A short review on the newest addition to the Phineas and Ferb universe.
It isn’t controversial to say that Phineas and Ferb is one of the most beloved children’s shows of all time. An episodic chronicle of the adventures of two brothers, Phineas and Ferb, trying to make the most out of their summer by building wacky machines with their friends and annoying their older sister, while their pet platypus, Perry, lives his double life as a secret agent thwarting the plans of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. A strange concept still beloved by millions despite the fact that the finale was all the way in 2015. Who doesn’t love Phineas and Ferb? It’s one of those shows that anyone can fall in love with, consisting of iconic musical numbers, loveable characters, and hilarious meta jokes as well as some of the most creative concepts brought to television. Given this show’s popularity, with multiple crossovers and even a fantastic movie, it’s no surprise that Disney wanted to milk the franchise more by making another film.
Like everything involving Phineas and Ferb, this movie was incredibly fun. It was absolutely hilarious, with the meta humor that I enjoy so much in the original. If one joke doesn’t work for you, there are at least 10 more coming up that are just as good and likely tailored to your sense of humor. And the animation is really well done, even smoother than the show. Every joke just works so well, and the recurring jokes aren’t beaten to death. The writers knew exactly when a joke would get old and when the joke would work, and it’s presented within the story very well.
The movie utilizes its cast marvelously, and almost everyone has something to do. Even Stacy and Jeremey, although not in the movie that much, steal the spotlight with their few amazing scenes in the 3rd Act. Isabella isn’t reduced to pining for Phineas and has a really funny antagonistic relationship with Doof. Baljeet with his Space Adventures, and Buford with the canoe. Vanessa being a badass, Perry deserving more recognition, I could go on! Everyone has something to do, whether it’s big or small. And Candace gets the most spotlight.
Candace makes for a strong emotional core. Her entire conflict is incredibly relatable: feeling like a “meaningless speck in the universe”, except for her it’s probably a lot worse having siblings like Phineas and Ferb, who are engineering prodigies while she’s just a normal teenager. It’s a logical explanation for why she has to stop her brothers in order to prove validate herself. After constantly facing setback after setback with a mother who dismisses her and a world that worships her brothers, it makes sense that in a place where she’s seen as “the Chosen One,” she wouldn’t want to leave. Watching Candace recognize her mistakes and grow by the end is immensely satisfying.
While the movie on its own is great, it doesn’t fare that well against other Phineas and Ferb movies. The songs themselves are either hit or miss, and while it’s hits are good, they don’t come close to the masterful hits like S.I.M.P. or Busted. The alien planet is pretty bland and boring when you think about other alien planets the boys have been to. And Across the 2nd Dimension is an absolute masterpiece, so when I first watched the movie I couldn’t stop comparing the two. Now I know the difference: Across the 2nd Dimension has a better story and stronger emotional core, while Candace Against the Universe has better humor and a better usage of it’s extended cast. And while this isn’t near the level of quality of the first movie, it’s still an incredibly fun time that I highly recommend. I give it an 8 out of 10, and I plan on revisiting the movie and the show time and time again.