“Flora and Ulysses” is the first Disney+ Original movie release of 2021 and is a lovely family comedy that is based on the Newbery Award-winning book about 10-year old Flora, an avid comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic, whose parents have recently separated.
After rescuing a squirrel from a runaway robotic vacuum cleaner, she names it Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover the squirrel possesses unique superhero powers which take them on an adventure of humorous complications that ultimately change Flora’s life–and her outlook–forever.
Unlike last year’s terrible “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made”, Flora is a really nice character, she has a few moments that are very over the top, but she’s pretty down to earth and generally a pleasure in this film. There is a ton of references to superheroes, with dozens of little easter eggs that comic book fans are going to really enjoy. She’s a comic book fan and embraces that, she knows the local comic book shop owner and understands how comic books work. There is plenty of product placement of Marvel products and characters throughout the movie, but it feels natural and realistic.
Her next-door neighbour’s nephew, played by Benjamin Evans Ainsworth, also joins with the action, but because he has temporary blindness, he brings plenty of humour into the film. It’s all pretty basic comedy, but it’ll keep you entertained. He doesn’t offer a huge amount to the story but Flora needs a sidekick to bounce ideas off for the audience, plus just seeing him walking around trying to use echolocation did make me chuckle.
Her parents are played by Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz, who bring some comedy moments of their own to the series but more importantly, offer very likeable and relatable characters to the film. From the trailer, I honestly wasn’t expecting them to be in the film too much, but at least one of the parents is on the screen in most of the scenes. Which I think helped make this film much more enjoyable to me as an adult, since it’s easier to relate to them as I’m the same age as them and they were generally just nice characters.
The villain of the film is an animal welfare officer, played by Danny Pudi, who is there just to offer a little “threat” but generally is just a cumbersome idiot, who in any other movie would have been a comedy sidekick. However, it’s kinda refreshing to see, because while this pushes the story through to a very obvious ending, the journey is more important.
There is plenty of great fun moments with Ulysses the squirrel, such as a major scene in the diner and in the finale. The CGI work on this character is very well done, unlike the cat, who looked a little, though I couldn’t help but cheer the ugly looking cat on when he met the animal welfare officer. I also love that Ulysses does the full-blown superhero landing properly.
“Flora & Ulysses” is a great family movie, its got lots of funny moments to keep kids entertained, especially with a run time of less than an hour and a half. There is a solid pace set throughout the film, which I think is perfect for younger audiences It also has enough jokes and little touches that most adults will also enjoy. I think a lot of people are going to be pleasantly surprised by this film as its a lovely family comedy.
Rating 4 out to 5
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.