Officially premiering in 2008 on the Disney Channel, Phineas and Ferb was a cartoon television show created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, who previously worked on both The Simpsons and Rocko’s Modern Life. Running until 2015, each episode was set during Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb’s (David Errigo Jr., who has been voicing the character since 2018 due to a scheduling conflict meaning Thomas Sangster – Game of Thrones – could not reprise his role) summer holidays, with them coming up with what they were going to do that day.
Each day would involve some sort of crazy outlandish scheme, in which their older sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale) would try and ‘tell on them’ to their mother, Linda (Caroline Rhea). In addition to the boys (who were actually step-brothers, as creators felt that blended families were underused in kids television) and their group of friends, the show also featured the antics of their pet platypus, Perry (Dee Bradley Baker). Also known as Agent P, Perry secretly worked for an all-animal government organisation, OWCA – Organisation Without a Cool Acronym – pitting him against the easily-thwarted evil schemes of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire).
While the show was in production there was a movie length outing, Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, and since its end a (sort of) spin-off in the form of another animated show called Milo Murphy’s Law. Also created by Povenmire and Marsh, there has been a crossover with Phineas and Ferb and several characters have gone on to become recurring characters in the new show. There was meant to be another feature length film back in 2013 that sadly never occurred, but once again we are treated to the brothers’ wacky hijinks with Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against The Universe.
First announced last year, and premiering on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, the film is set within the same holiday of the television show, before the show’s finale. It features a lot of throwbacks and references that any fan of the show will love, and is full of catchy songs, although perhaps none as memorable as those that came from the show. There are a few pop culture references that will likely date it in the years to come, but there is enough humour and adventure in its eighty-six minute run time to keep both new viewers and firm fans entertained. For those not familiar with the show, the first song, ‘Such A Beautiful Day’, serves as both a recap and a introduction to some of the running themes and the characters. The rest of the soundtrack is good, the songs always furthering the plot and not needlessly, it was just a shame we could not have a return from the band Bowling For Soup who did the show’s original theme.
The film focuses on big sister Candace, which is a nice change of pace, who is feeling downtrodden as her repeated attempts to bust her brothers keep meeting with failure. Due to her assumption that an alien spaceship is another scheme of her brothers’ she isn’t put off going near it. This, of course, backfires when it sucks up both her and Vanessa (Olivia Olson), Dr Doofenshmirtz’s daughter, and takes them to a distant alien planet. There she is made to feel special by the alien leader, Super Super Big Doctor (Ali Wong), when she is proclaimed to be the Chosen One. From there things start to go rapidly down hill, but luckily for Candace her brothers are on the way to rescue her, and Perry the Platypus is not far behind them. It is a good adventure romp, with an easy to follow plotline and should keep the attention of younger viewers.
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Like most film productions slated to be released this year, the film was also impacted by Covid-19, and many cast members had to record their lines in their own homes, which were then sent to the film’s editors. Thankfully this outing for Phineas and Ferb did not vanish from Disney’s release schedule and we got to experience a brand new adventure. With the creators also saying that they had missed the characters, we remain hopeful that we might see more of them again in the future, until then we can rewatch the original show and the films on Disney+ to our heart’s content.