Disney // 2009 // 80 Minutes // Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // October 21st, 2010
Phineas: You know Ferb, just think of all of the wonderful things Santa does for us. And he never asks for anything in return. Wait, that's it! Ferb, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
[Ferb hands Phineas a blueprint]
Phineas: As usual, we're on the same -- OH! OH, man, no! That's not what I was thinking at all! Oh, dude!
[Ferb turns blueprint around]
Phineas: Oh, yeah. That's it!
Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher, two half-brothers living in Danville, Ohio, are bright, creative, and determined to have as much fun as possible during vacation -- summer or otherwise. If that means building a skyscraper in their backyard, so be it. Their antics drive their older sister Candace crazy, partly because everything gets cleaned up before she can rat the boys out to their mother, and partly because she almost ends up looking silly in front of her would-be boyfriend Jeremy. The boys' pet platypus, Perry, leads a double life as Secret Agent P, sworn nemesis of the diabolical Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the most ee-vil mastermind in the tri-state area. Phineas & Ferb has been one of the more charming parts of the Disney Channel lineup, and Phineas and Ferb: A Very Perry Christmas keeps up the gang's reputation.
The disc includes the Christmas special, and five Perry-centric episodes (one of which is included as an extra):
* "Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation"
Phineas & Ferb create a giant Thank You card for Santa; meanwhile, Doctor Doofenshmirtz seeks to use his Naughty-nator to get Santa to mark the entire tri-state area as "naughty." This episode was broadcast in a 33-minute version (for a 45-minute timeslot) and a 22-minute version (30-minute timeslot). The longer version is featured here.
* "Interview with a Platypus"
Phineas & Ferb create an animal translator in order to understand Perry; however, the invention takes a Dr. Doolittle-esque turn and lets them understand all animals. Doofenshmirtz tries to flood the entire tri-state area.
* "Oh, There You Are, Perry"
Perry goes missing, while Doofenshmirtz is downgraded to a low-level threat.
* "Chez Platypus"
The boys decide to open a four-star restaurant, while Doofenshmirtz dabbles in online dating.
* "Perry Lays an Egg"
The boys think the egg they found was laid by Perry; Doofenshmirtz wants revenge on the whales for stealing his girlfriend. Yes, you read that correctly.
* "The Doof Side of the Moon" (bonus episode; it was unaired at the time of release): The boys plan to build the world's tallest building; Doofenshmirtz plans to rotate the moon so that the dark side can increase the level of evil. That almost makes sense next to the whole "revenge on the whales" thing.
Unlike some Disney shows, Phineas and Ferb appeals to adults as well (in our house, at least). It has a sly sense of humor, and delights in making movie and TV references almost as much as Chuck, touching on everything from Psycho to A Charlie Brown Christmas.
As the court ruled in Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas, you've got to like that the boys don't have a mean bone in their body; as with Cyndi Lauper, they just want to have fun. For all the sibling rivalry between the boys and Candace, there's never any doubt that they care about one another. It's nice to have some focus on Perry. He may not have the raw magnetism of Rufus the Naked Mole Rat (of Kim Possible fame), but his storylines add a surreal touch to the proceedings.
Technically, the disc is solid, with a nice widescreen presentation. The show has been animated in widescreen from the beginning, but has been cropped for non-HD broadcast (and on the earlier DVDs); widescreen versions of the episodes are also available on iTunes. (I may have to go back and downgrade Phineas & Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas.) The stereo sound track is solid, but the outlandish nature of this show just screams for some surround action. The animation itself is simplistic, but the voice work more than compensates, particularly co-creator Dan Povenmire as Doofenshmirtz, and Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) as Candace. Both get to go completely over the top, and clearly have a lot of fun doing so.
There's a modest set of Christmas-themed extras. The virtual fireplace is kind of lame; you'd expect something much more impressive from Phineas & Ferb. Dr. D's Jukebox-Inator plays the songs from the Christmas special; actually, it just plays the section of the special with the song. Christmas Perry-Oki is a sing-along version of the Christmas special (just follow the bouncing Perry!). You also can read the various characters' letters to Santa. The show has always had some catchy and creative songs -- each episode has at least one original tune -- and "Keep on Building" is a somewhat irreverent look at the show's song-writing process.
Trivia: Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, co-creator and the voice of Major Monogram (Perry's supervisor), is the grandson of Les Brown, who had a band of some renown.
When you watch your kids use all manner of odds and ends to build a fort in the backyard, and they come up to you, smiles and dirt plastered across their faces in equal proportions, pointing to their creation and saying that they got the idea from Phineas & Ferb, you realize that there's something to be said for a show built not on bodily noises, but on the simple premise that children's only limitation is their imagination.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Christmas Goodies
* Official Site
* Wikipedia: Phineas & Ferb