‘Invader Zim’ Returns to “Enter the Florpus”

Confession time: I’m not a fan of Invader Zim. That doesn’t mean that I dislike the show or have anything against it… I just never watched it. I wasn’t even aware of it for some time and, if I ever did have an inkling to watch it, well… let’s just say that Nickelodeon didn’t make it an easy program to catch.

Sure, I came across it randomly a few times and I liked what I saw. I liked the dark humor, the frenetic animation, and the energy… but I never really had a chance to become a fan before Nick yanked it off the airwaves for, what I am assuming… being too entertaining for such a terrible network.

This is where my fault comes in: I never sought out this show in the age of streaming. Every now and then I’d see a kid with a Grr backpack and I’d think, “Oh yeah, Invader Zim was a thing. I should go try and watch it now” and then I’d get distracted by something shiny, wander off, and be lost in the woods for a few weeks.

However, after the rollicking and somewhat touching good time that Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling turned out to be, I knew that I would catch the Invader Zim movie regardless of my deficit of understanding with the source material.

The good news is, Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus realizes that it’s been 20 years since the show was on the air and so, they spend a good deal of time both catching up the fans and initiating the ignorant newbies such as myself. It’s quick, its to the point, and it’s very amusing, mixing in an anime style and characters with delusions of grandeur.

From there, the movie (and yes, at 70 minutes, this is a movie unlike the Rocko movie which was only 45 minutes), kicks into high gear and never really slows down. Zim is an alien invader who was basically sent to Earth by his commanders, The Tallest, because he sucks at everything. Dib is an Earth kid who, along with his sister, knows that Zim is an alien and seeks to expose him before his plans come to fruition.

The animation is nuts, the humor is dark and frenetic, and I loved every minute of it so much so that I’m about to search for Invader Zim on whatever platform has him so that I can witness more of this gloriousness.

Now, I’m not going to say a lot about the plot because much of the plot contains surprises and twists that puts a wonderful spin on the whole “enemies working together” trope. Let’s just say that, in a series where the protagonist is basically an evil little pickle, it’s refreshing that the series never forgets that he’s evil… and it allows him to be evil even if he’s terrible at it.

Inevitably, in these kinds of movies and TV shows from Maleficent to Star Trek to Freddy vs Jason to countless others, the bad guy is redeemed or made some kind of de facto hero so much so that it’s almost a cliche. It’s refreshing, in a way, that Invader Zim never forgets that Zim is an invader and invaders are bad guys.

As for the movie itself, it is an awful good time. I’m really digging these 90s cartoon revival movies, not only for the nostalgia, but also because they’re bringing a sense of closure and continuation that is often denied fans. Enter the Florpus is a hilarious and energetic movie, full of offbeat humor and weirdness and it really never lets up. Although it’s over an hour long, it feels much shorter mostly because it’s a non-stop ride but, even though it is, it does manage some wonderfully touching character moments that you don’t expect. Overall, since I’m not a fan of the show – or at least not an original fan because I have a feeling I’m a fan now… I’m not sure if this is the finale or if it’s just another adventure. It could go either way and, personally, because I’m a newly hatched Zim fan, I’m hoping for more from this evil little pickle and any other properties that Netflix wants to pick up and run with.

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