Why Is Candace Being Bullied by The Entire Universe?
By Trevor Claridge
“Candace Against the Universe” is the second feature film in the Phineas and Ferb cinematic universe (PFCU, obviously). Only this time, the film focuses its attention on the show’s titular characters’ big sister, Candace, as she and the cast travel the cosmos and investigate distant landscapes. Along the journey, the movie uses the relationships between characters to explore themes of family and individuality.¹
Across the show’s four seasons, Candace has pretty much one defining character trait: a primal, unbridled need to “bust” her brothers. “Bust” in this case means getting them in trouble with their mother for all their fantastical and dangerous exploits.
Nearly every time she attempts this, however, whatever contraption Phineas and Ferb have built that day inconveniently (or conveniently, depending on the perspective) disappears right at the pivotal moment of their mother looking to see what Candace is so worked up about.
“Candace Against the Universe” finally addresses this strange phenomenon as Candace becomes convinced that her misfortune is the fault of a universe that has decided to spite her specifically.
After some pouting and exasperation, Candace and the crew are quickly flung into a spacefaring adventure.
Some rudimentary themes are examined along the way through the stars, although they are usually stated outright by one or more of the cast. Through Candace, the viewer can expect some thoughts on what it means to be special and the importance of family.
This is a children’s movie, so the fact that the movie is upfront with its themes makes sense. The movie had a message and it wanted to express it. What better way to do that very thing than to come right out and say what the moral of the story really was?
For these same reasons, the movie can be very predictable at times. Again, a 21-year-old college student is not really the target audience, so the predictability doesn’t harm the tone of the film as a whole.
Where “Candace Against the Universe” really shines is in its charm and wit. Jokes jump from predictable to absolutely off-the-wall ridiculous and truly laugh-out-loud funny. People who are opposed to the “random = funny” form of comedy might not enjoy some of these jokes, however.
Audiences of all ages are likely to find themselves chuckling for at least part of the 87 minute runtime, especially fans of the original TV series. Just because this is a children’s movie does not mean it can’t be enjoyed by everyone.
“Phineas and Ferb” has always been an above average cartoon in terms of production value and creativity, and “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe” is just another example of those qualities.
Watch it to relax your brain after a long work week. Watch it to feel like a kid again. Maybe even watch it to learn a little bit about family and the sense of self.
Regardless, it’s really a matter of “will you watch it?” and not a matter of “should you?”
- Young, B., (Producer), & Bowen, B. (Director). (2020). Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe [Motion picture]. United States of America: Disney Television Animation. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/36KxRXF