Bring Me a Soothing Lozenge!
From 2001 to 2006 a little show called Invader Zim snuck onto Nickelodeon. It’s core demographic was kids ages 2 to 11, which, in hindsight, explains the low ratings and eventual cancellation. Invader Zim was a weird show, and, as a middle schooler, I was obsessed. The show follows alien invader Zim and his incompetent robot GIR as they infiltrate an Earth neighborhood and attempt to conquer the planet. While everyone turns a blind eye to Zim and his obvious alien ways, Zim’s schoolmate Dib is the only one who sees through his disguise. Dib tries to expose Zim at every turn but no one ever believes him.
In 2006, after a 26-episode run, Nickelodeon canceled Invader Zim. Thirteen years later, Netflix and Nickelodeon Animation Studio have decided to continue where Invader Zim left off with full-length movie Enter the Florpus. Written by Jhonen Vasquez and bringing back the original voice actors, Enter the Florpus is that perfect shot of nostalgia if you were a weird kid in the early 2000s.
Enter the Florpus brings us back to Dib, where he has been watching Zim’s house for months after Zim disappeared without a trace. When Zim suddenly reappears on his lawn, Dib confronts him; Zim reveals he’s been in his house the whole time, which was Phase 1 of his plan to conquer Earth. But, having been in hiding for so long, he’s forgotten Phase 2 of his plan. Zim falls into a sulk when he can’t remember Phase 2, eventually being unintentionally inspired by Dib to take over Professor Membrane’s Peace Day keynote speech and implement a new Phase 2 to get the Almighty Tallest to come to Earth.
The animation was just about spot-on from the original show, although there were some obvious differences. In Enter the Florpus, things were a lot rounder and slightly softer than in the original animation, which made things look a lot less sinister than they used to. There were still those iconic elements present, though; the occasional long rectangular teeth, weird tongues, stretchy noodly arms and legs, deceptively cute animals. While Enter the Florpus is its own entity, it was nice to see so many callbacks to the original show.
What I found particularly charming was, during the scenes when the children are holding hands across the world, most, if not all, of Zim’s old schoolmates are present. Tak’s ship also makes a return, as do the Almighty Tallest; going into new media and hearing the same voices is like coming home after thirteen years away. There’s also the return of Minimoose, who plays a huge part in Enter the Florpus. And, that old Zim habit of sitting in the toilet and cackling maniacally.
Enter the Florpus is the perfect continuation of Invader Zim; it’s a delightful combination of new animation and the same old random screaming that made us all love Invader Zim so much. It’s a new story, but when you get right down to it, it’s still the same old Zim.
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