While we’re gearing up for the ultimate test of Disney+’s might thanks to its Premier Access release of Disney’s Mulan next month, the platform is still releasing plenty of content to talk about in the meantime. This week is no exception, as the live-action/CGI adaptation of Katherine Applegate’s heartfelt novel, The One and Only Ivan, is making its way to Disney+. The flick features Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell and Angelina Jolie, among a star-studded cast that populates this cinematic rendition of the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, and now we’ve got our first indications of how critics have taken to this particular adventure.
Reviews are finally coming in for The One and Only Ivan, and as with any other film of its ilk, there is are a lot of opinions on how director Thea Sharrock’s Disney+ feature stacks up. So naturally, we’re going to share those takes with you, starting with CinemaBlend’s own Dirk Libbey. He saw The One and Only Ivan and had the following to say in his review, in which he gave the film three and a half out of five stars:
What’s interesting to note about this new Disney+ film is the fact that The One and Only Ivan’s story is based on a very true tale where animal activists campaigned for the release of the real life Ivan. That sort of story can both be fun for the family, but also be a bit muddied by the waters of fiction and humor. Even with that, critic Clarisse Loughrey from The Independent rated The One and Only Ivan at three out of five stars, and praised the film in her positive review. However, she did have a bit of a caveat when it came to the film’s humor:
The One and Only Ivan certainly does have its detractors though, and one of them is USA Today’s reviewer, Brian Truitt. Weigh the film as a two out of four star effort on his publication’s scale, Truitt saw potential in the tale of a gorilla yearning for freedom and the adventure that ensues. Unfortunately, that promise was deflated in this specific context:
EW’s Maureen Lee Lenker initially sounded like she was on the same side of the fence as Brian Truitt, as her reaction to The One and Only Ivan does seem to confirm a mixed bag of tones and humor being present in the narrative. But her grade of a B was apparently backed by Lenker latching onto the film’s overall uplifting message:
Finally, we have IndieWire’s Kate Erbland with her opinion of The One and Only Ivan, and it pretty much solidifies what most critics have been saying about the film in her review. Giving the film a B grade and citing how the movie definitely has the kids in mind with its big ideas, the overall effort sounds like it was worth it, as Erbland praises the film thusly:
For the most part, the consensus seems to be that The One and Only Ivan will be a welcomed respite for audiences in a world eager for entertainment. But with that entertainment comes some hiccups in tone and execution, while still landing some emotionally beautiful and devastating moments. You can see it all for yourself when Disney+’s The One and Only Ivan debuts this Friday, on a Disney+ friendly device near you.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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