ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

'The One and Only Ivan' Review: The Gorilla With a Heart of Gold

Updated on August 26, 2020

'The One and Only Ivan'

'The One and Only Ivan' is the newest release on Disney+ that brings a lot of heart to a not so original story.

Based on the novel of the same name, written by K.A. Applegate and inspired by a true story. The film revolves around a circus inside a rinky-dink mall. While it looks like a bland experience from the outside, the extravagant show lies within. The show itself is not where the experience is hidden, but with the animals.

Sam Rockwell is the voice behind the silverback gorilla, Ivan, accompanied by Danny DeVito as a homeless dog and Angelina Jolie as an aging elephant.

While a ferocious beast on stage, Ivan is an artistic gorilla with a heart of gold behind the curtains. Show business is all Ivan has known his whole life. Taken from the wild and raised by Mack (Bryan Cranston). After growing too big for a house, Mack opens the circus inside the mall.

Ivan is questioning his self worth as the show is slowly losing the interest of people. He wants to help Mack, as he is his father and is not ready to lose him. All this turns around when Mack brings in the baby elephant, Ruby, to save the show.

From here Ivan vows to escape captivity with Ruby so she doesn't have to grow up in a cage as he did.

What really worked for me in this film is the heart.

'The One and Only Ivan' is directed by Thea Sharrock, who previously directed 'Me Before You'. It is no surprise that this film had those emotional moments. 'Me Before You' is one of those films I have only watched once because I won't admit that I cried like a baby at the end.

Sharrock has a knack for creating emotional moments around the characters that tug on the heartstrings.

There are several characters who have a lot to offer to the emotional weight of the movie.

Bryan Cranston is the "evil man" keeping the animals locked up. However, he is not really a bad guy. He just loves his job and the animals that he doesn't want them to go. Even if he doesn't do it in the right way.

Bob (DeVito) is a dog with no identity. However, he is the best friend of Ivan and loves being around the animals of the circus.

We see all the interactions between these animals and how they help each on this journey. But the relationship between Ivan and Ruby is where the story really takes off.

Ivan is an aged gorilla and Ruby is a baby elephant. They are in different stages of life and Ivan's reluctant desire to help Ruby escape as he rediscovers his past is what drives this story forward.

I had no prior knowledge of Ivan before watching the film. Though the film depicts the animal's sadness to a tee. There is a small window in the ceiling in which the animals look through.

It says in the credits that Ivan did not go outside for 27 years... 27. That is a sad life for an animal to live with no habitation and to be locked in a cold cage.

'The One and Only Ivan' is exactly what I expected from a Disney movie- nothing more, nothing less. It has a lesson learned and a lot of heart even if we've seen it before.

I related to Ivan through his paintings. He uses this as his escape from his life the same way as I do with films. In this aspect, I connected to this film.

It is short enough to sit down and watch without getting bored halfway through. It is straight to the point and delivers on what it wants to deliver on.

Now I don't see 'The One and Only Ivan' becoming a Disney classic one day. However, it has beautiful visuals and incredible CGI with just enough Disney charm to make it an enjoyable watch.

It is what it is.

It is exactly what I have come to expect from Disney. A film that will deliver a story with heart and charm while bringing back nostalgic memories of watching Disney movies as a kid.

'The One and Only Ivan' Trailer

4 stars for 'The One and Only Ivan'

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)