written BY: JACOB SMITH, guest writer
There’s 104 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe is here to brighten up your quarantine.
All of your favorite characters are back including the titular siblings, Perry the Platypus, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Norm the robot and even that one farmer dude that always gets yelled at by his wife for starting an unnecessary business.
As the title suggests, the role of the protagonist is passed from the two brothers to their older sister, Candace, as she struggles with the feeling that she’s not as special as her genius brothers.
Her journey of self-approval involves aliens, mind-controlling plants and a gadget that swaps anything with the nearest chicken. Making Candace the protagonist is a great decision as she has always seemed more fleshed out than Phineas and Ferb.
While they could carry 12-minute episode segments, the brothers are too stagnant as characters to make an hour and a half film compelling. Candace, on the other hand, has real motivation and flaws, allowing an actual character arc to occur.
Even though Ashley Tisdale (Candace) is taking the top billing, the other characters get more than enough room to shine.
Phineas and Ferb team up with Doofenshmirtz and get plenty of time to invent, Isabella and Baljeet utilize their strength and Buford carries around a canoe the whole time. I don’t know why.
Of course, everyone’s favorite pet, Perry the Platypus, gets a couple scenes to remind us why we all carried around ‘Agent P’ lunch boxes up until eighth grade.
While Phineas and Ferb has never been a stranger to musical numbers, this film amps up the amount of singing to make this a full-blown musical.
While the story works better as a musical, I didn’t find any of the songs very memorable. As a direct-to-Disney+ movie, I wasn’t expecting the movie to have Lion King or Beauty and the Beast tier music, but this soundtrack didn’t even live up to the Phineas and Ferb music of yesteryear.
Who could forget the classics such as “Busted” or “Ain’t Got Rhythm” tunes that are catchy almost to a fault. It took years to get “Gitchie Gitchie Goo” out of my head, and as I have revisited it for this review, it will probably take many more years to successfully exorcise the melody once more.
I couldn’t recall a single note of any of the songs in this movie after finishing it, but the animation that went with the music was entertaining enough.
Having not watched Phineas and Ferb in many years, I was impressed by how witty the writing is. The writers utilized meta humor and clever subversions of genre clichés in such a way that it felt like I was watching a PG version of Rick and Morty.
Since Disney+ has been out, I’ve rewatched a few of my old favorites such as Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody, and while the nostalgia is undeniably strong, the jokes don’t hold up for me.
I was pleasantly surprised by how funny I still find Phineas and Ferb. I might not have been laughing like an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but I was smiling the whole time.
Overall, I recommend Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe to anyone who grew up watching the stepbrothers building roller coasters and backyard beaches and anyone who refused to take off their Perry the Platypus onesie on the first day of school each year.