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Featured DVD Review: Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension

August 21st, 2011

Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension - Buy from Amazon

Since Phineas and Ferb first aired in 2007, it has become a big hit, and not just among its young target audience, but also among older teens and some adults. It's proven to be so popular, that not only has it been renewed again, but this year the first TV movie was released. (There have been a couple of hour-long specials, including Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation, which I previously reviewed.) How well will the show translate into TV movie form? Will it be as epic as the fans hoped it would be? Will it feel like a double-length episode padded out way too much? Or will it land somewhere in-between?

The Movie

The film starts with Phineas, Ferb, Candace, Perry the Platypus, and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz all chained together and about to be fed to a monster. It looks bad for our heroes (and Doofenshmirtz) and the day started out so well.

Flashing back to the beginning of the day... it's the fifth anniversary of the day Phineas and Ferb got Perry as a pet, or as we learn, the day Perry the Platypus was assigned to them as his cover. To celebrate, they decide to play a giant version of platypus badminton, but shortly after completing their platypus catapults, they realize Perry's disappeared.

Of course, Perry is meeting with Major Monogram to discuss his latest mission. Apparently Perry's hat scans and records everything he sees and the scientists at O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) have been studying them to see if Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz has been getting smarter or dumber. (It's still too close to call.) Meanwhile, Perry is sent to stop Doofenshmirtz from finishing his latest inator, which has something to do with alternate dimensions.

The finally thread of the plot involves Candace and Jeremy. Jeremy's heading off to college next year, and his dad is taking him to his old Alma mater. This puts Candace in a funk, as she's worried Jeremy is going to be too mature to want to date her, so it's time for her to grow up and be more mature as well. Part of being a grown up is having to give up on her obsession to bust the boys. Or is it? Perhaps, as Stacy suggests, being an adult means she can bust her brothers without telling her mother first. She tries, but the latest contraption the boys build disappears before Candace can see it. That's when it hits Candace: The force that makes all the contraptions disappear before her Mom sees them is now recognizing Candace as an adult and it is causing them to disappear before she can see them. At least that's her working theory.

These three threads quickly collide, literally in the case of the first two. While flying to Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. in his new rocket car, Perry runs into Phineas and Ferb while they were riding a giant shuttlecock as they play giant platypus badminton. This results in Phineas and Ferb landing in Doofenshmirtz lair, destroying the Other-Dimensinator. Fortunately for Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb are able to rebuild the machine. Unfortunately for Perry, he arrives too late, and somehow has to thwart Doofenshmirtz, without revealing his secret identity to Phineas and Ferb. It goes poorly. So poorly, in fact, that Doofenshmirtz, Phineas, Ferb, and Perry travel into an alternate dimension, one where Doofenshmirtz was able to conquer the tri-State area. Doofenshmirtz loves the new dimension, but when the alternate dimension Doofenshmirtz sees Perry the Platypus, his secret agent identity is revealed, and Phineas doesn't handle it very well. He kind of freaks out over the whole issue.

There's no time for an emotional meltdown, as they are stuck in an alternate dimension and are on the run from eviler, and more competent, version of Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Fortunately they get help from the resistance, which is led by... That's too big a spoiler to reveal.

I have two main problems with this movie. Firstly, when Phineas learned Perry the Platypus's secret identity, the way Phineas reacted felt a little off. It was a little too harsh and went on a little too long. Given all that Phineas and Ferb have gone through, you would think he could handle the situation better and I would consider this a problem with "Plot Induced Personality Change", which is something I've talked about in the past. The second problem I have was not enough Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. I think it would have been cool to see the alternate dimension Vanessa and her relationship with her dad. Also, Vanessa is my favorite recurring character on the show, so the more of her we get, the better. (On a side note, Olivia Olson, who provides the voice for Vanessa Doofenshmirtz, also provides the voice for my favorite recurring character on Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, Marceline the Vampire Queen.) One more small problem, a couple of the songs were not among the best the show has produced.

On the positive side is... everything else. Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is epic enough to be a movie and doesn't feel like a double-length episode padded out to a feature-length running time. It absolutely keeps the attitude of the show with plenty of action and a number of funny jokes. There are a number of references to running gags from the TV series, including major ones (Doofenshmirtz not recognizing Perry without his hat) to rather obscure ones (that talking zebra or Planty the Potted Plant). Fans of the cartoon will be able to watch the movie several times and catch something new each time. I'm on my third time watching the movie and I'm still noticing new things I missed the first two times. There are so many funny bits in the movie I'm not sure which ones to mention, while I'm afraid to go into detail on any of them, lest I spoil the jokes. (I will say that Candace reacting to the alternate dimension was great. "Why does Isabella suddenly look fashionable?" And the rapid-fire jumping through dimensions was on par with anything the show has done. It was imagination run wild without the constraints of continuity, but plenty of references to past episodes.)

Overall, the movie is absolutely worth picking up.

The Extras

Extras start with the captions... They call it Perry-Oke, but it's just captions for the songs. You can also listen to all of the songs, with or without captions. (This includes a song cut from the final movie.) Next up are eight deleted and extended scenes, but you can only get to those from the alternate dimension menu. Oh yeah, there's an alternate dimension menu. On the main menu, there's a number of Easter Eggs. Most of them are simple animations, but one of them sends you to the alternate dimension where there are more Easter Eggs and the special features menu has the deleted scenes, but not the two musical extras.

Finally, there's a bonus episode of the show, Attack of the 50-Foot Sister. In this episode, Phineas and Ferb try to help Baljeet not shame his family at the Midsummer Festival with his pathetic watermelon by developing a growth formula. Candace tries to become the new Flawless girl, but isn't tall enough. (You can probably guess what happens next.) Meanwhile, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is sick of all of the noise from the Festival and plans to drive them away using a new inator, which spreads the worst smell he can think of. It's a very funny episode (and actually has a good message as well) and you can watch with one of two audio commentary tracks. From the special features menu, you can listen to the co-creatures of the show and one of the two co-writers of the episode talk. Or from the alternate dimension menu, you can listen to Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Major Francis Monogram talk about the show. It adds a lot of replay to an already good episode.

The DVD also comes with a digital copy of the film on a second disc. This disc also has eight songs from the film you can download. Finally, there's a Platypult kit you can put together, because there wasn't enough nerdy stuff on desk already.

The Verdict


Seriously. There were several inventions in the finale that I didn't recognize and that wouldn't have been an issue if I had full season sets to watch over and over again.

For fans of Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is a must have. The movie itself if absolutely worth watching and has enough replay value that the DVD would be worth picking up even if there were no extras. Fortunately, there are plenty of extras and the overall package is a contender for Pick of the Week.

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