Flora & Ulysses

You know a movie that starts out with animated clips of the Silver Surfer and Wolverine was going to be right up my alley.

Based on the children’s novel by Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses dropped on Disney + this weekend and gave us what we never knew we wanted… a super hero squirrel. And I am not talking about Squirrel Girl, either.

Flora (Matilda Lawler) was a ten-year old cynic, who loved comic books, especially those drawn by her father George (Ben Schwartz). Unfortunately, George had fallen on hard times in the comic industry and was currently separated from his author wife Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan). Flora was looking for something hopeful and she found it in the form of a squirrel, who after being accidentally sucked up by the neighbor’s runaway rumba-like vacuum, gained super powers.

Flora and Ulysses bond quickly (Flora actually saved Ulysses’s life with mouth to mouth) and she took him home, leading to shenanigans and chaotic events.

I had some doubts heading into this film, but I was entertained thoroughly. I found Flora & Ulysses funnier than I thought it would be, engaging relationship between the characters and silly situations that make this film a decent family movie to share with the entire family.

Matilda Lawler was charming and did a great job as the lead protagonist, wrangling the super squirrel and doing what she could to straighten out her life. There was the arrival of another young character, William (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), who had been stricken with hysterical blindness. It may not have been a very sensitive representation of blindness, but William was more than his disability. The film gave us some quiet moments with the boy too as there was a nice character moment with him.

The young actors do a great job, and they are anchored by Ben Schwartz and Alyson Hannigan, a pair of experienced actors who carry a heavy load. Anna Deavere Smith appeared in a strong cameo role.

Slapstick humor and a natural cheesiness, Flora & Ulysses provided a energetic film with decent special effects and some positive performances. The film is fun and certainly worth a watch as a family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Kids should love the misadventures of the super squirrel and the parents can engage with the problems faced by the adult characters. Flora & Ulysses is just the type of film that will find a level of success on Disney +.

3.4 stars

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