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The One and Only Ivan (2020)

The One and Only Ivan (2020)


Bryan Cranston
Ramón Rodríguez
Ariana Greenblatt

Sam Rockwell
Angelina Jolie
Danny DeVito
Helen Mirren

Directed by Thea Sharrock

The one and only Ivan is a heartwarming story that tries and succeeds in not making the movie too complex for younger viewers. There is no daring escape, no violence, just sad tales of animals wanting to be free. The movie has many dark themes, all kept under the guise of family fun for the young ones.
Seeing it as an adult and watching it with the knowledge of who the movie is aimed at, I can say the writers did a good job of masking the dark tones of animal captivity, divorce, death and loneliness. The masked it so gently and well enough that you do not have to worry about your children seeing this and asking too many questions.
Making a little girl who has a little role to play in the movie the seemingly unlikely animal whisperer and hero is also a good make-up for the movie’s dark tones.

The movie is based on an award winning children's book written in 2012 of the same name by K. A. Applegate. The book and movie’s theme of Ivan the silverback gorilla moving from captivity to a free range zoo true, but everything in between is fantasy.

The movie’s plot centers around Ivan, who is the headliner of a show at a mall. Ivan is not the only animal there who performs, there is a rabbit, parrot, chicken, poodle, seal and the wise old elephant named Stella. To attract more customers to the show, the owner of the circus act Mack (Bryan Cranston) bought a baby elephant, named Ruby.
Ruby was cared for by Stella and she became the new main attraction. Ivan was not a forgotten case and this movie did not delve into a jealousy plot between the two. Soon situations in the circus got better, but the animals wanted more. Stella and Ivan wanted better for Ruby than their lives of living in captivity.

Acting wise the movie has Bryan Cranston leading the live action role so there was no short-shortsightedness there. The actors along with the puppet and effects were smooth so for me there is no downside there. The negativity of the movie can be seen from the fact that there is no action, just a nice tale, which many may not find interesting enough. For me the movie is for young viewers so that criticism of the movie did not matter much.

In the end I felt pleased to have seen the movie and if you are not down for a gentle tale for children then this movie is not for you, trust me. You can catch the movie on Disney+.


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