Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension Is an Instant Classic
It can sometimes be hard to get excited about a movie based on a TV show, especially when that movie is really part of the show’s continuity — too often they turn out to be less movies and more extra-long episodes of the show. I’m glad to report that that is not at all the case for Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, which debuts tonight at 8pm ET/PT.
The TV show Phineas and Ferb is often fairly epic — I mean, they’ve built a rollercoaster around their hometown, constructed and used a portal to Mars, discovered the Lake Nose Monster, and given a monkey a shower. But this movie goes beyond that. Here’s the plot setup, without giving away too much:
The boys are testing out their new platypult, which is very likely exactly what you’d think it’d be, when they accidentally end up in Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s lab. Doofenshmirtz is having trouble getting his current “inator” — a device to open a cross-dimensional portal — to work, and the boys, who of course don’t know that he’s evil, help him out. They succeed, of course, and they all end up in an alternate dimension whose tri-state area is ruled by a truly evil, and competent, Doofenshmirtz . The alternate Dr. D decides he’d like to take over our heroes’ tri-state area, too, so of course they have to work together to stop him.Along the way, Perry has no choice but to reveal to the boys that he is, in fact, a secret agent. This, in addition to the detail of the alternate dimension (in which we meet an alternate Candace, who kicks butt as the leader of the resistance against Doofenshmirtz, and alternate Phineas and Ferb who are completely uninteresting), is what makes this a movie and not just a long episode. There is real character development taking place — we actually get to see Phineas angry and hurt (because his pet has been keeping secrets from him), and he’s always been the most upbeat of the characters on the show, except of course for Isabella. (Isabella, and alternate-dimension Isabella, get a lot to do in the movie, too.)
The only part of the movie I didn’t like was that there was no mention of, let alone an appearance by, Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s daughter Vanessa — in either dimension. Since Dr. D is such a major part of the movie, and since at least in “our” dimension he tries very hard (even if he often fails) to be a good dad, fans of the show will really notice her absence from the story.
I won’t give away any more for fear of spoiling the many surprises the movie has in store for you. It’s nearly ninety minutes of action and (of course) great musical numbers, with a fair bit of genuine emotion and (again, of course) humor thrown in. As usual, there are quite a few jokes that will sail right over kids’ heads — heck, there’s even one that references a popular late-’70s/early-’80s sitcom, which surprised and entertained me enough that my kids turned to look at me, wondering why on earth I was laughing so hard at what, to them, wasn’t even a joke. This is why the show and this movie are so brilliant: they work on multiple levels simultaneously. It’s not that hard a concept, really, since it mostly involves just writing what you think is funny and trusting that kids are smart enough to figure it out, but yet so very few do it nearly this well.
Anyway, to sum up: Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension debuts tonight on the Disney Channel at 8pm ET/PT. It’s already available on demand, and has been since Monday, too. You’ll want to DVR this one, though, because you will miss things the first — and probably second — time you watch it. Even if you don’t have kids, watch this — this is truly an instant classic, right up there with some of the best cartoons ever made.
See GeekDad’s prior coverage of the movie, including images and a clip for more information. And, if you’re interested, you can take a look below at some video from the movie’s Hollywood premiere on Wednesday. Yes, they really had a big, star-studded Hollywood premiere for a cartoon TV movie. Most wouldn’t deserve such treatment, but I think you’ll agree when you see it that this one does.