Is the new Disney+ live action film ok for children? Flora & Ulysses Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent guide to the Disney Plus streaming movie. No spoilers! #FloraandUlysses
Flora & Ulysses Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
Confession: I always thought of squirrels as rabid rats with tails.
But after watching the new Disney+ streaming release of Flora & Ulysses, I might have a greater appreciation for one of God’s creatures. Bringing the award-winning children’s book to life, Disney Plus has a heck of a job trying to convey and live up to the creative genius and cadence of author Kate DiCamillo. Does the Disney magic do it’s thing?
In this Flora & Ulysses Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m talking all about the visuals (how good is that CGI?), the story (does it even compare to the award-winning book?), breaking down that PG rating for parents in terms of language, adult themes, violence, and what age rating is recommended for this film. A full parent review with no spoilers, while Disney+ may seem all kid-friendly, Flora & Ulysses may NOT be suitable for the whole family to watch.
While mostly relying on live-action, Disney+ does use a 100% CGI squirrel to tell most of this heroic tale. (Say that 5 times fast). Believable and adorable, the CGI animals in Flora & Ulysses are fun and story enhancing. Thankfully, Disney did not cheapen the effects because of straight-to-streaming, very comparable to the CGI used in all-new theater-released films.
If you and your kids haven’t read the Newberry Medal award-winning book “Flora & Ulysses” yet by author Kate DiCamillo, I highly recommend doing so before seeing this film. While the book provides great “bones” to the story of this Flora & Ulysses film, I have to say in true Disney form, the Disney+ original movie is one of those rare cases where the movie is BETTER than the book. Yes, I said BETTER. And let me just say, I don’t offer “better” critiqued storylines that often.
Following the life of middle grader Flora and the super-powered squirrel Ulysses, this unlikely heroic duo teams up to save the world through poetry, humor, and love…or something. With Flora’s creative mind and use of big words, Ulysses’ action-packed animal hijinks and fun performances from Alyson Hannigan (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”/”How I Met Your Mother”) and Ben Schwartz (“Sonic The Hedgehog Movie“/”DuckTales”), it’s a tragicomedy coming of age story that encompasses the love of family, friendship, and unlikely heroism.
With Ulysses’ adorable character entering into the story early, this movie keeps a steady pace and a easily digestible story that families can appreciate together in the 91 minute span. Filled with tons of pop culture references, comic book Easter Eggs (yes, lots of Marvel superhero references that your kids will love searching for!) and author Easter Eggs (Kate DiCamillo has a cameo!), and even DuckTales Easter Eggs, there’s something for everyone in this family-friendly film. Is Flora & Ulysses safe for kids?
That PG Rating
Is Flora and Ulysses safe for kids? With film age ratings unpredictable these days, PG rating oscillating between Incredibles 2 intense to Christopher Robin calm, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie is family friendly – and worth possibly paying those Disney+ subscription fees. (Most recently, the Pixar Soul PG rating had a questionable amount of colorful language.) Is Flora & Ulysses movie ok for children? Just because this is a Disney+ original film, doesn’t mean that that this film is necessarily is safe for kids.
Why is Flora & Ulysses rated PG? Flora & Ulysses movie is rated PG for “some mild action and thematic elements.” However, I do think this MPAA rating may be missing a step when dealing with children watching. In this Flora and Ulysses Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m breaking down the PG rating as a parent guide to the film. And nope, I don’t think all kids will be loving this film.
Language. Thankfully, there are no hidden swearing in this film. There is one instance of “Oh, dang it!” used by the main character, Flora. But otherwise, this is a very clean film for phrasing.
Adult themes. Flora’s family is a little “broken” during this film. Use of modern day terms like “divorce,” “separation,” and main characters dealing with sadness/depression are common themes throughout this film. This may need explaining to younger children. As far as love goes, there is a moment of two kids holding hands, but can easily be explained in friendship terms versus romance.
Violence. This is the part that parents of sensitive children will need to pay attention to. Violence does play a heavy role, especially when it comes to kids who love animals (and hey, maybe even humans.)
Tranquilizer guns are seen and used often in this story. At first look by kids (even my 8-year old daughter asked), they can be perceived as “real” versus tranquilizer. This may need explanation and reassurance. However, these guns are not only pointed towards multiple animals in this film, they’re also used on humans. There is one scene that may be disturbing, where a tranquilizer dart is shot into a person’s neck.
I wish I could say that the tranquilizers are the only use of violence in this film. Actual hitting with fists and throwing of the CGI animals occurs in this film also, which can be emotional for little ones. While animal violence only occurs towards the CGI animals, there are also real animals (dogs, birds, cats, etc.) seen throughout the film as well. That could be confusing! Animal cruelty can be easily tied to this film, which can be upsetting to animal-loving kids. I definitely recommend parents to pre-screen for sensitive tots.
What Flora & Ulysses movie age rating is recommended?
Is Flora & Ulysses kid friendly? What age rating is recommended for Flora & Ulysses movie? That’s a tough one. Because this film rides so much on “sensitivity to animal violence,” the age span here can vary greatly for children. While my 8-year old daughter could easily oversee the fiction part of this film, kids who have not reached that critical thinking stage of fiction versus non-fiction may portray this movie as real-life.
What age rating is recommended to watch Flora & Ulysses? If allowing kids under the age of 6-years old to watch, I highly encourage the parents to watch alongside to answer any questions right away. But older kids of 7-years and up I think can detach the life-like animal cruelty and appreciate the true message of the film in a kid-friendly way.
It was smart of Disney+ to release Flora & Ulysses direct to streaming. While the plot is simple and somewhat predictable, book fans will appreciate the twists to the original story without overreaching for Academy Award success. Comic book fans will love the references. Actor fans will appreciate the performances. And I think everyone will have a new appreciation for squirrels. Be sure to stay for the credits for one pre-credit end scene that will have little ones giggling.
It’s sweet, simple and yet on the cusp of creatively daring. Flora & Ulysses is a modern day family film with a good mix of everything: story, comedy, action, pop culture, family, and hope. And squirrels, don’t forget squirrels.
Follow Flora & Ulysses on social media:
- Website: https://disneyplusoriginals.disney.com/movie/flora-and-ulysses
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyPlus/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneyplus
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/floraandulysses/
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The all-new original movie Flora & Ulysses will be released on Friday February 19, 2021, streaming only on Disney+. Will your family be watching?
I was invited to screen this film in exchange for this Flora & Ulysses Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Disney+. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!