A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars is a hilarious overlay of modern cartoon heroes in a classic story of good and evil. Violence is the only real concern here, since there's a lot of fighting with blasters and heavier firepower between the ships themselves. There's no blood or obvious death, but you'll see bodies on the ground and, in one case, a body being removed by stretcher. A Jedi battle with light sabers puts a favorite character in peril, and another dabbles in evil for part of the story. Darth Vader uses telekinesis to choke people who anger him. Expect some marginal language such as "shut up" and name-calling such as "idiot" but also a likable plot thread that hints at the value of showing kindness and compassion to everyone. This masterfully written movie is a fun pick for kids and adults alike.
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What's the story?
in PHINEAS AND FERB: STAR WARS, adjacent to Luke Skywalker's (voiced by Christopher Corey Smith) family farm on Tatooine is the home of his lesser-known neighbors, Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), who while away their summer hours cruising around the arid planet in their tricked-out speeder. But when a chance encounter with R2-D2 leaves them holding the plans to the Death Star, they hire a feisty pilot named Isabella (Alyson Stoner) to help them embark on an intergalactic adventure to deliver the information to the Rebel Alliance. Unbeknownst to them, their movements are being tracked by a trio of entry-level Storm Troopers led by Candace (Ashley Tisdale), who hopes capturing the Rebel sympathizers will be the career boost she needs to move up the chain of command. Meanwhile secret agent Perry (Dee Bradley Baker) keeps tabs on a low-level villain named Darthenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire), who is champing at the bit to try out his latest invention, the "Sith-inator," which he's sure will transform him into a Sith powerful enough to rival his idol, Darth Vader (Eddie Pittman).
Is it any good?
This special is a laugh-out-loud reimagining of the Star Wars saga. It shifts the focus away from Luke, Leia (April Winchell), and Han Solo (Ross Marquand) and onto the comic duo of neighboring Phineas and Ferb. Many of the classic scenes are there -- from the fateful meeting in the Mos Eisley cantina to their narrow escape from the garbage-compactor monster -- but each is retold from the viewpoint of Phineas and Ferb, who are said to have been just off-screen in the original movie. In some cases, the two sets of characters share a scene (Perry is on hand while Leia loads R2-D2 with the stolen Death Star plans, for instance), but most often those Star Wars events play out in the background while the infamous stepbrothers put on a show like only they can do. What with a comically inept Darth wannabe, a bitter rivalry brewing between Isabella and Han Solo, and Candace's unequivocal embrace of the Storm Troopers' conformist code, plus breakout songs at every turn, there's no end to the fun in this movie.
That said, Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars caters to viewers with at least a working knowledge of the Star Wars story and its characters, and those who come to it without that background won't find it nearly as fun. The rapid-fire jokes and jabs are so well incorporated you may have to back up a few times to catch every one, particularly when they're in musical form. Having some familiarity with the Phineas and Ferb cast also gives you better appreciation for how the characters they play in this story relate to their real-life personas, which accounts for Candace's love of all things Storm Trooper and Phineas and Ferb's satisfaction with life on Tatooine. The bottom line? If you're looking for something you will enjoy as much as (or perhaps even more than) your kids will, then this intergalactic adventure is for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the definition of good and evil and how it plays out in Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars. Is it always easy to understand a person's motivations? Can this definition be different for different people? Can you think of an instance in which your impression of a situation was vastly different from someone else's view of it?
Kids: Were you familiar with the Phineas and Ferb characters before this movie? Were the characters good fits for the roles they played here? Why do you think the Star Wars story is such a popular one for revamps like this one?
What determines a story's success with viewers? Did this one appeal to you? Does quality entertainment always have to teach or impart valuable lessons to be worthwhile?
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