MO-om! Phineas and Ferb are making a full-length feature!
Aw, relax Candace. It's not just Phineas and Ferb and Perry the Platypus (a.k.a. Agent P) off on one of their parallel adventures. This time you get to go along, and so does Jeremy, that unrequited heartthrob of yours.
In fact, fans of the hit Disney Channel TV series can relax too, because "Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension" plays like a movie but feels like the TV show.
Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh managed to expand their 30 minute format so that it nicely fills a 77-minute space. Fans of the show will feel right at home and have fun spotting numerous allusions--"Star Wars," especially--though perhaps there aren't quite as many zippy lines this outing. You notice it mostly in the third act, which sort of deteriorates into one big battle. That'll be just fine with some fans, but others may have wanted a little more brain-wave action all the way through.
For those who've never seen the TV show, the premise is clever--the perfect, parental-approved antidote to kids who complain, "I'm bored." Phineas and Ferb are two stepbrothers who live the maxim, "Boredom is a failure of the imagination." As the opening theme song gleefully says,
There's a hundred and four days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it
Like maybe . . .
Building a rocket
Or fighting a mummy
Or climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Discovering something that doesn't exist (Hey!)
Or giving a monkey a shower
Surfing tidal waves
Or locating Frankenstein's brain (It's over here!)
Finding a dodo bird
Painting a continent
Or driving your sister insane (Phineas!)
As you can see
There's a whole lot of stuff to do
Before school starts this fall (Come on Perry)
So stick with us ‘cause Phineas and Ferb
Are gonna do it all
So stick with us ‘cause Phineas and Ferb
Are gonna do it all (MO-om! Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!)
In this full-length feature, Agent P is cautioned about keeping his identity secret from his family, with whom he seems to be spending a lot of time. If they ever find out he's a secret agent, why, Perry will have to be relocated. Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Agent P's nemesis who keeps trying to find a plan to conquer the entire Tristate Area, has come up with an "Otherdimensionator" that all of them enter. Not only does Perry blow his cover with the boys, but they all are surprised to learn than in an alternate universe Dr. Doofenshmirtz is actually (not just comically) evil, and he rules his own Tristate Area with the help of robots and Agent P, whom he's turned into a cyborg. Heavy stuff, huh?
So will the gang lose themselves in the 2nd Dimension? Will the Otherdimensionator provide a way for the evil and successful Dr. Doof to conquer another Tristate Area? And what's up with Candace's character in the alternate universe? How did she get to be such a firebrand resistance fighter? And can the real Candace handle it if Jeremy goes away for college?
As I said, everything kind of collapses into one big ball of action near the end, but along the way there's the familiar fun ride, with the characters not only being themselves, but confronting their alternate selves with appropriately funny reactions. All of the voice talents are onboard, too: Dee Bradley Baker (as Perry), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (as Ferb), Vincent Martella (as Phineas), Ashley Tisdale (as Candace), Mitchel Musso (as Jeremy), and Dan Povenmire (as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz). The only irony is that this film about making the best out of summer vacation is released after the kids are already in school. Oh well. At least they can hum one of the soundtrack's catchy tunes while they work.
"The Movie" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it looks exactly like the TV series, with bright colors and strong edges. No complaints here.
The audio expands to fill all the channels on this English, French, or Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, with subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish. Especially in that noisy third act it's a vibrant, dynamic soundtrack, but when the songs kick in so do the effects speakers. Dialogue is clear and nicely prioritized, too.
Included is a heavy paper stock kit to build your own Platypult, complete with circular cutouts of the gang that you can launch. I don't know how much play it'll get, but the kids might have fun putting it together. This two-disc set includes a plain disc of the movie and a Digital Copy that also has eight music tracks on it that you can transfer to your mobile device. That's good news for fans, because there are some catchy numbers here. Directions are included, but it works with iTunes and Windows Media Player.
As for traditional disc content, eight deleted scenes are included, along with a bonus episode, "Attack of the 50-Foot Sister," playable with character/creator commentary. Lesser features include the mostly musical: Perry-oke, Dr. D's Jukebox-Inator, and the usual complement of trailers.
Fans of "Phineas and Ferb" should be pleased with this feature-length film and the ways that favorite characters are tweaked.