Another weekend, another potential to talk about all the crazy things the entertainment district is cooking/ releasing for us. Today is no exception as the war of streaming continues to push us into a new world streaming from home, while studios fight back to get into films. But today is not about a political movement, but rather doing my best to cover another film that sort of went under the radar to streaming. On Disney+ you will find a potential new movie for you and your kids to react to, perhaps in hoping for the next star studded drama to watch over and over again. Robbie K here sharing his thoughts as he reviews:
Movie: The One and Only Ivan (2020)
Short and To the point
The Decent Pacing
Emotionally Deep on a level
Great CGI design and animation
The voice acting/acting
The Semi Lack of Balance
The aimless wondering
The conclusion somewhat
Missing the Movie Flair
When it comes to streaming, some films have knocked it out of the park and some have been exactly what you pay for in this crazy times. Ivan is almost in the middle for me on this one given the quality and limitations the film has. Fortunately, it does so in a concise manner, with decent pacing designed to try and capture/keep your attention despite the distractions of home. It’s a film exactly meant for the platform, as cute displays of animal buddy comedy unfold on stage at the Big Top Mall, in the focused theater section of a dying business. Kids and those with big hearts are going to love all the creatures before them, and get hooked to seeing just how functional this small time family is. Don’t think this is one of those only for kids movies though, no Ivan and his crew will dive deeply into the emotional act, somehow managing to strike both drama character development aspect, and feelings towards animal aspects. The gorilla’s journey has a lot of layers to it, and despite the fact that it’s supposed to be family friendly, it still does enough to deliver the messages at heart that this “based on a true story” tale has for you. Those who cry easily or don’t want their kids experiencing some sadder things, need to be cautious with this film, but while it can be heartbreaking it does work well to drive the plot and open the characters up past the one dimensional role, well at least some of them.
What further helps deliver the messages of friendship, confidence, facing change, and self -reflection is the great animation and music that go hand in hand in this film. Starting with the music, it’s nothing revolutionary, but I give props of the circus show numbers to draw you into the experience of the fun scenes that indeed make you feel as part of the show. While the piano work and string instruments are the heavy lifters for the emotion, mixing well with the dialogue, thanks to my soundbar, that work to illicit the mature emotions of the more serious scenes. But most don’t care about that so go into the animation. Despite the COVID running amok, Disney animations still destroys the bank with their teams, as Ivan and company’s movements are beautifully captured in the form of CGI. While not the most realistic looking compared to some other projects, this show number is pretty darn close in terms of animal design, the skin textures, contrast, and whatever other terminology you need all flowing well. Even when talking, the human like qualities come out beautifully and was probably my favorite part of the whole show. In regards to acting, so many great performances despite so little being seen. Cranston is still an amazing artist capable of crossing multiple lines and keeping his character within the bounds of reality and likeability. Rockwell as the lead doesn’t quite cross the spectrum, but delivers his performance with that a of a philosopher’s grace that is caring, observant, and confused all at the same time. The whole cast mixes to feel like a family, each playing their part to contribute something to the simple tale.
However, ranting on about the positives, the negatives still exist that sort of take away from the film, at least for me. There is a lack of balance in this film in regards to the characters as the movie puts a heavy focus on Ivan, Ruby, and Bob, while the other animals are sort of reduced to passing glances. Despite a big introduction, and several fantastic voice actors, many of these animals are reduced to background shots that while realistic sort of rob the meat of this story. Ivan’s tale is also very predictable, the opening mantra painting the picture for at least three big reveals, which helps to accept the blows of the film, but is disappointing when you are hoping for some boom to drop the hammer on the film. Much of this is also due to the movie sort of wondering around as opposed to having a clear set goal in mind. Sure, we know what the end game is, but prior to this and even during this film, I kind of felt stuck in a monotonous routine of life. If that’s what he was going for to show realism and symbolism, it works, but in a kids film, I kind of sway towards the entertainment goal with a purpose like we see at the end of the film. And when all the things come to fruition at the end, the emotional release of two of the main characters is great, but what in the world happened to everyone else? You won’t find out unfortunately, and despite all the stacking we had done, the loose ends of the Ivan family were annoying not to quickly complete in an additional five minutes. I guess when many of them did not exist based on the small documentary at the end you don’t have to close up shop. I guess when all is said and done, Ivan’s tale is missing that movie flair that theaters often bring out with their tales, or maybe it’s just me.
Let’s wrap this up! Ivan’s group is certainly an example of a better quality streaming movie over the rest of the world. It’s got a great atmosphere for families and does not hesitate to pull fun and messages into one package. An adorable atmosphere that isn’t too adult awaits to amaze all those at home with great CGI, voice acting, and pacing to keep your attention and invest a bit into these characters. However, it still needing some work with balancing characters, working on adding flair and helping round out some parts of the tale to be honest. Ivan’s tale has some of these flaws that while small at parts, really could have been improved on a number of levels. Still overall it’s a fun viewing that accomplishes a lot more than the other films did for me, and I enjoyed it on many levels despite the limitations.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0