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The One and Only Ivan Review

No matter how little I had come to expect of The One and Only Ivan, there was no doubt in my mind that this would be miserably disappointing. Parading Bryan Cranston around as a circus Ringmaster, it seems Heisenberg found gainful employment later in life. Still, Disney have been in the business of fluffy filler for its streaming platform for quite some time, so the existence of this Sam Rockwell-led family comedy shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. Disney+ caters to families, young children and happy individuals that don’t hold any form of narcissism within them. I’m clearly not the target audience, but it won’t stop me from sitting through this whilst I digest eight martinis.

Donning a British accent for about a quarter of the film, Cranston does his best as Mack, the owner of a circus where Ivan and his friends reside. Ivan, voiced by Sam Rockwell, longs to return to his home, the jungle. Or at least, I think he does. It’s not really all that important until a baby elephant arrives. For a film that caters to just about every subplot imaginable, there’s such little in quality or interest here. It’s fascinating really, how a cast of genuine talent can come together for an hour and a half and give absolutely nothing of note. A lifeless script and some flat direction piece themselves together with all the vitriol they’re sure to bring about.

It feels a lot like Dumbo, and I suppose that’s only because there’s a baby elephant that the plot centres itself on. It’s all the childhood whimsy you’ve come to expect from these Disney pieces. A child who wants to help the ape escape back to his home, the adults who don’t listen, an hour and a half of denouncing circuses and animals used for entertainment, but a film that bases much of its entertainment on the charms it looks to condemn. Cranston croons his way around a circus hidden away inside a shopping mall, a strange place to house a gorilla, seal and elephant, but nothing worth questioning at this stage. Just accept it, move on. It’s nonsensical, and what can you expect from a film where sage advice comes from Rockwell in conversation with a stray dog voiced by

What is it with this year and horrified CGI animals. I thought I’d had my fill after Dolittle, but clearly, I needed a second dose of celebrities bringing underwhelming CGI circus acts to life. The One and Only Ivan is fairly sickly, a nonsensical film that has little merit. Thea Sharrock directs us through a film of absolutely nothing, static camerawork, inept and underwhelming in every way. An absolutely useless film, one that will fail to elicit anything but nausea from audience members above the age of three.

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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