Based on a children’s novel by Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan (film), directed by Thea Sharrock, is a story about a silverback gorilla who is the headliner of a mall-based circus, run by ringmaster Mack.
Ivan, along with his other animal friends, lives inside the mall in captivity, to entertain the audience at the circus. He is accompanied by a wise, old elephant Stella, a stray dog Bob, a baseball-playing chicken Henrietta, a firetruck-rider rabbit, and a glam poodle Snickers. Ivan finds his human inmate in Julia, daughter of a tent custodian in the circus. Through Julia, he discovers his hidden talent of art when she gives him her old crayons. To boost business, Mack adds a new member to this family, a baby elephant, Ruby. Due to Stella’s deteriorated health, Ruby had to perform per part alone.
Mack goes on a step forward in training Ruby to entertain the audience, by mistreating her. It was surely a difficult part to do after Mack was shown as a kind, decent guy who loves his animals. But he gave in to the natural human instinct to grow even if it is at the price of mistreating another species. This, however, does not go along well this Ivan.
Ivan, on account of his promise to dying Stella that he would take Ruby to a better place suited for animals, formulates a plan to free all the animals from captivity. The elements of trauma for Ruby, brought the movie to life, showing its true purpose. The movie is a mix of conveying the important message of animal rights and fun-filled children’s drama. Although it can be enjoyed by audiences of all age-groups.
Sam Rockwell, who gave his voice to Ivan has done a commendable job in bringing him to life. Angelina Jolie has given her beautiful and impactful voice to Stella. Mack has been performed by none other than Breaking Bad fame, Bryan Cranston. He has wonderfully portrayed the greedy instincts of a human, who thinks he can use the lower species for his own personal gain. Other characters who have given their voice to the animals are Danny DeVito as Bob, Chaka Khan as Henrietta, Dame Helen Mirren as Snickers, and Brooklynn Prince as Ruby.
The One and Only Ivan is inspired by a true story of a gorilla, Ivan who lived in a similar situation for 27 years before he was transferred to Zoo Atlanta in 1994. Don’t miss this innocently appealing film.
The One and Only Ivan (film) is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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