TL;DR – A blast from the past that does the twin jobs of bringing closure to the past but also propelling the series forward.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Back in the day, there was an irreverent, abstract, absurd series about an alien trying to conquer the world. Who spends more time yelling at the camera that accomplishing anything. This was a show that created a world that was based around a power hierarchy of who is the tallest among them and it just works. It was a series that was a half-ridiculous and half-scathing commentary on the modern world. However, it was a show that kind of just ended rather than going out on a strong note. Well, it seems this is the year of the rebooting old cartoon shows, and I could not be happier.
So to set the scene, it has been ages since the alien Zim (Richard Steven Horvitz) and his companion Gir (Rikki Simons) have been spotted on Earth. While he has been hiding, his nemesis Dib (Andy Berman) has been focused on nothing else, including staying on a chair watching cameras forgoing all things like bathing. But when Dib was at his lowest, Zim returns because Phase 1 is complete and Phase 2 ready to start … if Zim could just remember what Phase 2 actually was.
back a series with such a specific tone can be a dangerous prospect because
there is a chance that what made it work in the early 2000s might not translate
to today. This is all compounded by the way the first series kind of went out
with a fizzle and the expectations for this movie are really high. However, I
think having watched it now that the writers and the animators took all of this
in their stride and produced a film that both honours the past and looks to the
I liked that the animators didn’t just rest on their laurels when making this film and explored some new interesting art styles. You see this right at the start where we get the opening monologue from Dib in his imaginary perfect projection of himself. There are little glimpses of this throughout the film with some more experimental designs at the end which I won’t go into to avoid spoilers but I laughed so much at some of them. All of the animations in the movie are super smooth and a real credit to the animators that brought it to life.
blend of the old and the new can also be seen in the story which both touches
of events of the past without getting bogged down in them. There is a pressure in
follow up films like this to drop as many references to the past episodes as
possible for fans of the show. While this can be great, it can also be
alienating for anyone for whom this is their first entry into Invader Zim, which is likely going to be
a lot of people. Here they take a middle ground, with a lot of cameos and Easter
Eggs in the scenery, but not throwing every reference under the sun at you
unless it is needed for the story. It also doubles down on its critique of
consumer culture and the modern world that maybe not as far away from the absurdist
world of the original series as we would have expected.
There were some moments in the film that I think really resonated well with the show. For example, there is the duality of Dib and Zim in that they are facing almost the same perceived pressure from their role models and both of them are just doing what they are doing to try and get that recognition. They both kind of realise that, but one uses it to manipulate the other, and the other one uses it for some personal growth. Also, I really liked that they took some time to bring Gaz (Melissa Fahn) to the front of the story as the one sensible member of the Membrane family.
In the end, do we recommend Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus? Yes, yes we do. I could not help but have a big smile on my face for that whole third act as the film escalated from one absurd moment to the next. They have created a film that both looks back to the past and forward to the future and I love a show that can pull off that kind of juxtaposition. I would recommend it for those who watched the show in the past but also those who have never seen the show before. Because you will want to see this little absurdist gem.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus
Directed by – Jhonen Vasquez & Jake Wyatt
Screenplay by – Jhonen Vasquez, Breehn Burns & Gary Wilson
Story by – Jhonen Vasquez
Based on – Invader Zim by Jhonen Vasquez
Music by – Kevin Manthei
Edited by – Jonathan Sims
Production/Distribution Companies – CJ Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Paramount Pictures & Netflix
Starring – Richard Steven Horvitz, Andy Berman, Melissa Fahn, Rikki Simons, Olivia d’Abo, Kevin McDonald, Rodger Bumpass, Wally Wingert, Jhonen Vasquez, Paul Greenberg, Justin Roiland, Mo Collins, Fred Tatasciore, Michael McDonald, Jenny Goldberg, Breehn Burns & Eric Bauza
Rating – Australia: PG;