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Phineas, Ferb and the movie that could have been better

| Friday, September 4, 2020

Jackie Junco | The Observer

TikTok made me do it. I have been saying that more than I ever thought was possible prior to quarantine, but alas, here we are; “Phineas and Ferb’s” creator Dan Povenmire took to TikTok to promote “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe.”

The opening of this movie is great, with an upbeat song full of quirky lines and familiar animation. The characters and structure let me sink into the nostalgic comfort of sitting in my basement watching the show as a kid. The “Phineas and Ferb” creators have never shied away from creativity, often choosing to break the fourth wall and mess with story structure to keep the show interesting. But, the plot of this movie falls flat. 

The team-up in this movie — finally, all the characters are on the same side — had potential comparable to an Avengers movie, but when they were all standing next to each other, fighting about who would be the leader or who is the most “adult,” I realized the only character that is remotely redeemable or interesting is Doctor Doofenshmirtz. It’s no wonder I was pulled in by the TikToks which predominantly featured him. The creators sacrifice all opportunities for meaningful lessons in cooperation and collective power for contemplating ideas about leadership and condemning Candace for wanting to feel special.

The movie’s biggest flaw is wanting to make itself larger than the show. Pulling the characters out of the tri-state area compromises all of their charms. The beauty of the show is that it starts the same way every time with the dull, repetitiveness of suburban life. Putting the characters in outer space and then in the position to save the world destroys their relatability. The creators raise the stakes without raising the characters’ abilities to deal with the stakes, so the drama falls flat. 

Where’s Perry? There is not enough Perry the Platypus. I understand that Doofenshmirtz working together with Phineas and Ferb prevents Perry from joining in without compromising his identity, but we could have had some more solo Perry — even a completely different Perry story. Perry only appearing in the beginning and end of this movie was the only thing that made me relate to Phineas. Where did he go? 

All of that being said, this movie has the jokes. The situations and plot aren’t particularly creative or humorous, but the dialogue is. It is full of references, puns, quirky behavior, fun details (like Jeremy LARPing), creative camera shots and pans. The interactions between the kids and Doofenshmirtz leads to plenty of zingers. In classic Disney fashion, it ends with a banger final song, which I appreciated.

I really wanted to like this movie. I wanted to laugh and be in awe of the creators, but it didn’t happen. I suggest you give this movie a chance, just don’t come in with high expectations because it won’t meet them.

Title: Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe

Starring: Vincent Martella, Dan Povenmire, Ashley Tisdale

Director: Dan Povenmire

If you like: The Suite Life Movie, Gravity Falls

Shamrocks: 2.5 out of 5

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