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Review: PHINEAS AND FERB: STAR WARS

The galaxy far, far away collides with Phineas and Ferb in the upcoming special Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars. The mix proves to be an amusing one, and you don’t have to be familiar with Phineas and Ferb to enjoy the mash-up. The hour-long special makes a smart move right out of the gate by inserting characters in a parallel story to the cast of Episode IV: A New Hope. Instead of one of them being Luke Skywalker, they run into Luke Skywalker. Phineas, Ferb, Perry the Platypus, Isabella, and others do what they can to help deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance and save the day.

Right off the bat, they state the episode is not canon. Because yes, there are always those fans. Even though it’s not part of the universe, it’s fun to drop in on Luke, Leia, and Obi-Wan and see the story from a different perspective. The Phineas and Ferb characters are similar to some of their Star Wars counterparts – Isabella has much in common with Han Solo – but there are enough differences to keep you on your toes. For example, moisture farmers Phineas and Ferb love Tatooine and joke about much Luke whines about the planet.

The special doesn’t just focus on the heroes. Candace, Buford, and Baljeet are Stormtroopers, and you get a look into how they were brainwashed into thinking the Empire is a worthy government. The tone is lighthearted, but it still makes you think about why the Stormtroopers are fighting for the Emperor. I’d love to interview a Stormtrooper about his or her beliefs. Anyway, in that and other scenes, the cartoon has depth I didn’t expect.

PHINEAS, FERB

Speaking of villains, Darth Vader isn’t the big bad here. Another Darth who isn’t as threatening takes center stage and uses one of his inventions to turn one of our heroes into a villain. The Darth wannabe – that’s my official name for him – is goofy and reminds of an endearing Scooby Doo brand of antagonist.

And bonus: there’s music! A few songs are sprinkled into the hour, and while I was skeptical at first, the tunes were infectious and complemented the overall tone. I’d buy at least one of them on iTunes.

Several of the jokes made me laugh out loud, but they did hit more than a few of the notes that are apparently required for Star Wars parodies. You’ll hear a line about Han shooting first, a crack about midichlorians, and some ragging on Jar Jar Binks. Still, the gags and quips will likely get a reaction from children and that is the target demographic.

That said, writers Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh have incorporated plenty for adults to enjoy. If you’re a fan of Star Wars and enjoy parodies, you’ll enjoy it even if you’ve never watched Phineas and Ferb. I’m speaking from experience on that point. Seeing the characters from the cartoon in action here makes me want to watch them on their own turf.

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars will premiere on Saturday, July 26th, at 9:00pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel.

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