‘The One and Only Ivan’ doesn’t live up to his name

Between a derivative cast and a formulaic plot, ‘Ivan’ fails to stand out

Morgan Schmitt, staff writer

It has been a few years since Disney started on its campaign to include new causes and lifestyles and revamp the old classics to make them relevant to today’s generation.
In the process of remodeling its movies’ messages, it seems Disney has become redundant. It has taken a page from its own revamp story book and copied the latest iteration of “Dumbo.”
“The One and Only Ivan” is a charming movie about a gorilla and his circus friends. He belongs to a mall circus with elephants, seals, chickens and rabbits. Ivan is the headliner for this attraction and prides himself in being the breadwinner.
With the circus going under, the ringmaster buys a new animal: a baby elephant named Ruby.
Now, Ivan wants to see her freed.
He works hard to make humanity understand that animals need to be free in wide open spaces.
Upon getting his wish, he finds saying goodbye to his human friend the ringmaster is painful but necessary. He and Ruby make their way to a sanctuary to live out their lives with the other previously tamed animals.
This movie is based on the true story of a gorilla named Ivan who lived in the 1960s. He was saved from poachers and taken to the United States. The human family that took him in cared for Ivan and trained him to perform in the mall circus.
While in the circus Ivan learned to paint, and this talent got him noticed by the media.
It took 27 years, but eventually activists moved Ivan to the Atlanta zoo.
Here, wide open spaces with open pathways to view animals without harming them was the appeal.
Ivan was happy here and was a popular animal in the Atlanta zoo.
This theme, however, brings a sort of déjà vu to Disney fans. “Dumbo” the live -action film draws strong parallels to “The One and Only Ivan.” Dumbo, an elephant being trapped in a circus with a flying act, needs to be set free because caging animals is wrong.
No one argues that animals need good conditions to live, but this movie felt like a carbon copy of “Dumbo’s” formula, complete with a loving child setting the change in motion with the father who comes to his senses and the missing mother.
This was not subtle, and though Ivan’s story holds a timeless charm, Disney did not do it justice. Disney has been struggling with the virus, and this movie seemed to come out of nowhere.
As Disney announced it is quitting its campaign for political identity, it is uncertain what it will do next.
It announced it is redoing the “Star Wars” sequels, and is no longer pushing “Captain Marvel.”
They want to get back to the roots of it purpose: making the customers happy. This decision seems to be the right one as it appears it is out of “woke” storylines to release.
Ivan and his friends are a wonderful cast that I loved getting to know.
While unoriginal, it was still entertaining and full of color and magic. I cannot wait to see how Disney changes its repertoire.
No worries as its changes seem to be purely quality control.
No changes in prices for their streaming service or additional rental fees have been announced, and I am eager to review the new “classic” content.