Along with remaking all of their animated classics into live-action spectacles, Disney has also been leaning into using photorealistic computer generated animals to lead their stories. From Lady and the Tramp to The Lion King, the animation studio is bringing very convincing digital animals to the screen, for better or worse. Even Call of the Wild, which came to Disney from 20th Century Fox, fit right in with their slate by utilizing computer generated dogs. Now another live-action/CGI hybrid animal adventure is coming to Disney+.
The One and Only Ivan, based on Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book of the same name, follows a 400-pound silverback gorilla who was taken from the wild at a young age and brought into the home of Mack (Bryan Cranston), who raised him lovingly until he was big enough that he needed to be kept in a glass enclosure in the middle of a shopping mall when he’s not being shown off to a paying audience. For Ivan, it’s his normal, everyday life, but when a captured baby elephant named Ruby arrives, he begins to dig into his past and longs to return to his jungle home. Watch the Only and Only Ivan trailer below.
The One and Only Ivan Trailer
This looks like it could be the best original movie to hit Disney+ yet, but that’s because this movie was originally slated to be a theatrical release. Instead, due to the coronavirus pandemic keeping movie theaters closed for the time being, and release dates being shuffled constantly by studios, Disney thought it was safer to release the movie onto Disney+. And honestly, I think more people will watch it there than would have turned out for the movie in theaters.
There’s a vibe here that reminds me of Charlotte’s Web or Babe, which makes me feel like this is something that could really land well with audiences. It looks like it has heart, and even though some of the animals are still animated so photorealistically that it somewhat stifles any significant expression, at least Ivan and Ruby appear to be compelling characters.
Ivan is voiced by Sam Rockwell, while Angelina Jolie voices his elephant friend Stella, and Danny DeVito voices his dog buddy Bob. There’s also an impressive supporting cast of voices for other animals, including Helen Mirren as Snickers the poodle, Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project) as Ruby, Chaka Khan as Henrietta the chicken, Mike White as Frankie the seal, Ron Funches as Murphy the rabbit, and Phillipa Soo as the voice of Thelma the parrot. Meanwhile, Ramon Rodriquez plays George, an employee at the mall where Ivan is kept, and Ariana Greenblatt is his daughter Julia.
The One and Only Ivan is directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You), who also serves as executive producer, from a script by Mike White (Nacho Libre, School of Rock). The film is produced by the late Allison Shearmur, along with Angelina Jolie and Brigham Taylor, with Sue Baden-Powell also executive producing.
Disney’s “The One and Only Ivan” is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home. Ivan is a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He has few memories of the jungle where he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ruby is recently separated from her family in the wild, which causes him to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be.
The One and Only Ivan arrives on Disney+ on August 14, 2020.
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