It’s been a while since the wild and wacky world of Phineas and Ferb graced my television set, but now the entire gang is back in Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe, a new animated movie on Disney Plus. Picking up during that eternal Summer, Candace reaches her breaking point when she is unable to bust her brothers for what seems like the infinitest time and undergoes an existential crisis where she obsesses with just how unspecial she is compared to her genius brothers.
And then she’s kidnapped by aliens who revere her as the chosen one because this is Phineas and Ferb, so why not?
What I liked most about this film is that it is determined to be a film and not a mere reunion special. The scope and scale are gigantic, taking full advantages of the movie’s outer space and alien planet setting, and the action pieces that happen as a result are perfectly cinematic. To be perfectly honest, this is a story that would have been woefully under-serviced as episodes of the television series, this is a story that could have only been told in a movie format.
And what a fun movie it is, too. Every bit as clever and wholesome as the television series, Candice Against the Universe is not content to just allow these characters to return and be happy with the result. We see genuine growth in them, a warmth from them, and it is all genuine and earned. The bond that Phineas and Ferb share with their sister… Candice’ feelings of inadequacy around them… it’s all a natural growth of who they are and what they mean to each other. There is not a moment during this movie when a character did something or said something where I thought, “Huh, well, that was out of left field.” Everything is motivated and everything means something.
Candice Against the Universe also allows the creative team to mix up the formula of the show, allowing characters that don’t normally interact to interact. Doctor Doofenshmirtz, for example, joins the kids on this adventure and the resulting head-butting between the kids and the adult is always fun, particularly as neither side is ever really wrong all the time.
I just adored this movie, both as a fan of Phineas and Ferb and a fan of the lost art of 2D animation all together. It was clever, well written, charming, bright, fun, happy, hilarious, and heartfelt.
I’m really hoping that Candice’s opening song about there being more adventures on the way wasn’t just a tease.