Flora and Ulysses cast: Matilda Lawler, Ben Schwartz, Alison Hannigan
Flora and Ulysses Director: Leena khan
Flora and Ulysses Rating: 3
In Flora and Ulysses, Disney’s latest cinematic offering running on Hotstar in India, it becomes clear that Disney is the patron saint of all superheroes. Not only those who fly, run, or are invisible, but also among those who fit into one’s pocket and fill the furret. And as we continue to meet typical superheroes in their tights and suits as the year progresses, Disney embarks on a superhero tour with the squirrels.
Flora, a 10-year-old who with her quick wit and resourcefulness puts anyone to shame, finds a simple garden variety squirrel, Ulysses, and decides to take her home. Flora, while having all this and more, has the additional burden of being a cynic. She is working with her parents who have separated and are struggling in their respective areas – one a failed comic book writer (Ben Schwartz) and the other a struggling romance writer (Alison Hannigan). Throw in a pet squirrel, who suddenly possesses Superpower in a strange house accident, and Voila, we have a Disney movie in our hands. But all the credit cannot go to the cinematic veteran. The film is based on the famous novel by the same name, written by Kate Dynamillo.
It is enough to see the man play a second fiddle to a small orange ball of fur, as the euphoric schemer, run and jumpers to save Flora and Co from irreparable damage. And right on cue, when the bond between Flora and Ulys was as tight as it could be, enter the local pest control man, Miller (Danny Pudi, the quintessential aviator-clad-evil form) who swears by this Swear that ‘squirrels can’t’ Dominate ‘. Miller is on a mission to capture the Ulysses. We all know how this happens.
The highlight of the film is the bizarre, chuckle-worthy detail. Home from the costume, home to the many pop-culture references that have been woven – we hear Jack and Rose from Avengers to Titanic to I Love You 3000 in the same breath. Flora’s imagination gives room for enough change for an animated 3D alternate world, and one can just soak it all in. The restriction between Flora and almost everyone, keeps you busy and you mentally thank yourself for not having to face Flora. .
Classic Disney themes of family, happiness, general goodness pop their heads over and over again. The film promises to be an enjoyable, uplifting, mood-altering film. Watch for Flora’s antics to ensure this. Her visual presence is quite magnetic, we are definitely the future A-list Hollywood star on our hands. It is interesting to see Schwartz playing a semi-brooding, non-hyper character for the first time. I wish the story would have spent more time on the arc between him and Hannigan who plays his wife and Flora’s mother. We never really fully know why the two separated.
Watch Flora and Ulysses, curled up on the couch, preferably with their family. With the year that the whole world has, we can do it with films that make you believe that better things are around the corner.