Tenet? I’m sorry, no, THIS is actually the biggest movie release of the week. Well, it is when you’re currently having to isolate at home and cannot go to the cinema for a few weeks. Despite that, I was actually way more excited for this to hit Disney+ this morning than a man my age probably should have been, and I have been for sometime, since it was first announced. I even managed to convince my daughter to get up early and watch with me, recreating those wonderful days when we both used to get up bright and early on a Saturday morning and sit and watch back to back episodes.
For the uninitiated, Phineas and Ferb are two step-brothers who spend their summer holiday coming up with highly elaborate ways to occupy every day, usually resulting in some wacky adventures and an extremely frustrated sister, Candace. Candace is forever trying to bust the boys and get their mum to catch them in the act, only to fail every time as some last second incident conveniently erases any evidence. Oh, and they also have a pet platypus called Perry, who without their knowledge works as an agent for a secret animal organisation, trying each episode to thwart the latest evil scheme hatched by Dr Doofenshmirtz. It’s very funny, features some incredibly catchy songs, and is just an extremely well written show for both kids and adults to enjoy. Running for four seasons, and racking up over 200 episodes before ending in 2015, the show also spawned a number of crossover specials involving Marvel and Star Wars.
Candace against the universe is the second feature length Phineas and Ferb movie and opens with Candace, lamenting the sad fact that no matter what she does, she never manages to successfully bust her brothers. All of this is delivered in the form of a song, and acts as a nostalgic reminder of some of the crazy inventions and adventures the boys have been involved in over the course of the series. The song ends with another perfect chance for Candace to bust the boys, who are currently enjoying themselves with their friends in the back garden. But of course, she fails. After heading out to the front of the house, and meeting up with friend Vanessa, she spots an alien spaceship. Believing her brothers to be behind it somehow, she and Vanessa are sucked up inside, before taking off and shooting up into the sky.
The boys see Candace flying away in the ship, and after photographing the alien license plate, are able to quickly identify where she’s headed (as you do…). They round up the gang and quickly rustle up a portal in their back garden (as you do…), in order to jump to the planet where Candace is being taken. The portal takes them via Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc, where they pick up Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus (unknowingly), before heading off in a spaceship of their own. When they do catch up with Candace, they discover that she is being hailed as ‘the chosen one’ by the alien race that captured her. But does the queen of the planet have a more sinister reason for bringing Candace all this way?
It’s fair to say that, unless you’re already a fan of the show, you’re unlikely to have any interest whatsoever in watching Candace Against the Universe. For fans of the show though, this is a wonderful trip down memory lane, unless you’ve already spent all of lockdown recently catching up on all of the episodes on Disney+, and it feels so good to be back in the company of such wonderful characters. There’s a lot of comfort to be had from the running gags and themes of the episode format of the show, and the only thing I found with this movie, and the crossover shows, is that they end up feeling like a dragged out episode at times, tending to sag a little around the middle.
It’s a very minor complaint though. The songs are as good as ever, including a song from Doofenshmirtz about ‘adulting’, and the humour is still smart and on point, although Buford does tend to get some of the funnier lines in my opinion. And when Buford gets ridiculed for bringing a canoe with him on their trip to the alien planet, and Doofenshmirtz gets laughed at for inventing something as stupid as a “Chicken Replace-inator” – basically a gun which swaps whatever you fire at with the nearest chicken – you just know they’re working on delivering us some great gags later on throughout the movie. And obviously, Perry the Platypus gets to save the day as usual, and without anyone even realising it. It’s like being back in the company of old friends. Fingers crossed that this isn’t the last we see of Phineas, Ferb and the gang.