HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars
HTS Overall Score:78
With “The Clone War: The Lost Missions” coming out, Disney sent us all a little gift in the form of “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars”. If you’re not familiar with the animated show, “Phineas and Ferb” is one of the few morning cartoons that is actually watchable anymore. It seems like when I grew up we were LOADED down with awesome cartoons to watch, but in the last 10 years or so it seems like morning television has really gone downhill. We’ve had a few great ones like “Kim Possible” and “Johnny Test”, but most animated morning shows are pretty painful. “Phineas and Ferb” is a throwback to the those days when cartoons were fun for the whole family, blending witty humor that’s perfect for the adults, and plenty of good natured fun for the children. The “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” episode is only available on the DVD here, so this is the perfect way to fill in the gap now that “The Clone Wars” is over with and there is still over 6 months to go till we see Episode 7.
Instead of retelling Star Wars, or turning it into a bunch of shorts like “Robot Chicken” or “Family Guy” (both of which are incredibly hysterical renditions by the way), we have a sort of “intertwined” parallel story to go along with “Episode 4”. Instead of revolving around Luke, Leia, Han and the rest, we’ve got ourselves Phineas and Ferb, a pair of moisture farmers who are having the time of their life back on Tatooine. That is until they run across a set of Death Star plans that R2D2 is carrying back to the rebel base on the moon of Yavin. Staying one step ahead, behind or to the side of the regular story, they wind in and out of the original tale, sometimes walking right by our normal heroes and sometimes intersecting right in the middle.
While Phineas and Ferb hire Isabella, a close second to the famed Han Solo in piloting skills, to take them to their destination, a trio of underappreciated storm troopers are in hot pursuit of them and the plans they carry. Their quest leads them a little out of the way and actually end up aboard the Death Star in a twist of fate. Trying to get out alive, they run across Darthenshmirtz, a low level Darth who’s busy inventing evil devices in an effort to get one up on Darth Vader. Ferb ends up becoming the victim of his latest experiment, and gets turned into a Sith Warrior by accident. Now Phineas has to get the stolen plans back to the Rebel base, rescue Ferb from Darthenshmirtz AND get off the Death Star before a certain group of Rebel star fighters make a certain attack run down an unprotected trench.
The TV special isn’t as adult oriented as the “Family Guy” or “Robot Chicken” adventures, but really aimed at a younger, more G rated audience. Being said, it’s still an incredibly fun experience that shows that you don’t HAVE to be dirty to get laughs. The wit and humor is top notch, with a few scenes that had me rolling on the floor, especially if you’re a Star Wars nerd like me (The Dianoga trash monster scene is the first to come to mind). Phineas and Ferb themselves are a blast as the dynamic duo and the storm troopers Candice, Buford and Gretchen are hysterically funny as the bumbling “villains” of the series. Darthenshirtz is a bit over the top at times, but Norm3P0 makes up for our overly zany adult with his own bumbling. Amusingly enough, we have a fan favorite Star Wars aficionado in the form of Simon Pegg, who ends up voicing C-3P0 as a little cameo.
While the DVD only lists the Star Wars episode on the disc, we actually have another 5 bonus episodes from the regular series on the roster as the special features (ironically they are on the chapter menu of the Disc, but are listed as special features in all press materials, so don’t be surprised when you see a whole bunch of chapters that don’t seem to have anything to do with Stars Wars). These extra episodes are “For your ice Only/Happy New Year”, “Steampunx/It’s no Picnic”, “Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror”, “Doof 101/Father’s Day” and “Tales from the Resistance: Back to the Second Dimension”. Two of which are making their U.S. debut for the very first time on this disc.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32881[/img]The 1.78:1 encoded image looks rather good, but shows a few signs of over compression by having 164 minutes of content put on one single disc. Colors are good, and show some incredible pop. Contrasts are great and black levels are really good. I was really impressed with the level of detail in the image from the animation department as you can see folds and little drawn details on clothing and the mechanical devices throughout the film. There’s even no signs of jaggies or any other issues related to the animation. The problem starts when you see fast motion on screen, that’s when you start to notice that there’s some pretty decent macroblocking going on, and even some dithering if you know what you’re looking for. It wasn’t horrible, but still very noticeable even when not paying attention to it. Just a little irritant that could have been cleared up by splitting the episodes across 2 discs.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32889[/img]The show is only recorded in stereo, so a standard fare 2.0 Dolby Digital track is pretty much what you can expect on the disc. We’re, of course, not going to be having a rollicking action track without an surrounds or LFE channel, but the 2.0 track does an excellent job at replicating the television show’s atmosphere and solid sonic detail. The dialogue is always perfectly audible and the front soundstage does a very solid job at giving the mains more to do than just recreate the vocals. Rushing speeders and the shrieking of fighters pan from one side of the system to the other, creating some very nice directional effects (even if they are only in the front of the room).
• 5 Bonus Episodes
“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” has some great content on the disc, some of which is not on any DVD box set to date, which makes it prime material for actually GETTING, instead of being ticked off when the studios milk a series to death with box sets, best of sets, random episode sets etc. Instead we have one of the better Star Wars TV specials to date from a great TV show that even has some extra episodes on the disc to interest people in the Disney XD show. Despite a few technical flaws in the video encode, the disc is solid package and gives a lot of value for the price offered. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Vincent Martella, Ashley Tisdale, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Directed by: Robert Hughes, Sue Perrotto
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 164 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 11th 2014
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