Movie Review: “The One and Only Ivan”


Although there aren’t new movies in the box office right now, you can still enjoy this new release from the comfort of your own home on Disney Plus. “The One and Only Ivan,” released on Disney Plus on August 21, tells the story of a 400-pound silverback gorilla who calls a circus-like attraction in a Washington state suburban shopping mall home, along with several other endearing animals such as Bob the dog, Stella the elephant, and more. 

Based on a true story, “The One and Only Ivan” retells the life of real silverback gorilla Ivan, who was rescued from poachers in Africa and taken to America. It was there that he eventually ended up as part of the mall’s entertainment. The captivating adventure uses a combination of CGI and live-action to bring to life the unique story of Ivan, which was originally told in the best-selling book by Katherine Applegate. It was adapted by screenwriter Mike White to fit the big screen.

“The One and Only Ivan” features the voices of several well known actors, including Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, and Danny DeVito, who play the quirky creatures you come to love by the end of the movie. The animals quickly become each other’s community within their odd mall residence. As you get to know the animals, you also meet a young girl, Julia, whose father works at the mall and who befriends the animals. She gives Ivan crayons and shows him how to draw, which sparks Ivan’s creativity. Amidst a spontaneous venture outside of the mall, unlikely pairings of furry friends, and a grand finger-painting finale, Ivan’s journey to explore his longing for personal expression, freedom, and friendship unfolds on the screen.

The feel-good Disney Plus original is an homage to true friendship regardless of appearances and to finding your way back home. Though simple in its themes and dialogue, “The One and Only Ivan” paints a charming picture of the true story of Ivan’s life through its sentimental moments and its playful ones. Check out this silverback on the silver screen now for a lighthearted and comical night of entertainment at home.

To read more about Ivan’s true story, click here


The One and Only Ivan gallery

The Real Ivan from The One and Only Ivan

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Chloe is a junior Business Marketing major graduating in May 2022. She started as an intern at Maroon Weekly to pursue her passion for telling stories, and is now a staff writer. Some of her favorite things to do include taking weekend trips with her friends, creating a new Spotify playlist, and making the perfect chai latte. Right now she is probably studying at the Junction Cafe, riding her bike, or finding an excuse to wear her cowboy hat wherever she's going.


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