"Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus" (2019) - Film Review
When Zim and Gir mysteriously reappear on their lawn after a long absence, a now obese Dib, who had been awaiting their return, confronts the duo. Zim reveals that his disappearance was part of his plan in the form of 'phase 1' where Dib would spend most of his time obsessing over Zim and forgetting to take care of himself, which, after some time, made Dib physically unfit to face off against Zim. Zim proceeds to ramble on about 'phase 2', but when he finally contacts his Almighty Tallest, has completely forgotten what 'phase 2' actually is.
What follows is a collection of all of the greatest moments from the show combined into one television-special length film that clocks in at a little over an hour long. There are shenanigans, childish pranks, Zim failing, Dib failing, Gir doing Gir things and more.
In terms of story, Enter the Florpus is a solid, familiar tale that fans can find comfort in. The movie feels more like a television special, rather than a revival; as though the story is just another episode.
I will say that the comedy is absolutely top-notch. It has the same, old fashioned style from the original series but adds on some more modernized humor as well. This only showed that Zim could, in fact, stand the test of time. There is one line that really got me and I have no idea why, it's probably due to it being such a Zim thing to say, but it goes like this, "You're ugly when you lie, Dib!" Zim says, "I'm not lying!" Dib replies, to which Zim fires back, "Then why are you ugly?"
To be honest, I don't have much to say about the plot, it's the same old Invader Zim that we know and love, yet there is something incredibly heartwarming and comforting about that.
The most I can say about Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, is in regards to its look and aesthetic. The overall design of the film is vibrant and one-of-a-kind. Scenes are crisp and the rich blend of greens and purples and reds all make for a very powerful presentation. This really shows when the film hits its climax and, spoiler alert, Zim transports Earth to a faraway place in space. You can see oddly shaped planets and a solar system with colors meshing and colliding in a beautiful moshpit of shades and tints. The characters are given a new color palette with more powdery colors that really helps them stand out from the bleak and gritty setting of their world.
Another staple of the Invader Zim series is the wide range of emotion that characters can convey. When a character is mad, this becomes overly obvious, sometimes characters foaming at the mouth to convey true hatred. Other times, characters will be sad and all of their cartoonish features sink downwards. If they're happy they'll yell and their grins will become impossibly large. Emotion really stands out in this world where most humans are either dumb, incredibly ignorant, or upset for little to no reason.
There are many different nods and callbacks to the original series that made me smile and chuckle a bit. They usually came in the form of discarded trash lying around Dib's room or Zim's base, but I still really appreciate seeing them once again in a new format in 2019. My inner fanboy really did lose his mind many times throughout the movie.
Much like the original show, the art design is a solid mix of hand-drawn and 3D animation, but the transition between the two is smooth and seamless. Honestly, this is some of the best animation work I've seen done on a film in quite a while; everything just feels so masterfully crafted. Jhonen Vasquez is one of the most talented animators I've ever witnessed. He puts fun and creativity before business and it really shows in his work. He really demonstrates his ability with the opening sequence of the film where everything kind of takes on an anime tone to summarize everything leading up to this point.
With such colorful personalities in an incredibly colorful performance, Enter the Florpus would also need to bring back their colorful cast.
Going into this movie I heard a lot of people saying Richard Horvitz's voice was getting weaker in his older age. I went to go see him at a comic convention recently and, despite him saying that Zim was perhaps the most difficult voice for him to do, he doesn't sound bad at all. Richard puts on a really amazing show and hasn't let the years slow him down one bit. Richard sounds as though he has just finished recording the last season of the show and went directly into recording his lines for the movie.
Andy Berman as Dib did a phenomenal job as well, he brought Dib's style and personality back without any issues and it sounds like he had a blast doing so as well.
Rodger Bumpass's voice as Professor Membrane is still as dramatic and inquisitive as it was back in 2000, so once again, no complaints there.
Melissa Fahn also reprises her role as Gaz and, once again, she puts on an amazing, albeit cynical, performance.
So, to summarize, everyone involved in the voice work for Enter the Florpus seems to have had immense passion and fun while doing the voice-over work for the film. Almost as though they missed these roles.
Remixed and refined is the best way I can describe the music of Enter the Florpus because the movie brings back all of those original tunes from the show and the charm they had about them and builds the amazing atmosphere of the movie more-so.
The music is mysterious and almost ominous a lot of the time, much like Zim himself always falling just a bit short of world domination or beating Dib for good. Other times, the music is fierce and anthem-like, especially when dealing with scenes of the Almighty Tallest.
On the end credits there is a remixed version of the main theme of the original show and, let me tell you, it made my inner child nearly burst out and possess my adult body.
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus is my favorite animated movie of the year. Could this be due to the massive amounts of nostalgia I have for the Invader Zim property? Perhaps, but the film by itself has something for everybody. Kids will most certainly enjoy the imagination and wackiness of the world before them, and adults could also enjoy the imagination, creativity, and humor that not many animated films seem to have in the present day.
Enter the Florpus didn't try to reinvent the wheel, it didn't try to revive the series, it didn't try to bring something new to the table, it was just Invader Zim and for that, I can't help but love it. The world may have changed since almost twenty years ago, but Zim is still doing his thing invading, not only the fictional Earth, but also our hearts. Go ahead, commence cringe, I have no regrets.
Should you see it? Yes. This movie is a must-see for fans of the series and fans of animated films as well. Just go over to Netflix and stream it right now, it is more than deserving of the hour of time it takes to watch.