Starring Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren and Sam Rockwell, I was drawn to Disney’s partly-animated adventure/comedy The One and Only Ivan, because I knew that the ending was going to be a happy one. What I didn’t know until I saw the movie is that The One and Only Ivan is based on a true story.
Set in a circus at the mall, at the heart of the film is Ivan, a gorilla who’s trying to piece together his past as he and his elephant friend Stella plan to escape from captivity. Though director Thea Sharrock’s movie is quite predictable, I found that I didn’t mind too much. Especially since my main motivation for watching the film was to see a bunch of animals get their happy ending.
There’s no denying that a faster pace would have helped my enjoyment overall. And it did prove arduous watching the animals get excited about their initial plan to escape captivity. Particularly considering how clear it was to adult viewers just how dangerous an actual escape would be for the animals. Perhaps, since The One and Only Ivan is ultimately a movie for children, it may be that the futility of the initial escape plan wouldn’t be so obvious to a young audience, meaning those scenes wouldn’t prove as taxing as they did for me.
The good news is that even with the elements that bothered me, I’m glad I stuck with The One and Only Ivan, because of the happy ending I wanted.
As for the question of whether I’d call The One and Only Ivan a great Disney film. No. Yet it’s also not completely terrible. As such, if you’re curious enough, give it a chance. Just don’t leave your patience at the door – and remember, it is ultimately aimed at children.
Happy Film Loving