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Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars DVD Review

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars (2014)
Special, Episodes & DVD Details

Running Time: 164 Minutes (special: 51, other episodes: 113) / Rating: TV-G

Creators/Executive Producers: Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh

Writers: Dani Vetere, Scott Peterson, Jim Bernstein, Martin Olson, Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (story); Eddie Pittman, Joshua Pruett, Mike Bell, Kim Roberson, Kyle Menke, Mike Diederich, Edward Rivera, Patrick O'Connor, J.G. Orrantia, John Mathot, Michael B. Singleton, Antoine Guillbaud, Kaz, Bernie Petterson, Aliki Theofilopoulos Grafft, Zac Moncrief, Dan Povenmire (writers/storyboarders) / Directors: Robert F. Hughes, Sue Perrotto; Assistant Directors: Russell Calabrese, Derek Thompson

Regular Voice Cast: Vincent Martella (Phineas Flynn), Ashley Tisdale (Candace Flynn), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Ferb Fletcher), Caroline Rhea (Mom), Richard O'Brien (Dad), Dan Povenmire (Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz/ Darthenshmirtz), Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (Major Monogram/Major Hologram), Dee Bradley Baker (Perry the Platypus, Chewbacca, Doof's Dad), John Viener (Norm/Norm-3PO/Pnorman), Maulik Pancholy (Baljeet Tjinder), Bobby Gaylor (Buford van Stomm), Alyson Stoner (Isabella Garcia-Shapiro)

Recurring Characters: Olivia Olson (Vanessa/Vanessa the Twi'Lek), Tyler Mann (Carl), Jack McBrayer (Irving), Mitchel Musso (Jeremy), Ariel Winter (Gretchen)

Guest Voices: Nick Jameson (Uncle Owen), John Mathot (Captain Antilles), Jeff Stewart (Porkins), Christopher Corey Smith (Luke Skywalker, Blatto), April Winchell (Princess Leia), Simon Pegg (Candace's C.O., C-3PO), Ross Marquand (Han Solo), Eddie Pittman (Darth Vader) / Kelly Hu (Stacy), Eileen Galindo (Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro), Luc Robitaille (Himself) / Isabella Murad (Milly), Michaela Zee (Ginger), Diamond White (Holly), Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental) / Oliver Chris (Mr. Macabre), David Koechner (Rusty Bridges), Alex Hirsch (Officer Concord) / Malcolm McDowell (Grandpa Fletcher), Gary Cole (Principal Lang), Jennifer Grey (Mrs. Pierpoint), Logan Miller (Johnny), Benita Scheckel (Lacie), Danica McKellar (Becky), Josh Gad (Wendell), Stephen Root (Floyd), J.K. Simmons (Napoleon) / Allison Janney (Charlene)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Surround 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired / Closed Captioned
Episodes Originally Aired December 7, 2012 - June 23, 2014; Special Aired July 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

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Star Wars is perhaps the richest source for parody in the entertainment world. Mel Brooks sent up George Lucas' space saga when it was still just a trilogy and relatively new. More recently, animated television comedies have done their own spoofs with the blessing, cooperation,
and even participation of Lucasfilm. "Family Guy", "Robot Chicken", and LEGO have all mined the property at length multiple times.

Now, Disney, having bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for the princely sum of $4 billion, gets into the act with Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars, an obvious next move following the Disney Channel cartoon's well-received 2013 Marvel Comics crossover special Mission Marvel.

The 51-minute Star Wars opens, of course, with a scroll joke, a mix of verbal and voiceover humor. That sets the tone for a meeting of the two franchises that aligns with one's expectations but entertains in the process. Dressed in Jedi garb, platypus-spy Perry/Agent P crashes the Empire Administration Offices and steals blueprints for the Death Star. He turns the plans over to Princess Leia, who hides the disc inside R2-D2. Yes, the Lucasfilm blessing enables this cartoon to use character names and likenesses, and even John Williams score themes. There is nothing unauthorized about this special and while that might be cause for concern among those looking for a toothy, edgy parody (which presumably "Family" and "Robot" still managed to do), a TV-G Disney Channel would be the wrong place to expect such a thing.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz is Darthensmirtz, who shows off his Force Grip in song, in "Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars." Buford, Candace, and Baljeet are storm troopers whose biggest assignment is to buy socks for Darth Vader.

Step-brothers and summer adventurers Phineas and Ferb are enjoying life on Tatooine, as they explain in "We Love Tatooine", the first of the special's five original songs. They are friends of moisture farmer Luke Skywalker. Meanwhile, their big sister Candace, Buford, and Baljeet are Imperial storm troopers. They are disappointed to be assigned to get socks for Darth Vader. They would much rather find the stolen Death Star plans. To that end, they track the droids to Tatooine and then Mos Eisley. They're not great about following directions and when they do acquire the socks requested, they accidentally give Vader a hoagie instead of the footwear.

