Paramount // 2007 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Packard (Retired) // August 29th, 2007
"Burgers aren't for rulin' worlds!" -- Mr. Krabs
SpongeBob fans craving new episodes beyond the four seasons already available on DVD and unable to wait for the fifth season's upcoming release can find a bit of respite with SpongeBob SquarePants -- Friend or Foe?. Highlighted by the titular two-part episode that delves into the past friendship between rival restaurateurs Plankton and Mr. Krabs, this compilation serves up seven episodes from the beginnings of the fifth season of Nickelodeon's massively-successful animated series, SpongeBob SquarePants.
The episodes on the DVD include:
* "Friend or Foe"
After years of watching the diminutive but determined Plankton try his best to swipe Mr. Krabs' secret formula to Bikini Bottom's tastiest treat, the Krabby Patty, it's almost tough to believe that the two of them were once pals. After Plankton's latest attempt to steal the formula fails, Mr. Krabs pulls up a barrel and regales SpongeBob and customers with his tale of a friendship from long ago. Patchy the Pirate and his parrot-on-strings add to the silliness.
* "The Original Fry Cook"
SpongeBob goes into full-on paranoia mode when Jim, the Krusty Krab's first fry cook, pays a visit. Convinced that Jim (or, as SpongeBob puts it, ?He who flipped Krabby Patties in the before time?) has returned to reclaim his old job, SpongeBob prepares to give up his spatula and say goodbye to the kitchen, the grease stain, and all 298 frozen Krabby Patties.
* "Night Light"
A scary story read before bedtime turns SpongeBob into a darkness-fearing lunatic. Even blinking brings a nanosecond of horror to a seriously wigged-out SpongeBob.
* "Rise and Shine"
Ever wonder what Patrick's mornings are like? This episode leaves you wondering how SpongeBob's best friend has the brain power to even make it out of bed in the first place.
Kelpo cereal offers a "FREE PRIZE INSIDE!" Or so thinks SpongeBob, who missed the tiny word "offer" printed between the words "prize" and "inside." 99 Kelpo box tops later, SpongeBob waits impatiently by the mailbox for his prize.
* "Fungus Among Us"
SpongeBob tries to wipe up a strange pile of green goo on the floor that Gary was nibbling. Soon, the foul stuff begins to spread, covering SpongeBob and anyone else who's unfortunate enough to come in contact with the mysterious ?ick.?
* "Spy Buddies"
Mr. Krabs is concerned that Plankton hasn't tried to steal the Krabby Patty formula in almost a month. Fearing Plankton must be up to something, he sends SpongeBob and Patrick on a top-secret spy mission to follow Plankton and determine his plans.
While SpongeBob completists or die-hard fans chomping at the bit to add new episodes to their DVD library will have no problem forking over the roughly fifteen bucks it'll take to put SpongeBob SquarePants: Friend or Foe? on their shelves, the question for others becomes, "Do I pick this up or wait for the inevitable release of SpongeBob SquarePants Season Five on DVD to get these episodes?"
The good news is that you won't go wrong if you decide to plunk down the cash and pick up this compilation, as SpongeBob SquarePants: Friend or Foe? packs a lot of zany, classic SpongeBob fun within its 84 minutes.
I've always enjoyed a good back story or learning just what it is that makes a character tick, and SpongeBob SquarePants: Friend or Foe? doesn't disappoint. Of course, the real draw here is the "Friend or Foe" episode. It's a nice change of pace to see Plankton and Krabs as chums pre-Chum Bucket and finding out what led to their friendship's eventual demise. Viewers also get to see Mr. Krabs introduced to "the love of his life" as he develops the secret formula to the Krabby Patty that Bikini Bottom's residents know and love today. "The Original Fry Cook" shows us that SpongeBob's skills with a spatula fall short of those wielded by Krusty Krab's original master, Jim. Even the "Employee of the Month" wall (full of framed pictures of a grinning SpongeBob) holds a secret homage to the restaurant's past. "Rise and Shine" introduces viewers to a typical morning under Patrick's rock, proving once again that SpongeBob's best friend is dimmer than you thought.
In typical SpongeBob SquarePants fashion, adults will find gags sprinkled here and there that will whiz right over younger viewers' heads. James Bond and the Mission: Impossible films are ripe for spoofing in "Spy Buddies." Grown-ups familiar with the '70s will enjoy the flashback in "The Original Fry Cook," which is chock-full of bad slang, worse music, and fake sideburns. "Friend or Foe" features a young SpongeBob attending school in an overturned shipwreck named "Poseidon Elementary." And while I don't know if it was intentional, I couldn't help but think that "Fungus Among Us" was inspired by "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" segment from George A. Romero's 1982 horrorfest Creepshow.
Invariably, it all comes down to the humor, and a few episodes in particular had me laughing it up just as much as my 7-year-old son. "Night Light" is SpongeBob at his wacky, manic best. He screams at every hint of darkness, be it a turned-off light, the split second he blinks, or the darkness he discovers in his own noggin after rolling his eyes back into his head. Repeated middle-of-the-night trips to the store to buy night lights leave the inside of his home -- even his toilet -- plastered with the things. Patrick's futile attempts to understand and deal with an alarm clock and make breakfast are among the highlights in "Rise and Shine." I've always loved laughing at the goofy guy, and he gave me plenty of reason to chuckle in this one. But it's the scene between Plankton and Patrick in "Spy Buddies" that had me rolling, in which an uncomfortable Patrick struggles desperately to hold in his "butt laser" as Plankton offers him bran muffins and prune Danishes.
The two extras (unless you consider previews and credits as "special features") on the disc are a mixed bag. The "Plankton and Krabs Photo Gallery" is sparse, featuring just 10 photos from the "Friend or Foe" episode. Luckily, the "Original Uncut Animatic: Friend or Foe" offers up something with much more substance. As the fully-animated "Friend or Foe" episode plays in a small window, a larger window displays the rough pencil sketches corresponding to the animation. Anyone interested in how animated segments are storyboarded should check this fun behind-the-scenes extra.
Overall, SpongeBob SquarePants: Friend or Foe? is a fun, albeit small, collection of largely-solid episodes. If you've burned through Seasons One through Four and just can't wait until season five hits DVD, you'd do well to check into this one.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Packard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Original Uncut Animatic: Friend or Foe
* Plankton and Krabs Photo Gallery
* Official Site