Disney’s The One and Only Ivan is a tale of seeking life’s true purpose through the eyes of an 800-pound silverback gorilla. Adapted from Katherine Applegate’s award-winning book, the film makes it’s way to Disney+ this Friday. Director Thea Sharrock and writer Mike White have managed to capture the essence of Applegate’s work without sacrificing the message and, most importantly, the narrative’s heartfelt nature. A film like this could easily be forgotten if Disney stuck with the original theatrical release plans. Placing this film on Disney+ streaming platform gives it a broad audience to appreciate its message. Releases like this one finding a home with Disney+ might be a sign of things to come.
The premise is based on a 400-pound gorilla named Ivan and the communal habitat they share with other animals. Ivan doesn’t have many memories of being free, but a promise made to a friend stirs those feelings from within. A promise made to Ruby ( a baby elephant voiced by Brooklynn Prince) motivates him to act on those feelings. Bryan Cranston also stars in the film as the owner of the show Ivan and Ruby perform in.
While there’s not much to the film, it doesn’t take away from the sweet and loving nature of The One and Only Ivan. With a powerful message for kids and fun moments the whole family will chuckle at, Sharrock’s film is the perfect family night entertainment. It’s not much, but it certainly fits right in with Disney’s target demo.