Disney’s Flora & Ulysses gets a little nutty in this family friendly romp where squirrels become the kings of Superhero Landings.
Disney’s hot streak continues with the family film based on the on the Newbery Award-winning book, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate DiCamillo.
Flora (Matilda Lawler) is a 10-year-old who is addicted to comic books and somehow already a self-avowed cynic, whose parents 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 spring after my mother died, there was this squirrel on the front steps of my house, draped dramatically across the steps, clearly in distress and he wouldn’t move when I got close to him and I didn’t know what to do for him. I called one of my best friends who lives a block away.
I said, ‘Help me. There’s a squirrel dying on my front steps.’ She said, ‘Do you have a T-shirt and a shovel?’ And I said, ‘I do.’ And she said, ‘Get the T-shirt, get the shovel. I will come over there and whack him over the head.’ That’s what she said. And all of this made me think about, um, E.B. White’s essay, Death of a Pig. How he’s going out to feed a pig and thought about ways to save a pig’s life. I thought about ways to save the squirrel’s life and I combined it with the vacuum cleaner in the garage, and that’s the story,” said DiCamillo as she relayed the catalyst that is now a beloved Disney+ film.
DiCamillo was able to turn her personal grief and a random squirrel into a best selling novel and just a few short years later, we got a fantastic family film that Disney fans can enjoy with their kids.
What made this film even more fun was the vision Lena Khan had for the project.
“Oh, yeah. Ulysses, I can’t get enough of him. But the blueprint for most of the stuff that happened is in the book, so we were kinda lucky there. Apparently, craz-crazy things like vacuum cleaners and everything end up in Kate’s home.
So, it was a lotta fun just kinda making things a little crazier. We did use-I got to have two squirrels on my laps and they did-they were trained, and they did tricks, but they couldn’t do everything that Ulysses did, so then we kinda just had to create Ulysses,” said Khan about the production of the film and an avid comic book fan herself.
What makes Flora & Ulysses work so well is the entire cast but especially Lawler, who if you didn’t know any better, would believe she was an actual cynic at the ripe old age of turning double digits in age.
Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz had such incredible timing that they made working with a child look easy and Danny Pudi makes for a very believable villain. John Kassir as the voice of Ulysses rounds out the incredible cast and will definitely make this a Disney live action family staple for years to come.
Disney’s Flora & Ulysses is streaming exclusively now on Disney+.
- Overall score
Disney’s Flora & Ulysses is a family film that will make Squirrel Girl jealous of all the love and attention he’s getting.