28 August 2011


Twelve Things about Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension

12. The only thing I love more than time travel is the parallel dimension. (There are some who say you can't have one without the other--but never mind them now.) It's so fascinating to see What Might Have Been, had something in the timeline been tweaked in a totally different direction. It's doubly fascinating to see What You Might Have Become.

(For those of us whose life genres are not SF, there are always ordinary doppelgangers. I happen to know that my double lives in Austin, Texas, has access to a black Escalade, and does not play the guitar. This is a fact.)

11. If you think about it, the ideas of parallels and doubles are already embedded in every Phineas and Ferb episode. Take Perry the Platypus, who is both the Flynn-Fletcher family's pet and a secret agent tasked with foiling the plans of mad scientist Dr. Doofenschmirtz.

Then, of course, there's Candace, who is the only one who ever notices when her brothers are up to something. Just her bad luck that whenever she drags her mother over "to bust" the boys, whatever they were working on at the time mysteriously vanishes. She must feel as if she's straddling two dimensions herself. No wonder she's a bit high strung.

So it makes sense for Perry to be the heart of the story
--and for Candace to be the main protagonist.
Formula tweaking can be fun!

10. But back to literal parallel dimensions. Here, the 2nd Dimension is a world in which Dr. Doofenschmirtz has managed to take over the entire Tri-State Area--something he could never do in our world. And the story of what brought about this Might Have Been is just precious. =P

9. It's also nice to hear familiar phrases take on new meanings in different contexts. For instance, Phineas's famous, "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today."

But my favourite is Isabella's "Whatcha doing?"--which goes from sweet to snarly in a way you have to hear to believe.

8. Curiously, while this dystopian state of things brings out the best in most of the supporting cast, it has absolutely stunted the dynamic duo themselves. Everyone else has joined the resistance movement (under Candace's command, of course), but the boys just sit at home and play conformist board games.

You have to admire the efficiency of a satire that cuts both ways. We see what such a world does to creativity and imagination through it's effect on the boys . . . but we also see that adversity is often character's best friend.

Either way, we see that the modern schools that are both really boring and too easy are the silent villains of our own dimension. (Which explains why this series is all about the glorification of those "one hundred and four days of summer vacation . . .")

7. Did anyone else notice that Candace's friend Stacey doesn't get a 2nd Dimension double? =( I think that's really sad.

6. Now, what is Phineas and Ferb without the music? This movie doesn't open with the TV theme, but it still starts out strong, with new song Everything's Better with Perry . . .

You know what I really, really love? How it looks as if the lyricists and the animators worked together every step of the way. Few professionally directed music videos are as perfect as this.

5. Here's another great example. See if you can name all the famous pairs that the two Doofenschmirtzes homage in Brand New Best Friend:

Let me get you started: Lennon and McCartney, the Blues Brothers, Simon and Garfunkle . . . Watch the whole thing. The vocals will grate, but it will be worth it!!!

A note to those proudly "edgy" animators:
This is how you wink at adults
over the heads of children.
Are we clear now? ;-)

4. Music aside, there is the wordsmithery. Every crazy invention is either an "-izer" or an "-inator." Agent P gets a wrist-communication-izer before he is sent to destroy Dr. Doofenschmirtz's other-dimension-inator. And let's not forget the "platypult" and the "platyborg." (Just watch the movie already!) The Phineas and Ferb writers love words--and it shows in every last postmodern syllable of the script.

3. Now I have to say something about the twist in the ending. Since I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie, however, I'm going to be intentionally vague. It's a twist that I usually hate on principle--a cousin to "And then he woke up and saw it had all been a dream!"--but this movie does it so darn well that I simply cannot think of an alternate ending. (Which is kind of ironic, given that the story is all about alternates!)

2. Because I'm really indulgent, here is some more music: my favourite song from the movie . . .

I'd love to hear an extended version, with the Phineas and Ferb theme mash-up allowed to achieve its full potential.

1. My Horror blogger credentials are totally shot now, but I feel no shame--only pure happiness--as I confirm that Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is the best movie I have seen all month.

Image Source: a) Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension promo image, b) Phineas and Ferb: Across the 1st and 2nd Dimensions


Syrin said...

Since I don't have cable, I haven't watched the movie yet. But the alternate universe storyline sounded fun from the moment I've heard about it, and now listening to the songs has got me all ready!

I ordered a copy of the movie through the Disney Movie Club, and it's supposed to come with a free "platypult kit" so I guess I get to find out what that is soon! :)

Belfry Bat said...

goodness me, I'd never even heard of these people. Right-on about proper wink-iquette!

Enbrethiliel said...


Syrin -- I am such a sucker for parallel universes. =P This movie would have had me at hello, if Phineas and Ferb hadn't already had me! I can't wait to read your own thoughts on it. =)

Bat -- If you have cable, start watching! The wink-iquette on this show is a true joy.

love the girls said...

Enbrethiliel writes : "The only thing I love more than time travel is the parallel dimension."

A rather adventuresome life you live there. And rather puts to shame my venture for the evening of blending up watermelon smoothies and trying to make tomato cream soup from fresh tomatoes.

Enbrethiliel said...


Time travelers are just like all other people. At the end of a long, exciting day, most of us worry about food prep and cooking just like the rest of the world.

PS--Personally, I find canned tomatoes so much easier.

Jillian said...

I am so addicted with this show! I don't know why, but the characters are just so hilarious. I really want to watch the movie one of these days - maybe on a weekend when I'm all by myself haha

Enbrethiliel said...


You should definitely see this!

When I first saw Phineas and Ferb, I wasn't too impressed . . . but I soon realised that was just my decade snobbery getting in the way. =P The show is great! And as you too recognise, hilarious!

Oh, you should really watch this with someone who also loves the boys. I saw it with my brothers and we laughed and cracked jokes through it. That made the experience doubly wonderful. =)