US Rating: TV-G
Film Length: 112 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Subtitles: Optional English SDH
The Show - out of
Disney’s Phineas and Ferb is a slyly witted, energetic cartoon filled with an expected level of visual exuberance and youthful parlance. The characters, with pronounced head shapes, revolve around the perennial super inventive, super-geeks who exercise a playful budgetary abandon as they create summer school vacation distractions with limitless access to resources, tools and dimensional time and space.
Phineas and Ferb, as the theme song joyfully pronounces, are just a couple of kids (stepbrothers) getting absolutely the most they can out of the summer vacation before school starts again. They are persistently pestered by an older sister, Candace (voiced by Ashley Tisdale), who is bent on exposing their elaborate ‘schemes’ to their mother. Unfortunately for Candace, the Mom always seems to be just out of ear shot or looking the other way at all the right moments for the expose to be complete. It is a nice and humorous thread that runs through each episode. Anyone who grew up with an older sister will instantly relate.
Phineas and Ferb are assisted by a girl scout troop called the fireside girls led by Isabella (Alyson Stoner) who has a bit of a crush on Phineas. She shows up at the right times with a playful and mildly shy “Whatcha doooin”. Her character is a great model for young girls, despite the impetus for her handiness mostly coming from her crush.
The voice talent is strong, with the verbose Phineas voiced by Vincent Martella and the verbally thrifty Ferb, a brit, voiced by Thomas Sangster. The mother is voiced by Caroline Rhea while dad is voiced by Richard O’Brien. Unusual too, how this family is a hybrid of English and American, with the mother being from the US and the father being from the UK. It adds yet another layer of interest to the show.
With a penchant for launching into clever musical numbers, Phineas and Ferb is a cartoon that can quite easily be enjoyed by children and adults alike. With plenty of good messages for young boys and girls alike woven into the general flow of the show, it can be an example without being an animated sermon. This is a likeable show and good entertainment for a pretty broad range of kids. It enjoys storylines that work within the parameters of the characters and the setting, but doesn’t ever seem to feel limited in imagination.
This is quite evident in the running sideshow storyline of Phineas and Ferb’s pet platypus Perry. Not your typical aquatic mammal. His pet persona is just that. While the boys are off constructing their elaborate distractions, he will enter his secret agent lair where he becomes Agent P, receiving top secret missions that all seems to center around the befuddling, and only slightly evil Dr Doofenshmirtz (voiced by show co-creator Dan Povenmire). This element of the show is a fun sidestep and just as engaging as the backyard adventures of the series namesakes.
The animation itself is simple and welcomingly so and there is a quality of ‘anything is possible’ about it that is positive and welcome.
One Good Scare Ought To Do It Pt. 1
One Good Scare Ought To Do It Pt. 2
The Fast and the Phineas
Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror
Are you my mummy?
Lights Candace, Action!
It’s About Time Pt. 1
It’s About Time Pt. 2
Clean lines, bright colors and mostly smooth animation style are staples of this release. The image appears to be uncomplicated by unwanted interference and is very pleasing. The image is also not overly saturated with colors so that it doesn’t look like an explosion at a Benneton factory as some other cartoons have found themselves becoming. Good stuff.
The Dolby Digital Surround Sound option serves this show quite well. The dialogue in the center channel is a little louder than most films, but not distracting, just a little more pronounced. The musical numbers do well in the speakers, filtering into the surrounds enough to stand apart from the general run of the show. All round this is a perfectly suitable audio performance for this show.
Backstage Disney: Original Pitch by Dan Povenmire - (21:38) – This is a great little special feature. Introduced by co-creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh, sharing their initial pitch to Disney to get the show off the ground. Here we get to see assembled storyboards into a pitch episode with Dan Povenmire doing all the voices and sound effects. It is clear the show was very well defined from the very beginning.
Games & Activities
Phineas & Ferb’s Homemade Tree Shade Arcade - With this interactive feature you get to play a remote control version of wack-a-mole called ‘Smack a Gnome’, ‘Agent P’ where you get to change the undercover platypus Agent P’s disguises, Fast and the Phineas’ racing game and a dance game. All are pretty clunky and my less than perfect Panasonic DMP-BD10a Blu-Rfay player remote didn’t seem to help much.
Phineas and Ferb was a fun discovery for me. An entertaining, fun and, at times, clever show from Disney. The characters are likeable, the storylines energetic and appropriately absurd and the recurring elements work well. While I am always a strong proponent of full season sets versus hand-picked collections, I would have to say that this is very much recommended for children and families alike.