Amidst the qualms of suburbia, you find something truly spooky to deal with…. Neighbors. Beyond the unkempt lawns and picket fences what are those around us hiding? Probably no life, just like you and me. What if your neighborhood was infiltrated by someone or rather something truly horrifying? Someone on the registry? No, well yes. But even more terrifying than that is a space invader bent on conquering Earth. While the chances of that is rather slim, that’s just the case when it comes to Invader Zim.

Invader Zim is a show I personally remember vaguely liking, but don’t remember much about. If we’re being honest my recollection was that Dib was two separate characters for some reason: one that was an audience surrogate that was Zim’s friend, and another that was the paranoid trench coat wearing investigator who tried to stop Zim’s alien antics. I think that was just my brain trying to compensate for the fact that the show lacks a traditional protagonist. Zim pretty much exists for unlikable characters, dark humor, and idiot plots. This show is a hot topic dream, and Into the Florpus proves why it’s the Donnie Darko of 2000’s cartoons.

Invader ZIM (2001)
Richard Steven Horvitz and Rikki Simons in Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus (2019)

Invader Zim’s redesign is decent. The old cartoon used to have a more dark, moody, and muted color scheme but this special is more in tuned with Jhonen Vasquez’s evolved art style through his comics. The new colors really does pop, it has a more cosmic feel to it, and it’s easy on the eyes and has a neat style to it. I think while it is based on an old show, it’s better to think of this as a comic brought to life. The animation at time can seem…. Cheap. I noticed quite a bit of cycling of animations as well as holding frames to at least 2s at time. They do add some motion to the background and when you have really animated characters such as Zim and Gir they do seem very expressive and energetic.  However, it’s passable and Zim has always been a show about the art and they certain have some great visuals throughout. I’m a little tired of the takes that mixed-animation or alternative animation sequences often means good animation as a whole (This got the Boss Baby that much deserved Oscar nod)… but here it’s done in a reasonable and humorous way and at the end of the day Zim is about the humor.

Into the Florpus is rather funny. Every character operates on such a different wavelength in a sense that it’s hard to expect what’s coming next. It’s often a loud and in your face sense of humor but the characters are either so blissfully oblivious, incompetent, or egotistical that the special finds many ways to poke fun at all the characters. The voice cast certainly does well in bringing these characters to life and making their humor as subtle or booming as it needs to be.

The story feels like a stretched out episode of the show which is endearing and appropriate for a tv movie but I can see it being a little meandering if you’re not a fan of the show. It leads itself for some comedic antics but a good chunk of the special is dedicated to figuring out what to do before the plot can advance. It works for Zim but I can see someone who doesn’t find the characters so endearing finding a lot of this simple, and lacking much cinematic gravity to it.

Overall, Invader Zim: Into the Florpus is a welcomed return and simply a good time. I feel Netflix and Nickelodeon should consider maybe reviving Invader Zim for a season. I think with Disney’s more wholesome streaming service bringing competition, Netflix should consider investing in more edgy youth content and I think it could be an interesting place for Nickelodeon to place riskier and more intended for older audiences programming on streaming. If you’re looking for a spooky time, consider heading into the Florpus.

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