Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Thea Sharrock’s fantasy adventure in which a gorilla attempts to put together his history with the assistance of an elephant as they come up with a strategy to get away from captivity.
The One and Only Ivan is adapted from the children’s novel of the same name by K. A. Applegate, which was published seven years earlier.
There is absolutely no denying that this movie, from Disney+, will definitely appeal to younger viewers, but there is also enough going on for adults pleased as well.
The movie sees Bryan Cranston give a fine performance in his role as Mack, the owner of the Big Top Circus, while Ariana Greenblatt is always watchable as the young girl Julia and Ramón Rodríguez is respectable as George, Julia’s father and a custodian at the Big Top Circus.
In terms of the voice cast, Sam Rockwell as the title character and the western lowland gorilla Ivan, Angelina Jolie as the African bush elephant Stella, Danny DeVito as the stray dog Bob, Helen Mirren as the poodle Snickers, Brooklynn Prince as the baby African bush elephant Ruby, Chaka Khan as the chicken Henrietta, Ron Funches as the white rabbit Murphy, Phillipa Soo as the parrot Thelma and Mike White as the seal Frankie all give decent voice performances in their respective parts.
The direction from Sharrock is good because she allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a mostly pleasant atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by Mike White as he makes the movie good to follow.
The camera stands out best in terms of the technical aspects, because it makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense and moving moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status.
Overall, it is not outstanding, but The One and Only Ivan is an enjoyable adaptation of the book, due to the good performances, direction, script, mostly pleasant atmosphere and some tension.