- Phillipa Soo as the voice of Thelma the parrot
- Bryan Cranston as Mack, the mall’s owner
Yeah, amazing cast. Their voices completely drew me in. And even though there are some VERY famous actors (and their voices) in the film, it’s not distracting. Angelina’s voice is soft and emotive, Danny’s calm with a perfect hint or snark, and Sam’s is one of those voices where you know you know it but can’t place it. Helen Mirren needs zero explanation. She could recite the alphabet and I’d be leaning in to hear every syllable.
As for the “humans” in the movie, they play off each other beautifully. I mean, I knew what a great actor Bryan Cranston was but his portrayal of a hurting-for-money-yet-still-kind circus owner has so many levels it kept me guessing.
The One and Only Ivan and its Similarities to Other Movies
When I was watching it, I started to notice a few similarities of other Disney movies:
Toy Story – Just like Woody, Ivan has to come to terms with a shiny new toy (in his case, a new baby elephant) and overcome his jealousy.
Dumbo – Dumbo is a sad, bay elephant. Ditto for Ruby, the sad baby elephant in this movie.
Not a Disney movie, but worth mentioning:
Charlotte’s Web – Ivan channels an inner talent to draw guests to the circus much like Charlotte spins webs with phrases to draw attention to Wilbur.
The One and Only Ivan Review: Computer Graphics
While the humans and background scenes are real, it’s the computer-generated animals in the film that are the standouts. You can see individual hairs on Ivan and Bob the dog, the eyes look amazingly lifelike, and even the movements are fascinating.
Truthfully, I forgot that the animals were CG and not living, breathing creatures. Additionally, the graphics are alone worth watching the movie for.
Social Media for The One and Only Ivan
Following The Only and Only Ivan on social media is easy and fun, especially if you like getting links to behind the scenes content: