Our reviews of Spongebob Squarepants: Season 5, Volume 1 (published December 12th, 2007), SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (published November 10th, 2003), Spongebob Squarepants: Season 5, Volume 2 (published November 27th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete Third Season (published February 8th, 2006), SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Seventh Season (published December 11th, 2011), SpongeBob Squarepants: 10 Happiest Moments (published September 19th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Fear Of A Krabby Patty (published August 31st, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Friend Or Foe? (published August 29th, 2007), Spongebob Squarepants: Home Sweet Pineapple (published January 19th, 2005), SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom (published December 12th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Nautical Nonsense / Sponge Buddies (published March 19th, 2002), Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge For Hire (published February 9th, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob Vs. The Big One (published March 16th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob's Pest Of The West (published April 25th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongicus (published April 9th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: The Great Patty Caper (published March 13th, 2011), Spongebob Squarepants: To Love A Patty (published February 6th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: To Squarepants Or Not To Squarepants (published July 27th, 2009), SpongeBob Squarepants: Triton's Revenge (published September 11th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Truth Or Square (published November 20th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: Where's Gary? (published December 14th, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Who Bob What Pants? (published November 13th, 2008), and Spongebob's Runaway Roadtrip (published September 25th, 2011) are also available.
Dive deep down into the deep blue sea and join everyone's favorite sponge, SpongeBob SquarePants, for more nautically nonsensical adventures!
After an excellent boxed set of the first season, Paramount has returned to previous form with this single disc release. The marketing hook this time around is the inclusion of two episodes that will not see the light of day on cable until 2005. Will this disc do justice to the greatness that is SpongeBob SquarePants or will it sink faster than Ben Affleck's career?
Facts of the Case
For those of you keeping track, once again, here are your Bikini Bottom players:
• SpongeBob SquarePants: A sweet but irritating sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. He is the best fry cook in Bikini Bottom, much to the satisfaction of his boss, Mr. Krabs (and his wallet!).
• Squidward Tentacles: SpongeBob's curmudgeonly neighbor and co-worker, who lives for the day that SpongeBob leaves Bikini Bottom.
• Patrick Star: A lazy, dumb starfish who lies under a rock when he isn't hanging out with SpongeBob, or pestering Squidward.
• Sandy Cheeks: A spunky Texan squirrel who lives underwater for the sheer challenge. Insult Texas and you're dead!
• Mr. Eugene H. Krabs: Owner of The Krusty Krab, Bikini Bottom's premier eating establishment. His great passions in life are money and making more of it!
• Plankton: Owner of The Chum Bucket and Mr. Krabs' mortal enemy. His goal in life is to steal a Krabby Patty to discover the secret recipe.
I'm not going to bore you by simply repeating what I said before about the program. To read those general comments, I refer you to my review of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season, originally published in November 2003.
What I will add is that every time I watch this program, the more I realize that it is something special and out of the ordinary. Most made-for-TV animation is pretty bad, with uneven animation, awful scripts, and poor execution. SpongeBob SquarePants is different. By making sure that it has broad appeal for both kids and parents, it manages to elevate itself beyond mediocrity and toward brilliance. Now that the series is winding down, a feature film version will debut in theaters in November 2004.
Ten episodes appear on this dual-layered disc. On a scale of zero to five Krabby Patties:
• "The Fry Cook Games"
• "Squid's Day Off"
• "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler"
• "Pranks A Lot" (AKA "Nasty Pants")
• "Artist Unknown"
• "Grandma's Kisses"
• "Krusty Love"
• "Krab Borg"
• "The Smoking Peanut"
Just as they have done with other SpongeBob discs, Paramount gives us a completely flawless full-frame transfer. If you're used to watching SpongeBob SquarePants on cable broadcasts, you will be stunned at the depth and detail the DVD presentation reveals. The colors are beautifully rich and deep, devoid of bleeding. Best of all, you'll find no problems relating to compression issues, such as artifacting and pixelation. This is the way recent animation should look on DVD.
Audio is just as superb. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround stereo, details and sounds will come through your speakers of which ordinary cable transmissions are not yet capable. Dialogue sounds clear and crisp. The score is mixed perfectly so that it does not interfere with dialogue and sound effects. I applaud Paramount for doing superior work with television animation that many other studios are unwilling to do.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Previous SpongeBob discs, both single- and multi-disc packages, usually contained some worthy extras. Unfortunately, all we get this time around are the storyboards used for the "Grandma's Kisses" episode. The soundtrack plays throughout a slide show of storyboards. It's interesting, but considering other discs have included audio commentaries, featurettes, and music videos, it's kind of weak.
If I have any other complaints, it's this: after issuing a stellar box set the previous October, why repeat one of the episodes from that set here? "Bubblestand" has its moments, but it is far from the best this series has to offer. Chances are the fans and admirers own the episode on the earlier set. A much better solution would have been to provide a short that has yet to make its DVD debut, or better yet, give us another unreleased short. I may be nitpicking, but I think it's a significant point.
With a suggested retail price of $16.99, and many stores discounting to $12.99, I can easily recommend the disc. It's worth the purchase price for the two new shorts, which are among the very best SpongeBob SquarePants episodes ever made.
All charges against SpongeBob and his cohorts are dismissed. Paramount is given probation for the inexplicable stand against multiple extra content.
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Scales of Justice
• Storyboards: "Grandma's Kisses"
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