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The Disney+ approach to original content is sort of brilliant. Original content is the name of the game when it comes to streaming services because people only have so much money to spend and so if there's something new out there and you can only find it in one place, it might entice you to spend your money there. However, Disney+ takes it a step further as a lot of the new material is based on previously existing Disney content you can already find on Disney+. Now, Disney+ is doing something similar with its next original movie The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Against the Universe!
The film follows the popular Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb that ran for 222 episodes, but the beauty of both Phineas and Ferb and of the new movie is that you don't actually need to watch a minute of the original series to understand the new film. Of course, get ready, because if you like the new movie you will very much want to watch every minute of the series. Here's why you should give the new movie a chance, even if you don't know the first thing about Phineas & Ferb.
There's Nothing You Need To Know Going In
If you've seen the first two minutes of any episode of Phineas and Ferb, then you've seen the first two minutes of every episode of Phineas and Ferb. It's an incredibly formulaic show for the most part. Having said that, the show itself never felt the need to explain anything, so you won't really get much out of watching the show first anyway. Why is Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus actually a secret agent fighting an evil mad scientist? The movie explains that as much as the show does, which is to say, not at all. Just go with it.
And besides, fo you feel like you to understand the show before jumping into the movie, the movie basically gives you the show's Wikipedia article, set to song, in the opening minutes, so it will tell you everything you need to know. It makes specific reference to a number of previous episodes of the series, but only to let you know they exist. None of it is actually important.
It's Hilarious For All Ages
In addition to being the only primer you really need, the above clip is also a pretty solid look at what you're in for when it comes to the comedy The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Against the Universe! Part of the reason the series was so well received was because of the way it appealed to every possible demographic. It portrays itself as a show for young kids, and it certainly works as that, but many of the jokes are clearly designed for older viewers. Those who grew up with the series with kids could be teenagers or older now and they're virtually guaranteed to still laugh at the film, as will their parents.
Do all the jokes land? No, of course not, but the jokes come at you so quickly that you're just as likely to miss a joke entirely because you were too busy laughing at the previous one. If you think one joke is lame, wait eight seconds, a new one will be right along to get you laughing again. It's literally non-stop humor from beginning to end.
The Phineas and Ferb Movie Has Heart
The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Against the Universe! may be a machine gun full of punchlines, and it is, but that's not to say the film in any way forgot that it needed to be a movie first. The story is, by design, science fiction wackiness, but it's also a compelling character story for Phineas and Ferb's sister Candace. She has a solid arc that's understandable even if you're meeting her for the first time in this movie.
One of the most interesting things about Phineas and Ferb is how well the family dynamic works. Phineas, Ferb and Candace are actually part of a blended family, but of all the places where conflict comes throughout the life of these characters, it's never here. You don't need to know these characters well to appreciate that.
There's So Much More Where This Comes From
As I stated at the outset, there's something a bit mercenary about the mere existence of The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Against the Universe! Part of the reason it is here is to give fans something they'll want to see but the other part is that if you watch it, and you like it, there's a hope you'll keep your DIsney+ subscription at least long enough to watch the rest. And I'm here to say, yeah, you should do that. But get ready, because there's a lot.
There are 222 episodes of the series. There are special episodes. There's an entirely different movie. There's Milo Murphy's Law, with a lead character voiced by "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose voice also appears in the new film, which takes place in the same universe and even includes a Phineas and Ferb crossover. And it's all remarkably good. And there could be even more still. I spoke with Phineas and Ferb creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh and they told me they had an entirely different idea for a movie that could put on the shelf during the creative process of this one, and if this movie is a hit, that one, which they said is one of the best things they've ever written, becomes more likely to exist.
The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Against the Universe! is just a fun and hilarious movie that basically everybody should see and nobody should let the fact that they're not familiar with the characters stop them from enjoying it. It's got heart and charm and the real world is a bloody mess and taking 90 minutes out of one's life to laugh hysterically helps a great deal as it turns out. So even if you've never watched a minute of Phineas and Ferb, make the new Disney+ movie the first minutes you watch. You won't regret it. Although, you might not be able to call yourself a non-fan when it's over.