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21 August 2020 22:31

Iran Coup d'état The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan review: Disney Plus movie is corny but super sweet

If you're looking for something new to watch on your Disney+ subscription service, look no further than the latest family-fun movie to enter the House of Mouse vault, The One and Only Ivan. Featuring a star-studded cast of Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston and Sam Rockwell (as the titular Ivan), The One and Only Ivan is another one of those Disney live-action/CGI feel-good movies to enjoy as we wait for cinemas to open. Based on Katherine Applegate's bestselling book of the same name, Ivan was originally scheduled to release to cinemas as part of a general release some time over the summer, but the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has led Disney to bring it as an exclusive release to their streaming service. Unfortunately, Disney stopped their seven-day free trial back in June, so you can't get a week's free watching, but Disney+ is still cheaper than the other streaming services like Netflix, NOW TV, and Amazon Prime, so well worth considering if you're on the hunt for movies for the family. This is a unique story adaptation about a 400-pound silver-back gorilla called Ivan, who works as an *ahem* 'entertainer' at a circus in an American shopping mall.

We have already mentioned Sam Rockwell is voicing Ivan, but there's also Angelina Jolie voicing Stella, an elderly elephant; Danny DeVito as Bob, a stray dog and Ivan's circus roommate; and Helen Mirren as Snickers, a fluffy white poodle who joins in on the circus acts. The One and Only Ivan is available to watch on Disney+ now. It's sometime in the Nineties and Ivan the gorilla (voiced by Sam Rockwell) lives in a shopping centre, where he's the main attraction in a circus that's seen better days. In hopes of drumming up business, owner/MC Mack (Bryan Cranston) buys a baby elephant, Ruby (Brooklynn Prince). At one point early in Disney Plus' new family fantasy movie The One and Only Ivan, captive gorilla Ivan (a realistic CGI creation voiced by Sam Rockwell) and senior elephant Stella (Angelina Jolie) gaze up at the sky they can make out through the small window in their concrete enclosure, and talk about how pretty the moon looks, and how great sunlight feels.

Then Ivan confides that he thinks it's his fault that their mall-circus attraction has dwindled in popularity. As the headliner of the attraction, Ivan once commanded audiences' attention, so now that the show isn't as busy, he feels he's not being as fearsome as the humans want him to be — and he questions why they expect that of him in the first place. It's a soft, emotional moment that speaks to the pain of captivity, without devolving into clichés like having the animals gaze fondly at pictures of the wild, or dream about running free. In fact, Ivan can't even really remember what his past before living with humans was like, but he definitely isn't content with his present. Though the plot beats of The One and Only Ivan are predictable, given that it's a story about sad caged animals, there's enough genuine emotion threaded through the formulaic story to make the movie enjoyable, surpassing some otherwise cheesy moments.

Directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You), The One and Only Ivan is a family film based on the children's book of the same name by Animorphs author K.A. Applegate, who in turn was inspired by the real-life story of a mall gorilla (also named Ivan). Ivan the movie follows Ivan the gorilla and the rest of the animals in a struggling mall circus owned by the well-intentioned Mack (Bryan Cranston). While Mack tries to move the circus back to a financially viable footing again by introducing a baby elephant named Ruby (Brooklynn Prince), the animals dream of finding some nebulous satisfaction in their lives, which through the course of the movie ends up concretely shifting toward dreams of freedom in the wild. It's basically a given that the animals in The One and Only Ivan, who are not only in a circus, but in a rundown mall, will end up in a habitat that isn't a cramped, concrete room. To the movie's credit, Sharrock gives this issue more nuance than, "People who put animals in cages are bad, and animals should always be in the wild." Mack cares for his animals, and though his weaker moments depict him as a bit heartless when it comes to pushing baby elephant Ruby too far, it is clear that he's just concerned that the circus will shut down, he'll have to lay off his loyal workers, and he won't be able to care for the animals.

The girl exists to hand Ivan art supplies and inspire him to draw, so giving her a tragic backstory just seems like extra non-nutritional story calories. wild issue, as Bob and fancy poodle Snickers (Helen Mirren), both domesticated animals, take different stances, acknowledging that how they feel about living with humans doesn't extend to their wild friends. Aside from the dogs and the elephants Stella and Ruby, however, other animal characters — like a parrot voiced by Phillipa Soo, and a white bunny voiced by Ron Funches — are only there for quick one-liners and their actors' names on the billing. The One and Only Ivan includes a lot of extra fluff — characters, backstories, one-line zingers, and more — in that the movie could do without, but there are also enough earnest emotional moments to save it. Making her voice acting debut in The One and Only Ivan, however, is Phillipa Soo, who first broke out in 2012 on NBC's short-lived tribute to Broadway, Smash, and rose greatly in popularity a few years later with the Broadway production of Hamilton, in which she originated the role of Eliza Hamilton.

In the Disney movie, she plays a parrot named Thelma, but we can more than likely assume that, given her Tony Award nomination for Lin-Manuel Miranda's aforementioned musical, she probably speaks in a more soothing manner than squawking sort of way that the tropical bird is often known for. Disney's The One and Only Ivan is now delighting audiences around the world on Disney+ and fans can take the spirit of the movie wherever they go with the release of the Original Soundtrack from Walt Disney Records. The film does have some somber moments, which are demonstrated through a few sad themes on tracks like "Ivan and Stella." There are also moments of excitement and adventure, as demonstrated on "Mack Trains Ruby." Overall, the soundtrack strikes an uplifting and inspiring tone and my favorite score track from the film is called "Ivan's Memories," which demonstrates the lead character's musical theme. The One and Only Ivan Original Soundtrack takes the magic of the music from the film wherever you go. Craig Armstrong's beautiful score is inspiring and uplifting, the perfect soundtrack to get you through your day.