Perry the Platypus has now replaced Howard the Duck as Judge Patrick Naugle's favorite water fowl.
Our reviews of Phineas And Ferb: A Very Perry Christmas (published October 21st, 2010), Phineas And Ferb: The Daze Of Summer (published February 9th, 2009), Phineas And Ferb: The Fast And The Phineas (published August 6th, 2008), and Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files: Animal Agents (published March 3rd, 2013) are also available.
Get ready for mayhem².
I remember a time when taking an animated Saturday morning cartoon and turning it into a feature length movie was a big freakin' deal. When Transformers: The Movie came out in the mid 1980s—in theaters, no less!—it was a child's version of Citizen Kane. Nowadays kids' animated series are turned into a movie about thirty seconds after the third episode airs. Case in point: Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, now available on DVD.
Facts of the Case
As described on the back of the package (because, frankly, this all makes my head spin):
"Just when you thought Phineas and Ferb had done it all, they take their adventures to a whole new dimension in their first full length movie—Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension! When Phineas, Ferb and Perry follow Dr. Doofenshmirtz through his "Otherdimensionator," they find themselves in an alternate universe where a second, truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz rules over his Tristate Area with an army of iron-fisted robots.
To save his friends from certain doom, Perry makes the ultimate sacrifice by revealing his secret identity as Agent P. Phineas and Ferb escape, meet their second dimensional selves and begin their own mission to rescue Perry. So beings an epic battle as our heroes try to save their home from the clutches of the evil Dr. Doof…and his sidekick Platyborg! Will evil Doof succeed and achieve dual world domination? Will Phineas and Ferb's sister Candace finally bust her brothers? Find out in this action packed, epic adventure so huge that it crosses over both time and space!"
I watched Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension because a friend of mine absolutely RAVES about the show. We're talkin' full blown three alarm awesomeness. To hear him discuss it, you'd think this Caddyshack for six year olds. I also know other parents who seem to think "Phineas and Ferb" is the second coming of kid's shows; apparently there are a lot of recurring gags throughout each episode and adult humor is plopped here and there (I assume to amuse the parents who are forced to sit through children's programming—Barney could take a lesson from this idea). I even know one person who watches the show and doesn't have kids. As a pop culture maven, I clearly needed to find out what all the hub-bub was about.
So I watched Phineas and Freb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension.
And I still don't really get it.
There were a few amusing moments in the show but overall Across the 2nd Dimension feels like just another cookie cutter kid's show with scatological humor and a lot of colors/lights/action to keep the little one's entertained. It could be that I've reached whatever plateau there is that doesn't allow my brain to process and appreciate youthful animation. Or, maybe I'm just a curmudgeon who wants to shake his fist at the neighborhood children and yell, "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!"
Yet, I admit that it's not all bad. I was amused during a few moments. To distract Phineas and Ferb, Perry decides to pee on the couch. I didn't know peeing gags were par for the course in children's entertainment (my how times have changed). I also liked some of the pop culture references sprinkled throughout the show and a musical number where Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his doopleganger portray various famous duos (including "The Honeymooners," Simon & Garfunkel, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson). So yeah, there are some humorous moments. The bad news is it's surrounded by a standard if overly complicated plot about traveling through space and time.
If there's one comforting aspect of the show it's that, in the past 30 years, apparently TV animation hasn't gained much ground. The show looks cheaply drawn, although this may be one of its charms; the show feels like a throwback to classic cartoons from the 1980s. The good news is that at seventy seven minutes the movie isn't very long, though for those who aren't used to this kind of cartoon it can feel like a barrage of the senses.
In the interest of fairness I asked my friend Russell if he would like to write a mini review of the film (Russell has two small boys who love the show):
"To get the '2D' humor in the movie you do need an appreciation of the character development of the past two seasons. In the second dimension Candice really stole the show with her desire to be all grown up. It was actually a breakthrough moment for her.
As for the first dimension, Dr. Doofenschmirtz was more sympathetic and even likable. It started with the simple deduction that all his "self destruct" buttons have been the reason his "-inators" won't work. This was highlighted at the end of the Dr. D's duet where he said in reference to doing a sitcom together, "You can be the cranky one." Finally the fact that Phineas and Ferb's inventions were brought back to save the world was a nice tribute for the show's fans. This is a show I'd watch with or without kids. Phineas and Ferb are always positive and never let life get in the way of having fun and milking the most out of life on summer vacation. And as my kids often ask me to "tell them a back story" about various life experiences, who wouldn't love telling some of these tales about their summer!
Across the 2nd Dimension is a great watch with plenty if laugh out loud moments for any of the shows fans or even casual watchers. I'd give it four out of five stars!
So there you go. A father of two children gave it four out of five stars. The bachelor with a dog and a bottle of gold Bacardi in his fridge gives in about two stars. It's up to you to decide who you want to listen to.
Across the 2nd Dimension is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and looks fine. We're not talking about Pixar quality programming, so you take what you can get. The colors are bright and fanciful, making sure kids will certainly enjoy watching. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, French and Spanish. There are some nice moments where all the speakers are engaged, though more often than not this is a rather standard straight-to-DVD animation mix. Also included on this disc are English, Spanish and French subtitles.
Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension includes eight deleted scenes, a bonus episode titled "Attack of the 50-Foot Sister" (that includes character/creator commentary), a couple of slight music features ("Perry-oke" and "Dr. D's Jukebox-inator"), some trailers for other Disney products and a heavy stock paper model that allows you make your own Perry Platypult.
Also included in this set is a bonus digital copy of the film on a second disc.
Across the 2nd Dimension will entertain fans of the show and kids who like odd, quirky television programming. While I can't say this was a great movie, I at least can admit that I'm not its target audience. Disney's work on this disc is average and acceptable.
Phineas and Freb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension is free to go because legions of fans may send me to another dimension if I choose otherwise!
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