Flora & Ulysses (film)

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Flora & Ulysses
Flora and Ulysses Poster.jpg
Official Disney+ release poster
Directed byLena Khan
Produced byGil Netter
Screenplay byBrad Copeland
Based onFlora & Ulysses
by Kate DiCamillo
Starring
Music byJake Monaco[1]
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byJamie Gross
Production
companies
Distributed byDisney+
Release date
  • February 19, 2021 (2021-02-19)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Flora & Ulysses is a 2021 American family superhero comedy film directed by Lena Khan from a screenplay by Brad Copeland and based on the children's novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. It stars Matilda Lawler, Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Anna Deavere Smith, Danny Pudi, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Janeane Garofalo, and Kate Micucci while John Kassir provides the vocal effects of Ulysses.

The film was released on Disney+ on February 19, 2021.

Plot[edit]

Flora Buckman is a cynical 10-year-old girl who likes to get lost in the world of superheroes from the comics she reads. Her father George is a failed comic book author who has since taken a job at an office supply store called Binders Keepers overseen by his boss Chad while her mother Phyllis is a romance novelist who had won an award in the past, but has since hit creator's block. Their hardships have caused them to separate.

Flora's next door neighbor Tootie experiences trouble with her Ulysses brand vacuum that begins running amok in her yard. A regular squirrel is sucked into it just as the machine dies. Flora resuscitates the squirrel and takes to naming him after the vacuum. The next day, Ulysses uses Phyllis' vintage typewriter to type "Squirtel. I am. Ulysses. Born anew". Flora quickly discovers that Ulysses is not only sentient, but seems to possess superpowers as well. She regales her findings to Tootie's visiting nephew William Spiver who suffers from "hysterical blindness" due to stress.

When George arrives to see Flora, he and Phyllis discover Ulysses and he agrees to drop him off while he takes Flora out for the day. They stop by the diner Do-Nut World first, but Rita the waitress discovers Ulysses who begins to make a mess in the diner. George sees firsthand that Ulysses has superhuman flight and strength. Father and daughter grab him and flee back to his apartment which is monitored by a feisty cat named Mr. Klaus. They see his neighbor Dr. Meescham who tells them that Ulysses is fine and also witnesses his intelligence.

Meanwhile, the diner brings in Miller, an animal control expert who has a vendetta against squirrels due to having been demoted from his park warden duty following a rabid squirrel attack. A hysterical Rita believes that Ulysses had rabies and Miller becomes more determined to catch him.

When Flora and William visit Stanlee at his comic book store, they learn on the news that Ulysses is a fugitive and race to see George, who has decided to quit his job which also led to the regional manager to fire Chad. They hide at George's apartment, but Miller deduces their location. He gets attacked by Mr. Klaus, allowing the heroes to escape, but Miller gives chase. They evade him and make it back home.

Phyllis reveals that she is stressed out about an interview tomorrow for a newspaper and George agrees to be there beside her for support, hinting to Flora that he does not want to divorce her. In return, Phyllis reluctantly allows Ulysses to stay in their house. The interview goes poorly when the journalist sees Ulysses' writings and believes that Phyllis is in a dead end.

The next day, Miller sees the printed article and discovers George's family. Phyllis takes Ulysses to the woods to get rid of him, but realizes that she cannot go through with it.

Flora and William head to the woods to rescue Ulysses and hide at an abandoned water park to escape a rainstorm. William reveals that he was sent away because he pushed his stepfather's car into a lake. He loved his biological father for his intellect and misses him. George meets up with Phyllis and Ulysses and find Flora and William where Phyllis apologizes. However, Miller arrives with a team and they capture Ulysses informing the family that they will euthanize him as they still believe he has rabies.

The Buckmans and William team up with Dr. Meescham and sneak into the animal sanctuary. While there, William overcomes his stress and regains his sight. They release all the animals, including a very angry Mr. Klaus, to distract Miller and his team and free Ulysses who once again displays his powers to rescue George. They decide to release Ulysses back into the wild. Miller arrives, but is frightened away by the abundance of squirrels. The Buckmans work together to create a comic book called Ulysses, based on their adventure.

