Don’t be surprised if you start hearing the phrase, “Holy unanticipated occurrences!” from the Disney+ loving fans in your house starting February 19th! Disney has a brand new movie “Flora & Ulysses” (based on the novel “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures”) starting to stream this Friday (February 19th) and it definitely has that make-you-smile, feel all warm inside kind of vibe to it. At the same time, I have to confess ~ not everything was wonder and magic in this movie for me.
Flora & Ulysses
About the movie
Disney’s “Flora & Ulysses” is a comedy-adventure 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 she names Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover he possesses unique superhero powers which take them on an adventure of humorous complications that ultimately change Flora’s life–and her outlook–forever.
The cast is stacked with talent, including some of my favorites such as Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother), Ben Schwartz (Sonic, The Hedgehog), and Danny Pudi (Community). Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory) is also someone I enjoy seeing on screen. Though typically typecast, she is a lot of fun and brings her trademark quirkiness to this picture, as well.
However, there is no question who stole the show and that’s the movie’s leading lady, Matilda Lawler, who plays Flora. Her personality is dynamic. Her facial expressions are priceless. Oh, and her ability to win your heart? Oh, yeah ~ she is absolutely capable of doing that, too!
Three Things I liked about Disney’s “Flora & Ulysses”
The movie is packed with hilarious mishaps that will keep its audience chuckling throughout. It seemed that every turn brought a new unfortunate event that added a little more entertainment value to the story.
I was all over the numerous references to other movies sprinkled throughout the film. From Star Wars and various Marvel flicks to Titanic and E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, one could have a lot of fun just watching the movie to see how many cinematic references were actually made.
There were a good handful of powerful catch phrases written into the script. Some of my paraphrased favorites include (and I won’t give reasons because I want you to actually make that connection yourself):
- Cynics don’t hope, they observe
- Find your purpose
- I promise to always turn back to you
- “How can I forget there is magic in the world, when you’re standing right in front of me.”
I love how the superhero in this film does not wear a cape ~ NO CAPES! In fact, his super power was far from the standard, stereotypical powers we see in comic books. Rather, it had a more intimate, internal aspect to it ~ an emotional effect, if you will.
Three Things I didn’t like…
Okay – here’s where the wonder faded and the magic disappeared ~ just a bit. Remember ~ I have always promised honesty and I felt it was important to at least mention what triggered me a little in this film. Of course, you may not see it the same way and that’s all good! Nobody watches movies from the same perspective or for the same reasons.
There are numerous events throughout “Flora & Ulysses” that technically ~ in the real world ~ warranted an arrest by the authorities, but didn’t. I won’t go into the details, except to say permissive breaking and entering, property damage, and merchandise theft pushed the limits just a bit for me.
But it’s a comedy…things like this happen in comedies all the time. Right?
I had difficulty with the use of the word “cynic.” I mean, most dictionaries define this term as someone who distrusts other people and believes that everything is done for selfish reasons. To be honest, I find this ironic because Flora believes in a world of superheroes, people whose entire purpose is to perform the miraculous for others and make their lives better. A cynic would believe a superhero was technically in it for themselves, not for the good of mankind. Right? So ~ I guess this is where I get a little confused on using that term.
Of course…perhaps they were going for more of the skeptic, doubter or pessimist aspect of the term. I guess one of those would have worked.
However, my biggest concern with this movie is…
You can see it up in the movie’s description. “Flora & Ulysses” shares the story of a couple separated from each other on various levels. Unfortunately, I’ve watched too many friends and family members ~ especially recently ~ not find that strength to “turn back” (referenced in the movie) and makes things better. My greatest fear is that this movie will instill an unrealistic hope in some children facing this very real family crisis.
Trust me, I want to be positive here and I love encouraging people to have hope and faith. In fact, I can actually attest to the effectiveness and power of “turning back” to recognize the magic that was standing there all along. However, I also speak as the child of divorce. Having lived both roles, I know it takes more than just one look back and a two minute clip in a movie to fix something that’s broken.
Would I recommend Flora & Ulysses?
As you can tell, this is one of those films that ignited mixed emotions for me. When I take off my intellectual cap, I can see its entertainment value. I definitely laughed and I enjoyed the character interaction. Matilda Lawler was fantastic and I see a very bright future in front of her. The animation that created Ulysses’ was exquisite, detailed, inspiring and definitely gave reason to fall in love with another rodent (Mickey, Minnie and Remy go without saying). There were just a few things in there that tugged at me with a little more intensity.
Now, I will say this. There is no profanity in this movie. However, in addition to the above, there are:
- Attacks by CGI squirrels
- Tranquilizer gun use by animal control
- Pictures on that wall reflecting the content of Phyllis Buckman’s romance novel career
To be honest, I highly doubt there is anything of true substance to hinder my recommendation. It is an entertaining film. I just want to make sure that parents know that there is content that could be difficult for some children in certain situations. It’s always your call. You know your situation and you know your kids. You are more the expert than I could ever be on what they may or may not be able to handle.
So ~ just remember…
Disney’s “Flora & Ulysses” will be available exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) beginning February 19, 2021. It’s a fun, entertaining, and hilarious movie that has a few “don’t do this at home” warnings and a topic or two that may warrant a follow-on conversation. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that…
Check out the trailer right here!
- Director: Lena Khan
- Producer: Gil Netter.
- Based on the novel “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” by Kate DiCamillo
- Screenplay: Brad Copeland.
- Executive producers: Katterli Frauenfelder and James Powers
Check out my other Disney+ Reviews!!!
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