Almost two decades ago, Nickelodeon debuted arguably one of its best-animated series to date. There are plenty of reasons to love Invader Zim, which is why it became such a cult classic among fans.
The series aired with a penned 40-episodes to be produced, but only broadcasted 27 of these before being abruptly cancelled. With Nickelodeon intent of keeping its wholesome family image Invader Zim was never going to meet these standards. The show’s creator, Jhonen Vasquez, known for his crazy antics was never going to fit this mould.
After a decade of back and forth, countless petitions by its fans, along with just as many forums dedicated to our favourite green alien and the band of misfits, the unlikely scenario of Nickelodeon actually greenlighting its return was non-existent.
Fast-forward to 2017, when, unexpectedly, the impossible happened. Invader Zim would be returning, this time in the form of a featured movie on Netflix. It’s not too far-fetched to believe the team at Netflix played a huge role in making this happen, but this past weekend, the film, Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus was released to the world.
The storyline picks up right where we left things all those years ago, continuing the battle between Zim and Dib, addressing the long wait before the two are back at each other’s throats in hilarious style. It’s very difficult to explain the premise of the film without giving away a chunk of the story but, at the same time, it’s not a new concept. Zim terrorises earth, Dib attempts to thwart his plan, while at the same time seeking the approval of his father, Professor Membrane.
One of the greatest aspects of the new film is that we get to watch Zim in glorious High-Definition. Even more so is the fact that we know the creators love to throw in those small details into various scenes with a host of easter-eggs. The animations and graphics are beautiful, the only sad part being that it does leave one wanting the entire collection of 27 episodes to be reworked into HD as well.
Another great thing is that the humour continues just the same as it did before. What’s brilliant this time around is that the creators manage to work in numerous pop-culture references and homage to recent films, shows and general happenings around the world, including references to Us, Avengers and even how Apple hosts their latest product releases. Lastly, the voice cast remains mostly unchanged with the original actors returning for the leading roles. This allows the over-the-top nature of the team’s dynamics to shine through, especially the moments of GIR being GIR, as voiced by Rosearik Rikki Simons.
There are a few issues with Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, most of which can be glanced over as you’re just happy that your favourite characters are back on screen. But, if I have to be fair in my review, the biggest gripe I had with the film is a result of its title. I feel that the actual Florpus seems like nothing more than an afterthought, probably used in the title of the film because it’s something weird to say. If I’m really brutal in my opinion, you can remove it entirely from the film and still keep 99% of what happens just the same. That said, it does provide a few seconds of insanity with the creative team being allowed to release what may have been lying deep within their subconscious onto the canvas.
When it was first announced, many of us suspected the film would round up the series with one final hoorah. In a sense, that’s exactly what we got. But instead of tying up all the loose ends with a happily-ever-after for Dib (along with Gaz and Professor Membrane) as he defeats Zim one last time, it leaves the door open just enough to entice fans once more with the possibility that it could be continued in some form. What the film also proves is that your most prized shows are in good hands with Netflix at the helm, which no doubt will play a huge role when it comes to the likes of the next big Nickelodeon feature to be reworked, Avatar: TLA.
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus is more than just nostalgia, it works well across all levels with a proper story and character dynamics to boot. It’s a polished product that looks great. It does, however, leave you wanting more than just 71-minutes.
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus is an insanely wild ride, taking us right back to all the highs the show had back in the day.