Spongebob Squarepants - Vs. The Big One is another one of the single disc compilations of Nickelodeon's famous and popular cartoon series. This time out, the episodes are selected from various different seasons and one of them appears on DVD here for the very first time.
Here's the lowdown on this volume's selection...
Spongebob Squarepants Vs. The Big One: Spongebob, Squidward and Patrick are whisked out into the middle of the ocean by a gigantic tidal wave and the only way that they'll ever be able to make it back is to learn to surf. Thankfully they get some help from the one and only Jack Kahuna Laguna (voiced by none other than Johnny Depp), a surfer dude with all the right moves.
A Life In The Day: Spongebob and Patrick are bored with their lives until they meet up with Larry the Lobster, a lifeguard who also happens to be a crazed daredevil who fears nothing. The pair decide to start living like Larry and spice things up a bit but soon Spongebob wants to err on the side of caution while goofball Patrick wants to get crazier and crazier.
Sun Bleached: There's a huge party happening at Goo Lagoon but Spongebob and Patrick can't go because they don't have super cool sun tans like everyone else. Spongebob decides to soak up some rays at a tanning salon but when he spends too much time in the sun and turns white, he starts to wonder if maybe this wasn't such a hot idea in the first place...
Giant Squidward: Squidward uses a spray to help his kelp garden grow but Patrick and Spongebob steal the spray and use it on things around town, including Squidward's nose, which just keeps getting bigger! Spongebob decides to spray the rest of Squidward with the spray to even out his size and soon the fine citizens of Bikini Bottom fear they're under attack from a giant monster.
No Nose Knows: Patrick goes off for surgery and comes back with a nose of his own. Excited about his new sense of smell, he sniffs everything but soon realizes that not everything smells particularly nice. When he starts noticing too many foul odors he decides to get rid of all the stinky things in Bikini Bottom, but soon proves to be a massive annoyance to all of his friends.
Patty Caper: It all hits the fan at the Krusty Krab when the secret ingredient that makes Krabby Patty's so delicious goes mysteriously missing. Mr. Krabs initially thinks Spongebob took it but once he realizes that he's wrong, he gets Spongebob and Patrick to try and figure out what happened and why, and sends the mout to get it back before it falls into the wrong hands.
Plankton's Regular: Plankton's restaurant, the Chum Bucket, finds itself with its first regular customer ever and Plankton is excited. Mr. Krabs, on the other hand, is not happy about this at all, in fact, he wants to steal Plankton's customer and bring him over to the Krusty Krab.
Spongebob Squarepants is one of those rare cartoons that's geared towards a children's audience but which can definitely be appreciated by adult viewers as well. Kids won't care about a guest voice appearance from Johnny Depp, but most grown up types will no doubt get a laugh out of it just as they did from other 'guest spots' (when the late, great Lux Interior showed up, it proved that with this series, anything is possible). The episodes contained on Spongebob Vs. The Big One are a solid smattering of some of the cartoon series' finest moments with the titular story standing out as the leader of the pack. That said, each of the seven cartoons contained on this disc is absolutely worth a watch thanks to the series high standard of quality, quirky animation, and multilayered humor.
Seeing as this is a TV show, it makes sense that the image is presented in its original fullframe 1.33.1 format, unfortunately interlaced. That said, just like the rest of the releases in this series, this compilation looks quite nice. Colors are bright and crisp and there isn't any print damage to speak of. There is a bit of edge enhancement and some shimmering effects in a few of the episodes, but other than that, these cartoons look pretty good and none of the video issues take your attention away from the on-screen action.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix sounds pretty good. Once again, as with the earlier releases in the series, there's nothing to note in regards to hiss or audible defects. The directional effects are minor at best but the lefts and rights are distinguishable in the mix, and there aren't any problems following the dialogue and the background music is mixed and balanced to fit in with the dialogue and effects quite nicely..
The first extra to check out is Plankton's Special commentary that is basically an MST3K style bit where Planton sits in a theater and watches the Plankton's Regular episode and rips on Spongebob and the other characters. It's actually pretty funny stuff as voice actor Doug Lawrence stays 100% in character for the duration and makes some pretty witty albeit rather snide remarks about the episode. Aside from that, look for a music video for Ridin' The Hook (2:06), episode credits, animated menus and episode selection. It's also worth noting that the cover art for this release is awesome!
If you've got most of the episodes in this collection, there's not a whole lot of new content here to make you want to snag this one too (unless you're a completist or collector of Spongebob stuff). That said, if you don't have the complete season sets and want to get a little Squarepants action of your own, this is a pretty decent sampling and comes recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.