"Ohhhhhh… who lives in a pineapple under the sea…"
Nickelodeon and Paramount continue to release themed "Spongebob Squarepants" DVDs, much to my delight. Honestly, I'd rather they just release season box sets; but it seems fairly obvious that all the Spongebob episodes are eventually going to see a DVD release, as these themed DVDs are coming out at a rate of one every two months.
Spongebob and his friends like in an underwater town called "Bikini Bottom." His friends include a dopey pink starfish named Patrick, and Sandy Cheeks, a competitive squirrel in an astronaut's suit. Spongebob works as a fry cook at the local burger joint, called the "Krusty Krab." His boss, Mr. Krabs, is a money hungry red crab, who would do anything to save and make a buck. Also employed at the Krab, is a sourpuss gray squid named Squidward. Rounding out the eclectic cast are various other town residents, villains, and more.
"Spongebob Squarepants: Lost at Sea" is a compilation DVD filled with 9 Spongebob Squarepants episodes in total, with a running length of approximately 2 hours. Here is a brief episodic review:
The Sponge Who Could Fly - Patchy the Pirate is on the search for the "lost" episode of Spongebob, and finds it only to be disappointed. In the episode, Spongebob thinks of impractical ways so that he can fly with the Jellyfish.
Plankton! - Plankton is back, and he's after the secret Krabby Patty formula. This time, he takes control of Spongebob's brain. Plankton, by far, is my favorite character on this show.
Boating School - With the help of Patrick, Spongebob unknowingly cheats on his driving test.
Suds - Spongebob's got the suds (the show's version of the flu). Patrick and Sandy have different ideas about curing his illness.
The Chaperone - Spongebob is selected to take Pearl, Mr. Krabs' daughter to the prom. But before he can take her, he gives himself a makeover.
Mermaidman and Barnacleboy II - Spongebob wins a contest for a prize that allows him to signal Mermaidman and Baracleboy whenevr he wants.
Bubble Buddy - Feeling lonely, Spongebob makes himself an imaginary friend out of a bubble; who will later draw the ire of the residents of Bikini Bottom.
Your Shoe's Untied - Spongebob forgets how to tie his shoes, and seeks out the assistance of everyone only to find out that nobody knows either.
Prehibernation Week - Sandy's about to hibernate for the winter, and Spongebob is enlisted in her attempt to cram as much fun as possible into seven days.
"Spongebob Squarepants: Lost At Sea" looks as nice as a cartoon possibly can. Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, colors are sharp and vivid. Little to no instances of grain are present, with no artifacting whatsoever. In addition, the episodes look better than the versions shown on Nickelodeon. If you're a Spongebob fan, you'll be very happy with the video here (it looks the same as all the other Spongebob DVD releases).
Presented in Dolby 2.0, "Lost at Sea" sounds as good as I expected having one of the earlier Spongebob releases. All dialogue and underwater sound effects sound clear as day. I don't think it would have benefited from a 5.1 mix, so I'm cool with the job that Paramount has done here.
An animated DVD menu showing clips from "The Sponge Who Could Fly" gives the viewer the options of "Episode Selection", "Previews", "Special Features", and "Play All."
Yes! Finally, we are given an audio commentary! Located in the "Special Features" menu, we have the option of listening to a commentary for "The Sponge Who Could Fly." I expected a lot more from Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob) and creator Stephen Hillenburg in their commentary, as there is a lot of dead time throughout. I won't lie, they are funny at times, but overall, I was left bored with the commentary.
In addition, we can view the storyboard for that episode. Another bonus is Spongebob's 7 Life Strategies. While not particularly funny, it's still nice to have all the extras on this DVD.
The "Preview" selection from the menu plays a short trailer for various Nickelodeon shows.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again… I love Spongebob Squarepants. Granted, this DVD is not as strong as the other compilations, but it's still a good one. Mix in great video and audio, a commentary, and you have a must have for any Spongebob fan. For those of you who have never seen Spongebob, or who really don't like most cartoons of today, I suggest you go out and rent it before forming an opinion. Otherwise, this gets a very strong "Recommended" from me, even teetering towards "Highly Recommended."