The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan ★★★★

*** I SAW IT ON DISNEY+ ***

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Another tender and touching family-friendly feature from Disney.
They really know how to do 'em there.

The story is heartfelt and - although predictable - it's a delightful journey filled with great voice acting throughout. Sam Rockwell is particularly great as Ivan the gorilla. He gives such nuance and depth to the role and the Disney animation of life through the eyes of the gorilla is amazing.

The other voices are great as well: Danny DeVito as Bob the mutt is great as the comic relief and a bit of a Jiminy Cricket conscience for Ivan. Young Brooklynn Prince is adorable as the young elephant Ruby. She was great in "The Florida Project" and gives another great performance here, even though it's just a vocal one.

Bryan Cranston is one of the human performers and is very likeable as well as kid actor Ariana Greenblatt, who is also very good in her part. Along with Ramon Rodriguez, these three do a great job of grounding the movie in "live action" surrounded by a lot of CGI animals.

Speaking of which... the animation is just getting better and better these days. Extremely realistic animals, both in look and movement. This really sells the entire piece as they are easy to believe - even when talking to each other. Because the animation is so solid, it makes the whole thing believable and fun to watch.

I can see people being a bit cynical about the story, but even though it's not the real life story (just based on it), it tells a loving tale about animals trying to care for one another. Yes, in real life, it was kind of sad for the gorilla... but ultimately he WAS saved from death by poachers and he DID end up with a happy ending. So, I'm okay with Disney focusing on the good parts of stuff with the captivity part in the movie being the "villain" to some degree which must be overcome.

People need to lighten up when watching a family film. It's a fun movie to enjoy and that does give the viewer some lessons about animals being saved and brought into captivity and does so in a positive way - maybe not in the way that some people want, but those people can go make their own movie if they'd like. Personally, I love the way Disney did told it.

Yeah, I like this one a lot.