Making the Grades
The popular TV series Phineas and Ferb makes its debut as a Disney Channel Original Movie and home video product. Fans of the franchise will be delighted to see their favorite stepbrothers Phineas Flynn (voice of Vincent Martella) and Ferb Fletcher (voice of Thomas Brodie-Sangster) embark on a feature-length adventure, instead of the 15 minutes they are usually allotted on the TV series.
As is typical, the boys are trying to optimize the excitement potential of their 104-day-long summer vacation. One of the events to be celebrated is the fifth anniversary of the adoption of Perry, their pet platypus (voice of Dee Bradley Baker—although the only sounds he really utters are chirping/chattering noises). So Phineas and Ferb put together an amazing contraption to amuse the party guests. Unfortunately, the little critter misses the festivities because, as often happens, he has mysteriously disappeared.
What the stepbrothers don’t know is that their web-footed friend has slipped away because he is really a covert agent with an ongoing mission to stop the dastardly plans of Dr. Doofenshmirts (voice of Dan Povenmire). Although he has managed to keep his secret through all of the TV episodes, his identity is about to be compromised.
While Perry is attempting to scuttle the villain’s latest plot, Phineas and Ferb accidentally land in the doctor’s penthouse. Not understanding the situation, the mechanically minded youngsters apologize for their pet’s misbehavior and actually help the wannabe evil genius get his dimension traveling machine up and running. It is not until they arrive in the parallel universe where Doofenshmirts gets access to the weapons he needs to destroy their own world, that the boys realize what they have done and who their turquoise-colored platypus truly is.
The storyline provides plenty of opportunities for conflict, fighting, explosions and moments of peril, but the depictions stay well within the realm of fantasy cartoon violence. Lightening the mood is the comical portrayal of incompetent bad guys, silly subplots, humorous one-liners and a propensity to break into musical numbers. Oblivious parent figures and a lack of consequences for actions (that are evident in the weekly program as well) will probably present the greatest concerns for family audiences.
Regular viewers will likely enjoy the idea of Phineas and Ferb finally discovering their pet’s alter ego and the longer time this production has to develop the characters. Messages of friendship, loyalty and improved sibling relationships are also welcomed features in this lighthearted animation. And for those purchasing the DVD and Digital Copy, the included bonus episode Attack of the 50 Foot Sister offers a great lesson on body image and the wisdom of looking at media marketing with a critical eye.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension.
Why does Phineas feel betrayed when he learns about his pet’s true identity? Should Perry have shared this information? Does the fact the platypus chose not to mean he doesn’t trust his owners? What is the difference between a secret and something that is confidential?
Older sibling Candice (voice of Ashley Tisdale) is always tattling on her younger brothers. When Phineas and Ferb meet her parallel character in another dimension, she is overly protective of the boys. Are these two behaviors similar? What do you think motivates the big sister’s reactions?
Candice is anxious to appear more mature. What does she learn about the responsibilities of becoming an adult? What are the good things that come with growing older?