In a mid-credits scene, Miller is on a date with Rita where he shyly admits that he is frightened of some things. It is revealed that Mr. Klaus belongs to Rita who is calm and kind to her and not happy to see Miller after their last encounter.

Cast[edit]

  • Matilda Lawler as Flora Buckman, a young cynical 10-year-old girl who enjoys superhero comic books.
    • Emma Oliver as six-year-old Flora
  • Alyson Hannigan as Phyllis Buckman, a romance novelist and the mother of Flora.
  • Ben Schwartz as George Buckman, a struggling comic book writer and the father of Flora who works at an office supply store.
  • Anna Deavere Smith as Dr. Meescham, the Buckmans' neighbor.
  • Danny Pudi as Miller, an animal control officer who previously lost his job of park warden due to a rabid squirrel attack.
  • Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as William Spiver, a boy whom Flora befriends and is "hysterically blind".
  • Janeane Garofalo as Marissa, the neighbor of George.
  • Kate Micucci as Rita, a waitress at Do-Nut World.
  • John Kassir as the vocal effects of Ulysses
  • Darien Martin as Incandesto / Alfred T. Slipper, a superhero that was conceived by George.
  • Bobby Moynihan as Stanlee, the owner of a comic book store who Flora visits.
  • Nancy Robertson as Tootie Tickham, the neighbor of Flora and the aunt of William.
  • Christine Lee as Journalist
  • Jesse Reid as Chad, George's supervisor at Binders Keepers with a jerk personality.
  • Javier Lacroix as Donald
  • David Milchard as Do-Nut World Cook
  • Kyle Straut as Shobo
  • Tori Katongo as The Mighty Condor, a superhero that was conceived by George.
  • Henry Mah as the unnamed regional manager of Binders Keepers that Chad answers to.

Author of the original book Kate DiCamillo has a cameo in the film as a woman named Kate.

Production[edit]

On May 31, 2018, it was announced that Disney was developing a film adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel Flora & Ulysses for their streaming service Disney+, with Brad Copeland writing the script.[2]

On June 13, 2019, Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz were cast as Flora's parents. Gil Netter produced the project.[3] On June 27, 2019, Lena Khan was announced as director, and Matilda Lawler was cast in the titular role of Flora Buckman with Benjamin Evans Ainsworth and Danny Pudi also added to the cast as filming began in Vancouver.[4] Filming wrapped on August 23, 2019.[5]

Post-production was done remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

Release[edit]

Flora & Ulysses was released on February 19, 2021, on Disney+.[7]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 69% of 52 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critics consensus reads "Agreeable if not exceptional, Flora and Ulysses offers a fun, funny, family-friendly diversion -- and a furry twist on the superhero genre."[8] According to Metacritic, which assigned it a weighted average score of 62 out of 100 based on ten critics, the film received "generally favorable reviews".[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jake Monaco Scoring Lena Khan's Disney+ Movie 'Flora & Ulysses'". Archived from the original on 2020-11-28. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  2. ^ "Film News Roundup: Disney Developing 'Flora and Ulysses' for Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)". Archived from the original on 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  3. ^ "Alyson Hannigan & Ben Schwartz Join 'Flora & Ulysses' Film Adaptation From Disney+". Archived from the original on 2019-09-13. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  4. ^ "Disney+ Movie 'Flora & Ulysses' Starts Production; Cast Revealed". Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  5. ^ Ben Schwartz [@rejectedjokes] (August 23, 2019). "After 2 months & 44 shooting days we've wrapped the @Disney movie Flora & Ulysses" (Tweet). Retrieved December 17, 2019 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Karim, Anhar (May 10, 2020). "How One Disney Director Is Finishing A Movie During Coronavirus". Forbes. Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Tuttle, Brittani (December 10, 2020). "Walt Disney Studios shares upcoming slate for Disney+ during Disney Investor Day 2020". attractionsmagazine.com. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "Flora & Ulysses (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 20, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  9. ^ "Flora & Ulysses Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.

External links[edit]