Agent P stumbles into a sand people birthday party. Meanwhile, in Mos Eisley, chatty Phineas and the quiet Ferb team up with Isabella, who is kind of the Han Solo of the piece, as pilot of her ship The Centennial Chihuahua.

The special largely limits itself to the first film, the one originally called just Star Wars. It is not slavish to the Episode IV plot, but it seems to deliberately not venture into fruitful sequel and prequel concepts,
like Yoda and the Ewoks. It stands to reason that future specials could tackle them. As "Family" and "Robot" have illustrated, there's just too much lore to cover in one go.

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars offers a good mix of both of the titular universes. The "Phineas" characters take precedence, but they are molded in the vein of Star Wars personalities and while the two franchises are distant in tone and composition, it works just fine. The many writers credited on this special display a clear knowledge and appreciation of Star Wars. Their comedy isn't simply a regurgitation of bits that earlier parodies have done. It's pretty clever and will be most enjoyed by those who are fans of both "Phineas" and Star Wars. Highlights include a very funny throwaway joke about the infamous Greedo-Han Solo cantina crossfire and an amusing shout-out to Jar Jar Binks. Impressively, even minor characters are drawn to design and the big ones like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker clearly resemble the actors who famously portrayed them.

Ferb uncovers his dark side, going all Darth Maul on Phineas. Spilled grape juice produces evil clones of Perry the platypus in "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror."

Three months after premiering on Disney Channel as part of July's "Out of This World Weekend" to impressive ratings, Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars recently came to DVD, joined by five additional standard half-hours of "Phineas" episodes, including one that won't air until next Tuesday.

2. For Your Ice Only/Happy New Year! (22:33) (Originally aired December 7, 2012)
In Canada for Christmas vacation, the family attends a hockey game like no other. The second half sees Phineas and Ferb making a ball to drop from space as part of their New Year's Eve sleepover at Isabella's house and party-attending Candace trying to bust them.

3. Steampunx/It's No Picnic (22:33) (Originally aired November 16, 2013 & June 23, 2014)
Phineas and Ferb somehow journey to 1903 and try to invent something to unveil at a World's Fair, while Perry Swerry the platypus swan wrangles with Doofenshmirtz. Isabella plans a picnic for Phineas.

4. Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror (Parts 1 & 2) (22:33) (Originally aired October 5, 2013)
An old man in a bookmobile introduces three shorts forming this Halloween special. Candace reads an incantation she thinks has turned her stuffed animal alive and evil. Doofenshmirtz has three wishes he needs to phrase just right. Phineas and Ferb accidentally make evil clones of Perry.

Teaching his daughter's high school science class as community service in lieu of jail, Doofenshmirtz makes a change to his go-to textbook in "Doof 101." Phineas, Ferb and friends try their hands at sports in "Tales from the Resistance: Back to the 2nd Dimension."

5. Doof 101/Father's Day (22:33) (Originally aired June 9, 2014)
Doofenshmirtz begins teaching science at his daughter's high school.
The boys have fun in a replica old biplane with their father and grandfather.

6. Tales from the Resistance: Back to the 2nd Dimension (Parts 1 & 2) (22:33) (Scheduled to air November 25, 2014)
Phineas and Ferb play sports after discovering a bunch of sporting goods. Everyone learns about Doofenshmirtz's "ex-"wife Charlene, to whom Candace stands up.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The feature presentation looks great. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen shows the simple Flash animation with Star Wars nicely blending some unusual computer-generated elements. The video stays sharp and spotless throughout. Sound is offered only in Dolby 2.0 surround, which seems a little antiquated. But the lack of a 5.1 soundtrack does not significantly hamper the experience. No dubs or foreign subtitles are included, but the hard of hearing are covered by English SDH subs and closed captions.

C-3PO dances the robot on the Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars DVD main menu. Disney gives you much more than just the titular special here.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Since the bonus episodes are considered part of the feature presentation, there are no bonus features by the menu's count.

The disc opens with a long trailer for "Star Wars Rebels",
a short one for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars": The Lost Missions, and trailers for 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition and Big Hero 6. The menu's Sneak Peeks listing plays ads for Disney Movie Rewards and Frozen: Sing-Along Edition before repeating the rest.

The main menu plays clips from the special's happy ending and score.

Inside an embossed slipcover featuring the same artwork, the black keepcase adds Disney Movie Rewards and Disney Movie Club inserts to the gray disc. More noteworthy than any of that is a heavy duty Perry-in-Carbonite keychain that is awfully specific to serve its intended purpose.

The Star Wars versions of Ferb, Phineas, Candace, Buford, and Baljeet are sad to see this review come to an end.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As someone who loves the original Star Wars trilogy and isn't all that crazy about "Phineas and Ferb", I found the meeting of these two worlds to be pretty enjoyable and certainly one of the finest moments of the popular animated Disney Channel series' run to date. I don't know if there's much replay value to the title special and I struggled to get through the other five episodes. For fans of the show who want it on DVD, though, this release is an appealing one that is happily filled close to DVD capacity.

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Reviewed November 22, 2014.



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