Ivan the Incredible

  • Review Date: February 28, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Offbeat cartoon about bullying; confusing message for kids.
  • Review Date: February 28, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 80 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive messages

Focus is on bullying with confusing message. Bullies are shown to be those who lack confidence and have low self-esteem. When it's the hero's turn to be the bully, he enjoys his new role for a time, gradually realizing that it does not suit him. At film's end, however, Ivan appears to believe that it's better to be bullied than to be a bully and accepts his role as "victim" with a smile. 

Positive role models

Ivan's father is a bullying, verbally abusive dad with poor values and little love or compassion for his son; he learns the error of his ways, but unconvincingly. With the exception of a miracle-working "witch," other adults are portrayed as either ignorant, shallow, weak, or unreliable -- usually a combination of these traits. Made in Denmark, there is no ethnic diversity. 

Violence & scariness

Cartoon action throughout, much of it hateful and directed against vulnerable characters. Bullies (including the hero's father) intimidate a variety of victims throughout. They punch, throw, spit, and are verbally abusive, with lots of name-calling. A woman hits her pet bird over the head with a banjo, then knocks him out to sleep. In a wild ride, Ivan and a schoolmate race through town upending everything and everyone in their path. A butcher appears with blood covering his white apron in several scenes.

Sexy stuff

Female characters are drawn with prominently sagging bosoms throughout; one young girl's budding breasts are drawn with nipples. It's implied that Ivan is naked in a few scenes, though no nudity is visible.


Insults abound. Ivan is called a "yellow-belly," "jelly Tarzan," "little runt," "mega dork," and he's told that he is "no good at anything." Ivan's father is constantly mean and belittles his son. Spitting, peeing, belching are intended as humor; a book is entitled "Arty Farty."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Ivan's dad drinks wine and another adult beverage in two scenes. A female bully appears to be chomping on a cigar in several scenes; it's actually a sausage.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ivan the Incredible is the English-language version of a Danish animated movie. Kids used to the upbeat rhythm of American cartoons and movies will find this film's pace slower and some scenes repetitive. In an odd departure for a story with bullying as its theme, the underlying and puzzling message is that it's better to be bullied than to become a bully yourself. Ivan's father is a disrespectful blow-hard who cares little for his child's well-being throughout most of the movie. Cartoon action consists mainly of chases, punches, strong-armed intimidation, and name-calling. Though the animation is unique, often funny and inventive, most of the female characters are distinguished by great sagging breasts. Be prepared for some coarse behavior (i.e., spitting, peeing, belching).   

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Poor Ivan. Everybody picks on him in IVAN THE INCREDIBLE... even his dad. In fact, his dad is the meanest of all. The bullies at school have made his life miserable and he knows he'll never be chosen for the Elite Class where everyone is superior and clever. Ivan knows what people say is true. He doesn't read well; he isn't strong; he doesn't have any friends -- except for Lottie, and he's not sure at all why she seems to like him. The only place he's happy is in a secret, abandoned house where he's created a whole world of toys and special gadgets to play with. One day, when Ivan feels particularly bad about himself, a mysterious woman takes him under her wing. She offers him a free miracle, but only for one day. Ivan makes his choice. He wants to be the best at everything! It's only when Ivan's wish is granted that the little boy finds out what actually is important and teaches his father something, too.

Is it any good?


Some imaginative animation and a few funny, even endearing, characters and scenes can't make up for what at its core is the tale of a mean-spirited father taking out his own insecurities on his very vulnerable young son. Constantly comparing Ivan to Tarzan (his ideal), Ivan's dad is not only verbally abusive, but he's also materialistic, selfish, and ignorant. Mr. Olson's ultimate redemption is easy, but also very shallow and unsatisfying. And what Ivan learns over the course of his journey? It's that he doesn't like being a bully, but strangely, with a greater sense of self-worth, he can endure being a victim. Originally a Danish release, the film is more slowly paced than what U.S. audiences are used to, and the scenes of Ivan's humiliation soon become repetitious. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss Ivan's solution to dealing with bullies. Do you agree with the outcome -- the final scene -- in this movie? Why or why not? 

  • What helped Ivan learn that being "best at everything" wasn't a real miracle? What did he realize was special about him?

  • According to this story, why do people (both grownups and kids) become bullies? 

Movie details

DVD release date:July 2, 2013
Cast:NIcola Coughlan, Paul Tylak, Marcus Lamb
Director:Michael Hegner
Studio:Crone Film Produktion
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:for some bullying and other rude behavior.

This review of Ivan the Incredible was written by

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  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Kid, 12 years old May 18, 2014
Lame, boring and stupid, this is one of the worst films ever made. The animation was poor.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byMisswebzTV July 1, 2015

Iffy Plot but one Incredible Ivan!

I'm back with another review. Yesterday it was pouring rain, I decided I would go on Netflix. I came across Ivan The Incredible. I was bored and looking for some entertainment. The story is basically about a misfit young boy named Ivan. Who gets bullied, has very little of friends, and a father who wants him to become Tarzan. Animation was a bit a combination of 3D clamation and muppet like hairstyles. I really don't like how all the kids and all the adults called him names for example, "wimp, jelly tarzan, a disappointment to the family, and a yellow belly." One girl though really likes Ivan, Lottie the principals daughter. Though I really find it offensive that they make the female breasts big and saggy. Ivan feels the only way that his life will get better is if he takes a potion. Which makes him spit bullets, have incredible strength, and be extremely smart. The role model I see in here is Lottie, she turns down a stuck up, cocky, hunk for Ivan. And sees that he could use a friend. And she likes him just the way he is. There's also a lot of negativity. If I was 13 years or younger the movie would have made me cry, but it actually gave me a nightmare about a former bully from my old school. Whats incredible is Ivan's nice attitude and surviving all the chaos. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't a teenager and gets sensitive easily. It would be a lot nicer movie if the miracle for Ivan if I didn't have to wait almost an hour for it. In fact there's more negativity in the whole movie instead of positive messages.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byWOLF13 May 1, 2015

stupid movie with bad animation

This movie was full of stupidity and crap
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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