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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe is another series adventure for all ages. There are positive messages about family, friendship, teamwork, and courage as well as valuing one's own worth. Scientific knowledge and innovation not only provide the usual doses of fun for the stepbrothers and their gang, but also save Candace and Vanessa when they're abducted by aliens. Even Dr. Doofenshmirtz is on the kids' side this time. There's cartoon violence that includes a plant emitting mind-controlling spores, kids getting tossed around and ejected and crash-landing in spaceships and rockets, kids getting abducted or chased and threatened by aliens, Dr. D accidentally setting fire to his own building and falling off cliffs, and aliens exploding or getting eaten by other creatures. "Freak" and "butt" are heard. Kids could be drawn to more Phineas and Ferb episodes and even merchandising after watching this movie.
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What's the story?
Candace (High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale) is, as always, frustrated by the trouble-free fun her brothers have in PHINEAS AND FERB THE MOVIE: CANDACE AGAINST THE UNIVERSE. When she and her friend Vanessa (Olivia Olson) are rocketed accidentally to an alien planet and Candace is dubbed "The Chosen One," she feels she's finally found a place where she's justly valued. But, of course, all is not as it seems. Thankfully, her inventive brothers, Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (David Errigo Jr.), and their gang of misfit friends are fast on her trail and intent on saving her. Vanessa's dad, the ever meddling Dr. Doofenshmirtz (voiced by Dan Povenmire, co-creator of the series with Jeff "Swampy" Marsh) and -- unbeknownst to all -- secret agent Perry the Platypus (Dee Bradley Baker) are along for the ride.
Is it any good?
Phineas, Ferb, and their gang have a loyal following of fans, and this silly movie reminds us why. Their wordplay, imaginative adventures, misfit kid group, science-y themes, clever dialogues, exaggerated sibling rivalries, and, best of all, the day-saving double-agent pet platypus Perry are all just huge fun and downright lovable. Some of the musical numbers in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe are also laugh-out-loud funny, and there's a clever sequence where the cartoon's creators appear as part of a reversing of the animation.
Other riffs may fly over younger kids' heads, like a seeming jab at Alexa-style voice recognition technology and those, like Trekkies, who find life lessons in long-running shows. An alien does the floss dance, something no adult has ever done well. Candace and her new alien BFF share a song-worthy girls' day, and both reach a new level of self-awareness from a few probing questions. As usual, the action is frenetically fast-paced. So, parents: Strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride alongside your kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Candace and her brothers shown in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. What lessons do they each learn? Do you see any similarities in your own sibling relationships or those of your friends?
There's a community of aliens known as the "Cowards" who ultimately save the day. How do we see their cowardice? What convinces them to be brave? Have you ever had to overcome fears and show bravery?
What did you think of the sequence where the animation reverses all the way out to the creators? Have you ever thought about how the animation in a film like this one is done? Did you learn anything from that sequence?
- On DVD or streaming: August 28, 2020
- Cast: Vincent Martella, Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Tisdale
- Director: Bob Bowen
- Studio: Disney Television Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: STEM, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: TV-G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 25, 2020
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