Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension
When Peter and Kathleen David rave about something, I tend to pay attention. In this case, it was the Disney animated series, Phineas and Ferb, which they explained, featured two boys — Phineas Flynn (Vincent Martella) and Ferb Fletcher (Thomas Sangster) — on summer vacation. Every episode has them do some over-the-top activity that catches the attention of Phineas’ older sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale), left to babysit them, and she tries to bust them ala Ferris Bueller. Each episode ends with her failing. But wait, there’s more! Apparently, the boys have a pet platypus, Petey, who is secretly an espionage agent who devises ways to perform his missions without being discovered by the boys. Invariably, the boys’ activity and that of Agent P dovetail in imaginative ways.
Since 2007, this tightly template show has been enchanting adults and children alike, bringing in high ratings and tons of merchandise dollars. While the name was familiar to me, I had no idea it would be so fresh, cool, and original. When the opportunity to review this week’s release of Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension arrived, I couldn’t resist. The 77 minute movie takes the normal 12-minute premise and blows it up, letting everything that can’t happen on a typical episode occur. For example, not only is Petey’s secret revealed to the boys, but Candace finally learns the truth and catches the boys in the act.
Some act. The evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire) has completed work on a device that accesses a parallel world despite Agent P’s efforts. And you know what happens when parallel worlds meet – chaos ensues. A chaotic show in short snippets becomes a sprawling, chaotic story that has doubles meeting, worlds crossed over, secrets revealed, flaws exposed, and regardless of world, oblivious parents.
The entertaining and at times hilarious story does overstay its welcome. The concept is stretched just beyond its limits with songs and action sequences and grew tedious towards the end. I gather the telefilm, which first aired this summer to astonishing ratings, has visual and verbal cues to armloads of previous episodes, although that did not diminish the charm of the adventure. There are many hilarious bits for the adults and plenty of slapstick hijinks for the young at heart. It’s chock full of music, too, with many many songs, about half of which are on the commercial CD and ten more can be found on a Walmart exclusive version.
What I enjoyed best is the genuine affection among the siblings, even if Ferb is a stepbrother. The boys have to make a tough choice towards the end, resetting the status quo you know is coming, but it’s done with heart and soul, a refreshing pause in the lunacy for some genuine emotion.
The disc comes with a digital copy and a host of audience appropriate extras including eight songs downloadable as MP3s, eight deleted scenes, a “Perry-oke” sing along feature, “Dr. D’s Jukebox-inator”, “Prance Askance Execution”, and the episode “Attack of the 50 Foot Sister” with character and creator commentary. There are a handful of easy-to-find Easter Eggs and for a limited time, copies come with $6 off Disney coupons and a Platypult Kit, allowing you to construct your very own.