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Friday, November 1, 2013

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel DVD Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
mission marvel dvdAfter Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s latest “-inator” scheme accidentally removes the powers of some very well-known Marvel Super Heroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk), the heroes enter the world of Danville and team up with Phineas and Ferb to relocate their powers, defeat the Marvel Super Villains (Red Skull, MODOK, Whiplash and Venom) – who have also shown up to steal Doofenshmirtz’s power-draining technology – and save Danville from ultimate destruction!    

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Show (4 out of 5 stars) 

If you haven’t seen the show, “Phineas and Ferb” is a fun cartoon about a pair of genius stepbrothers that airs on Disney XD.  I’m aware of it because of my son and it’s one of a few shows on the channel that is enjoyable for both kids and their parents.  Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) spend their summer vacations by building cool inventions that even Tony Stark would appreciate.   One person who doesn’t appreciate their inventions is their sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale) whose splits her days between trying to get the boys caught by their mother and thinking about her boyfriend Jeremy.  The family also has a pet platypus named Perry who unknown to them is actually a secret agent known as Agent P who also has a secret base hidden underneath the family home.  Agent P also has a smart but inept nemesis named Dr. Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire) who likes to build devices to aid him in taking over the Tri-State area.
At this point, I think everyone in the world is aware of the Marvel superheroes so I won’t go into any detail on them, other than to mention that it was just a matter of time before there was a Disney/Marvel crossover once Disney bought Marvel. I’m actually surprised that it took this long. In fact, now that Disney has bought Lucasfilm there’s already another “Phineas and Ferb” crossover planned with Star Wars.  I’ll admit that I was pretty dubious about these crossovers but after watching this one with my son and seeing how much he enjoyed it, I can acknowledge that it was a smart idea and a fun way to expose young fans of both franchises to each other which could result in new fans for both properties.
The gimmick that ties the two worlds together is the fact that Phineas and Ferb’s space station (just go with it) accidentally redirects a green beam that was accidentally shot into space by Doofenshmirtz which hits the Marvel heroes Iron Man (Adrian Pasdar), Hulk (Fred Tatasciore), Thor (Travis Willingham), and Spider-Man (Drake Bell) which drains all of their powers just after they had beaten Red Skull (Liam O’Brien), Venom (Danny Trejo), Whiplash (Peter Stormare), and MODOK (Charlie Adler) in a fight.  (Just having Spiderman in the mix with the Avengers is super cool to see since it won’t happen on the big screen thanks to Sony owning the rights to the character instead of Marvel).  Lucky for the heroes, the villains escape not knowing how bad off the good guys are.  Now weakened, Thor can’t life Mjolnir, Hulk can’t even jump, Spiderman can’t use his webs or stick to walls, and Iron Man can’t move in his suit so he has to suffer the indignity of being moved around on a dolly.
The heroes arrive in Danport to seek the help of Phineas and Ferb, while the villains track down Dr. Doofenshmirtz who claimed responsibility for stealing the heroes’ powers on his evil community webpage.  A good part of the episode is spent on the boys trying to restore the heroes’ powers while Candace keeps getting in the way, while Dr. Doofenshmirtz takes advantage of his new popularity with the villains by doing a bunch of harmless annoying pranks that he thinks are evil, which only annoys the truly evil villains who are losing patience with the wannabe bad guy.  By the end of the episode, we get to see the two worlds collide with the forces of good and evil fighting each other in a well depicted fight.
“Phineas and Ferb” – Mission Marvel is forty-four minutes of fun and your enjoyment level will vary depending how much you like the show and the Marvel universe.  Since I’m a huge fan of superheroes and a familiarity with the show, I was predisposed to enjoy it more than others.  I liked how even though the show made some jokes about the heroes foibles, abilities, and attitudes, it took them seriously while keeping the humor flowing.  It had to be hard to balance the two universes together but they pulled it off well.
I liked a lot of the little touches like Nick Fury (Chi McBride) taking over the big screen to give orders to Agent P while Mr. Monogram (who usually calls the shots) is relegated to a crappy little television.  Or like how the boys have their own variation on S.H.I.E.L.D. that they call S.H.E.D. (Secret Hideout for Emergency Defense) that’s actually a shed with an underground base underneath it.  There’s also plenty of jokes that only Marvel devotees would catch, like a reference to Howard the Duck which was really funny as well as the obligatory cameo from Stan Lee himself. Even though this is being marketed as a “full length adventure,” it’s basically just an extended episode that’s padded with a collection of episodes from “Phineas and Ferb” including: “Fly on the Wall,” “Sidetracked, Parts 1 and 2,” “Primal Perry, Parts 1 and 2,” “Backyard Hodge Podge,” “Knot My Problem,” and “Mind Share.”
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Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

For some reason, Disney doesn’t release any of their of their animated shows on Blu-ray and this one is no different.  This DVD has a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation which looks pretty good.  Although it’s nowhere near as sharp as it would be on Blu-ray, this presentation’s picture quality is decent but there are some issues.  The colors look bright and the black levels are fairly dark and solid.
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Audio (3 out of 5 stars) 

Mission Marvel’s Dolby Surround 2.0 track is something of a letdown especially when you’d think that the Marvel superheroes would warrant at least a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix.  This 2.0 track sounds a little anemic but it does the job.  The dialogue is clear but this is a front heavy track without any real surround which is too bad as that would have been cool during the final fight scenes.  The songs and the sound effects sound fine and overall this is decent for a television show but I wish they had done more.
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Extras (2 out of 5 stars) 

There’s not a lot of extras included unless you count the bonus episodes as extras, but what is here is somewhat original.
We get the following items:
  • A 12 page comic book that includes an interview with “Phineas and Ferb” creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh and Marvel Studios VP of Animation Development and Production Cort Lane and they talk about this crossover and the challenges they faced in combining the two universes.  The comic itself “Double Agent Danger” focuses on Agent P trying to find a double agent.
  • One of three different posters are included.  There’s three different designs possible so each set comes with one of them.
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Summary (3 out of 5 stars) 

This is a fun crossover that will be appealing to fans of “Phineas and Ferb” and Marvel superheroes.  I just wish it had been released on Blu-ray too.   The video and audio quality are decent for DVD and while there’s some extras, it would have been nice to get more of them such as interviews or commentaries with the combined casts.  In any case, this is what is available  and it’s not that bad of a deal for $15 if you’re a fan.
Order your copy today!
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