Inspiring Disney Movie based on True Story

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Lakshmi Katravulapalli, Staff Reporter

The One and Only Ivan is based on a novel by K.A. Applegate. The movie is about a gorilla named Ivan who has to live in a confined cage at the mall. Ivan is used to entertaining people at the circus in the mall. The story talks about how Ivan stays at the Big Top Mall inside a domain for most of his life. Stella is an older elephant who has experienced being in other circuses. Stella tells stories to Ivan about what it was like before she was put in the mall. But Stella is weak due to a chronic injury in her leg. While Ivan is generally content with his life, a new baby elephant named Ruby is introduced to the group of circus animals. Shortly after Ruby joined the group, Stella gets sick due the pain in her leg and dies. Stella asks Ivan to take responsibility for Ruby, and Ivan tells her he will do his best.

After Stella dies, Ivan starts to remember what it was like to be free. When Mack, who is the grandmaster of the circus, starts training Ruby, Ivan sees the abuse which he is forced to follow. This is when Ivan starts to come up with ideas of how to escape. Ivan doesn’t feel happy with being forced to live in a cage everyday, and finds a way to make a difference. When Julia, the custodian’s George’s daughter gives Ivan paint, he starts to form an idea on how he can help Ruby escape. Ivan paints a big picture of a zoo; when Julia and George see the painting, they decide to hang it up. After people see the sign, they start protesting, and soon enough Ivan is taken away to be free at a zoo. 

The movie stars famous movie actors as the voices of the different animals like Danny Devito, Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell, and Helen Mirren. The public have said that they like the character Julia, who is played by young star Ariana Greenblatt. They liked how she gave Ivan the finger paints and was always nice to all the animals. The paint that Julia brings to Ivan gives him a sense of hope about being free and returning to his natural home. Due to Covid-19 the movie was released August 21on Disney Plus. The movie project was first said to start in 2014, but got delayed to 2018 and released in 2020. The movie is directed by Thea Sharrock.

 Many people say they enjoyed the diverse character of Ivan, and how he has changed throughout the story. The movie is a symbol of freeing all abused animals from cages and sending them back to their homeland. The public says the complex theme, and the many moral values appeal to the audience but also tell an enchanting story that will reach millions of people. Along with the importance of animals beginning in the natural wild, the movie also displays the challenges of keeping up a business that is going out of trend during an unstable and unpredictable economy. Sharrock is admired by her ability to display all these elements and themes into the movie. The inspiring element of Ivan is his artistic ability and his expression of feelings to the human people through art. 

This movie is based on a true story, because it was inspired from a gorilla who has the name Ivan who was moved to the US when he was young. Ivan had a sister who died at a young age. Ivan was actually raised by a store owner and as a pet. Once he became too big, he was moved to a circus in the mall along with other animals in Washington. Later Ivan was granted his freedom, and was moved to a zoo in Atlanta in 1994, but sadly died in 2012. But when Ivan was in his cage in the mall, he was said to be traumatized and disturbed.