Flora & Ulysses is a Disney+ original movie, directed by Lena Khan and written by Brad Copeland. The film is based on the children's novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. It was released on February 19, 2021.
Flora Buckman is a cynical ten-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 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 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 her neighbor'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 a donut diner 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 and 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 ranger duty following an infestation. 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 due to his mean boss. 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 their 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 after Ulysses gives her encouragement.
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 step-father'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 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.
- Matilda Lawler as Flora Buckman
- John Kassir as Ulysses
- Alyson Hannigan as Phyllis Buckman
- Ben Schwartz as George Buckman
- Anna Deveare Smith as Dr. Meescham
- Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as William Spiver
- Janeane Garofalo as Marissa
- Danny Pudi as Miller
- Darien Martin as Incandesto/Alfred T. Slipper
- Kate Micucci as Rita
- Bobby Moynihan as Stanlee
- Nancy Robertson as Tootie Tickham
- Kate DiCamillo as Kate
On June 13, 2019, Gil Netter is producing the project. On June 27, 2019, Lena Khan was announced as director, filming began in Vancouver. Filming wrapped on August 23, 2019.
According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 70% of 47 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.4/10. the website's critics consensus reads: "Agreeable if not exceptional, Flora & Ulysses offers a fun, funny, family-friendly diversion -- and a furry twist on the superhero genre." According to Metacritic, which assigned it a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 based on seven critics, the film received "mixed or average reviews".
- The film reunites Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan and Kate Micucci; the voices of Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby Vanderquack respectively in DuckTales.
- Moynihan's character, Stanlee, is seen reading a DuckTales 2017 comic in his introduction and even says Louie's catchphrase, "H'oh boy."
- Ironically, John Kassir, who provides the vocal effects for Ulysses in the film, is one of the current voices of Scrooge McDuck, although he does not voice the character in DuckTales.
- The film utilizes images from Marvel Comics, as Disney owns Marvel Entertainment. Ironically, Marvel has a squirrel based superhero named Squirrel Girl who is never mentioned in the film. Also some issues from DC Comics can be seen such as Batman and Green Lantern.
- The odd spelling of Stanlee's name is possibly a reference to Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee.
- One of the buttons on Flora's backpack is of one of the Little Green Men from the Toy Story franchise.
- The door bell to Flora's house plays the famous "Imperial March" theme from the Star Wars franchise.
- Flora says "I love you 3000", an homage to Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame.
- One of the pets in the Animal Control Center is named Poppins, a possible nod to Mary Poppins.
- The soundtrack was released on February 19, 2021.