Five years after the hit TV show “Phineas and Ferb” stopped airing on Disney Channel, creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh got to make a revival-type movie that premiered on Disney + on Friday, August 28, 2020.
The movie, Candace Against the Universe, depicts aliens abducting Candace (Phineas and Ferb’s sister who is obsessed with busting them on their insane projects throughout the series) and Vanessa (Dr. Doofensmirtz’s daughter), with Phineas, Ferb, and their friends going to rescue them.
I agree with the variety review (Variety Review) that this movie revives the plot of the series that premiered 15 years earlier and definitely recreates the same comic effect. The jokes throughout the movie are funny for kids and adults, as they take on new meaning to different age groups. In the movie, there are several references to the beloved Phineas and Ferb that still airs on Disney + today.
Throughout the movie, there are satirical undertones, including a song about adulting that has no real reasons for the authority of adults other than the classic “just because” excuse.
Dr. Doofensmirtz, the main comic relief character in the movie, an “evil” scientist with a German accent, makes several plays-on-words and comical errors that keep the movie light and humorous.
I disagree with the AV club review in that a lot of the puns are overplayed and dark, and the movie is nothing new or too excitingly different from the TV series (AV Club review). I believe that the puns are funny to all ages and do not touch on any subjects darker than the daily news is. Yes, the movie shows some recurring themes from the TV series, but it expands on them and makes it better than the show by adding some extra elements unknown beforehand.
The movie touches real-world subjects such as insecurities, breakthroughs, and the importance of family and friends.
Candace Against the Universe focuses on Candace facing not only an alien abduction but also her insecurities about herself, as she compares herself to her brothers who build amazing inventions all summer, and she feels worthless in comparison. Candace sings a song at the beginning about how great of a day it is, and then she remembers all of Phineas and Ferb’s inventions in the series and gets angry again. This inner battle of blaming Phineas and Ferb for her insecurities plays its way throughout the entire movie.
Phineas, Ferb, and their friends (Buford, Baljeet, and Isabella) team up with Dr. Doof to save Candace and Vanessa on an alien planet systems away from earth. This is the first time a character has been in serious jeopardy on the show, but the movie does a great job of making it serious yet funny at the same time. Perry the platypus (Phineas’s pet but also Dr. Doof’s nemesis) goes to help Candace too, but he cannot be seen by anyone, as it would put his secret agent status in peril, and the comedy of him being in the worst-case scenario comes up several times.
Although Candace Against the Universe addresses serious topics, the comedy of Dr. Doof and the kids keeps it enjoyable. Candace is the central plot of the show, and the movie really highlights her internal problems that motivate her busting. The movie reminds us how important our family and friends are, and how much they mean to us even in the slightest ways. It shows the audience to never give up, that friends and family will always be there for you, even when you think the universe is against you.
The movie has a 100% rating on rotten tomatoes (Rotten Tomatoes), and Disney + has recruited Povenmire and Marsh for future Phineas and Ferb movies, since this one was such a hit.