Fans of the hit series will get an interstellar kick out of it.
I’ve only seen a few episodes of the hit Disney animated series “Phineas & Ferb,” but I have picked up the concept. They’re stepbrothers, who, on summer vacation, have one extravagant activity after another, whether it’s building a roller coaster or robots; and their older sister Candace tries to rat them out to their mom. Meanwhile, they have a pet platypus named Perry, who is a secret agent, stopping the evil Dr. Doofensmertz. And just as Candace has the proof to bust her brothers, the villain’s defeat always manages to destroy the evidence of the boys’ fun.
A few years after the series (created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh) ended, it has a new movie released on Disney+ called “Candace Against the Universe,” which doesn’t work as a theatrical release, but still has big laughs, catchy show tunes, and honest sweetness. This is enough to entertain fans of the series, and I was entertained by it as well.
The story involves Candace (voiced by Ashley Tisdale), who is at her wit’s end with Phineas (voiced by Vincent Martella) and Ferb (voiced by David Errigo) ruining her life with their countless ideas and inventions. She thinks the universe is against her, and then gets abducted by aliens and taken to a planet where their leader (voiced by Ali Wong) relates to her about having two versatile brothers. You can easily tell she’s the bad guy, especially since her servants are brainwashed, but unlike Alice Braga’s doctor antagonist in “The New Mutants,” the villainess delivers on spontaneous energy.
Meanwhile, the boys, their friends: Isabella (voiced by Alyson Stoner), Baljeet (voiced by Maulik Pancholy), Buford (voiced by Bobby Gaylor) and even Doofenshmirtz (voiced by Povenmire), must travel across the stars to find and save her. And to keep his identity a secret, Perry the Platypus (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) must help them in discreet.
The tone and dialogue doesn’t really have that theatrical movie release feel, but “Phineas & Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” keeps you going with its eccentricity and style. The voice actors (also featuring Tiffany Haddish only saying “Candace” whenever aliens explode due to excitement) sound like they’re enjoying waking their characters up, the numbers are catchy, if not extravagant, and the jokes never go for the obvious approaches.
You have the boys saying an alien name multiple times, Doofensmirtz thinking he’s smarter than the kids, and a joke about when you should introduce visitors to your hidden society. I was quite tickled by the way the creators handle them.
Speaking of which, the animation on both the show and movie is often dazzling with its traditional animation making the characters look and feel vibrant and lively. And some computer effects allow us to see the alien planets and contraptions with a sense of adventure.
This Disney+ release should help keep fans who miss the series at bay, and it has its heart and comedy in the right places.
Available on Disney+