Cert – U/ Recommended for viewers aged 6+, Run-time – 1 hour 26 minutes, Director – Bob Bowen
Young inventors Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (David Errigo Jr) venture into space to rescue their older sister (Ashley Tisdale) from alien abductors.
It seems like there’s been well over 104 days of self-isolation and nothing’s come through that could end it. But, the biggest problem during this pandemic has been finding a good way to spend it. However, now arrives Phineas And Ferb The Movie to hopefully relieve some lockdown blues. Disney’s hit show Phineas And Ferb ran for seven years with just as many adults enjoying the animated antics of the two titular stepbrothers as they built the likes of roller-coasters, giant robots, beaches and even a jet sized paper plane in their back garden (47% of the shows audience was said to be adults). Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh were initially reluctant to return to the characters, however when asked to make a film about the duo for Disney’s streaming service Disney+ they realised that they missed the pair and pressed ahead with making another feature length outing – having previously made a TV Movie in the form of Across The 2nd Dimension.
In many ways Candace Against The Universe acts simply as an extended version of a standard 22 minute TV episode. The general formula and structure is roughly the same, although perhaps with a few more songs than usual and yet there’s a similar feeling. The general simplicity somehow helps the film with it’s short 86 minute run-time. Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (David Errigo Jr) find themselves jetting off into space to rescue their older sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale) after she finds herself abducted by aliens. Joined by their friends and the evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire); who regularly finds himself fighting the stepbrothers pet platypus Perry, although everyone else is unaware of the alias of Agent P, and finds his daughter Vanessa (Olivia Olson) also having been abducted, the group venture off into the depths of space.
Meanwhile Candace finds herself finally being seen and heard on a far off alien planet. Being known as The Chosen One she makes friends with the alien leader Super Super Big Doctor (Ali Wong), alongside holding the respect and adoration of the other aliens, from the welcome singers with their lengthy introduction numbers to the hard-pressure masseuses. There’s plenty within the film to keep it going throughout the run-time and never does it forget the Saturday morning cartoon style and feel that it holds so well. It knows what it is and what it wants to do and it succeeds and doing that and then some. Because of this there are plenty of laughs to be found within the various antics that unfold, managing to find new jokes instead of repeating the same ones – although some running gags from the show do make successful appearances. From the likably cheesy musical numbers to the references to one character bringing a canoe along for the journey there is a fine sense of comedy for the film.
Fans of the source show, both young and old, are sure to have a good time with this. The spirit and value are present and every member of the cast and crew have clearly had a great time being a part of this project. It shows and is emitted to the viewer for the duration of the film. And for those who aren’t aware of the show there’s still something to be found that can entertain and amuse. It’s delightfully daft and spot on in terms of it’s style and humour. Who cares if it’s simplistic? Even if it does feel like an extended episode that doesn’t get in the way of it and if anything helps it with its style. From the very start to the very end with each short musical burst, each fourth wall break and every new device and gadget – including a Chicken-Replace-Inator, one of the many outlandish inventions of Dr. Doofenshmirtz – there’s plenty of entertainment and humour to be found within this. Escaping to the far reaches of space, sometimes at twice the speed of light, this is perhaps the perfect post-lockdown film treat.
Keeping that Saturday morning cartoon style at its core Candace Against The Universe has a fine sense of humour to amuse everyone young and old. It might feel like an extended episode but this is a fast-flowing, entertaining slice of cartoon fun. It knows what it’s gonna do today and has a lot of fun while doing it!