“Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” stars Vincent Martella, Ashley Tisdale, David Errigo Jr., Dee Bradley Baker, Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, and Alyson Stoner. Released on Disney+ on August 28, 2020, the film has Phineas and Ferb rescuing their sister from aliens.
The film is directed by Bob Bowen, and it is based on the television series Phineas and Ferb created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. This summer has been a real bummer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop these two boys from making the last few days of summer the best few days of summer ever. “Phineas and Ferb" was a massive hit for Disney since its debut in 2008 in terms of the execution of its concept and its fun and lovable characters. I really appreciated this show for those two reasons as well as the fact that it captured the wacky imaginations of kids during their three-month-long break from school in an amusing and comical way. The show lasted for four seasons until it came to a close on June 12, 2015, which means that their summer vacation lasted for seven years. Man, what I would’ve give to have our summer vacation last as long as Phineas and Ferb’s. Its success spawned numerous amounts of products like merchandise and video games as well as a short-lived spin-off series, “Take Two with Phineas and Ferb”, two crossover specials, and the 2011 television film, “Across the 2nd Dimension”. Five years after the show ended, the two creative stepbrothers are back for a brand new adventure that’s streaming exclusively on Disney+. Is this imaginative journey worth taking before summer ends? Let’s find out.
Taking place before the series finale, the story follows Phineas (Martella) and Ferb (Errigo Jr.), two stepbrothers who make every day of their summer vacation a blast with their ingenious projects and their crazy misadventures. Their older sister Candace (Tisdale) always attempts to expose them and their inventions to their mother, but ends up failing every time. One day, she, along with Vanessa (Olivia Olson), gets abducted by a mysterious alien ship which takes them to a utopia in a far-off planet ruled by the intergalactic leader Super Super Big Doctor (Ali Wong). Yes, that is literally her name. It’s up to Phineas and Ferb to travel to the outer reaches of space and rescue their sister with the help of their friends and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Povenmire), a scientist who happens to be Vanessa’s father. Oh, and their pet platypus Perry (Baker), who happens to be a secret agent in case you forgot, is also along for the ride. While the film does revolve around the title characters, it mostly focuses on their sister Candace, who believes that the whole universe is against her because of her constant failure to bust her brothers. In the midst of the characters’ sci-fi adventure, the story represents the relationship between Phineas, Ferb, and Candace by showcasing the fact that the only people that can make you special are the ones who love you, especially yourself. This is a message that will definitely resonate with real-life siblings. Like “Across the 2nd Dimension”, the film is a by-the-numbers, kid-friendly adventure that features plenty of musical numbers, fun characters, and a fast-paced plot that’ll surely keep the young fans glued to the screens. I think that “Across the 2nd Dimension” was a bit better when it comes to developing the relationship between some of the main characters, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time watching “Candace Against the Universe”. Sure, the plot is pretty simplistic and the songs, although catchy and funny, aren’t as memorable as some of the songs from the show, but aside from that, this is a welcoming addition to a franchise that’s full of laughs, creativity, and heart. The entire voice cast from the series reprised their respective roles for the film, except for Thomas Brodie-Sangster who was replaced by David Errigo Jr. for the voice of Ferb, and they were just as talented as ever. Vincent Martella still delivered the liveliness and charm into his voice as Phineas, and Ashley Tisdale offered enough moments for her character Candace to earn this important spotlight. My personal highlight has to be Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who is voiced marvelously by one of the show’s creators Dan Povenmire. Doofenshmirtz is one of my favorite characters from the show because of his personality and his brand of humor, so seeing him again in all of his idiotic glory is enough to put so much joy into my soul. I also thought Ali Wong was pretty good in her role as Super Super Big Doctor, an alien queen whose problems are quite similar to Candace’s. Her true intentions were very predictable, but other than that, I didn’t mind this character at all. The film’s animation has the same traditional 2D style as the show itself, and honestly, it looks better this way. The animation in the film may not have been able to match the high-quality scale of its “full-length feature” status, but it offered plenty of colors and lively sequences to compensate for its easy-to-spot flaw.
Overall, “Candace Against the Universe” is a suitable cartoon adventure that marks the brief return of one of Disney’s most recent successes of the past decade. The story is very enjoyable despite a couple of shortcomings, the characters are genuinely endearing, the vocal performances are top-notch, and the animation is quite decent for the most part. This is another solid addition to the Disney+ library that will entertain plenty of kids and their parents as well as a respectable way to end this year’s summer movie season. This is definitely a summer movie season that we won’t soon forget when it comes to what is happening outside, but all that matters right now, in my eyes, is that we got films like this and “Bill & Ted” to keep us all in a good mood for the rest of the year. Man, I hope I’m right. If you’re a fan of “Phineas and Ferb” or if you have a child who happens to watch the show every day, this film is definitely worth a look at.