Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer Review

There's something so deliciously ridiculous about Phineas and Ferb. Even if the writing didn't possess a startling self-awareness of its cartoon nature (which it does) the unending series of classic cartoon hijinx would've pushed it over the edge for me. A combination of two genius kids, their sister (who's also aware of the formula that comprises each episode), a pet platypus and all of the adventures you never got to have as a kid makes Phineas and Ferb a wild ride for any child with an imagination. Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer on DVD features five episodes which will do a pretty good job of entertaining the children without annoying the parents with squeaky animals - all of whom, you must apparently catch.

"Jerk de Soleil" / "Toy to the World"

Taking full advantage of the knowledge that their parents just don't seem to ever catch on to their wildest stunts, Phineas and Ferb decide to host a Big Top performance in their backyard. In the second half, Phineas and Ferb go on to create the world's most popular yet pointless toy: a toy platypus which does nothing. Both of these stunts happen much to the chagrin of their sister. The fake toy commercial at the beginning of the second half has a few dependable monkey/platypus laughs.

"A Hard Day's Knight" / "I, Brobot"

A trip to the grandparents' place leads Phineas and Ferb to an adventure of medieval proportions. Meanwhile, Perry the platypus goes up against his evil scientist nemesis Doofenshmirtz who feels, most of the time, like someone straight out of the Tick. In the second half, Phineas and Ferb realize that their ambitions far exceed their ability - until they remember one of their ambitions involves creating robotic duplicates of themselves. It's hard for me to condemn any cartoon that breaks out into a techno dance mix.

"It's a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World" / "The Ballad of Badbeard"

To help Candance gain confidence in her driving, Phineas and Ferb create a monster truck - obviously. Unfortunately, their monster truck inclinations attract the attention of the evil Doofenshmirtz leaving Perry to save the day without anyone being the wiser.  After hearing the ballad of Badbeard around a campfire, the boys decide to set off in search of the long lost treasure.

"Greece Lightning" / "Leave the Busting to Us"

After a trip to the museum, Phineas and Ferb decide to recreate the ancient Roman chariot races - much to Candance's unfortunate surprise.  After countless episodes of her brothers getting away with crazy shenanigans, Candace hires an investigative busting service to spy on her brothers and reveal their activities to her parents.

"Unfair Science Fair" / "Unfair Science Fair Redux"

When a friend of the boys finds himself in dire need of a grade A science fair project, Phineas and Ferb pitch in to make a special two-part episode which involves Mars, Bollywood dance numbers and of course Perry and Doofenshmirtz.

DVD Bonus Features

"Googolplex Mall Science Fair":

With three neat little puzzle games, the extra feature gives children developing their reasoning skills a run for their money...and more so.  "WDCTMM (What Do Candace's Text Messages Mean)" gives the viewer an encrypted, abbreviated text message and asks you to figure out which of the 3 supplied choices is the right message. Unfortunately the design of this game needs rethinking. Not only are the kids expected to decrypt the ridiculous text message, but they're timed and given a ribbon based on how quickly they can guess.  "The World's Biggest Baking Soda Volcano-inator" brings the challenge down a notche simply asking you to work on your timing skills. Can you aid Dr. Doofenshmirtz in kicking the vinegar and baking soda into the volcano at just the right moment? Probably. The third game "Phineas and Ferb's Microscopic Zoo That Fits on the Head of a Pin" gives you a highly zoomed piece of a picture which you must match to one of the five, unzoomed versions before you.

The voice acting is great (Caroline Rhea, Ashley Tisdale - with J.K. Simmons as a guest), the writing is easily above par (reminiscent of Strong Bad at times) and the animation has a top-class studio behind it. Personally, I have a secret love for the cartoon thanks to it being animated by Rough Draft Studios (they do Futurama). Couple that with a theme song by Bowling for Soup and - as previously mentioned - guest appearances by the likes of J.K. Simmons and you've got a remarkably smart kids cartoon that parents will appreciate as much as the kids.

"Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer" is on sale February 10, 2009 and is rated G. Animation, Children & Family, Television. Directed by Dan Povenmire, Jeff Marsh, Zac Moncrief. Written by Dan Povenmire, Jeff Marsh. Starring Ashley Tisdale, Caroline Rhea, Dan Povenmire, Jeff Marsh, Thomas Sangster, Vincent Martella.

Feb
15
2009
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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