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SpongeBob SquarePants: It's a SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas!
Drumroll, please... for the one, the only, Spongebob Squarepants! (He lives at the bottom of the sea!) The super-kinetic happy wonderment of the character is one of the charming elements that has managed to make Spongebob a household name and one of the most cherished of all cartoon creations of the past several decades (or is it eons?) and it's for this very reason that the series has managed to be one of the longest running animated series in television history. At last, the funny, the charming, and delightful character of Spongebob has been given his very own cartoon special for the holiday season: "It's a Spongebob Christmas!" -- and indeed it is! Let the holiday cheer of this ambitiously animated special unfold.
The plot is simplistic, which is to be expected, but it is cute and mostly enjoyable. Plankton is the only one in the area not getting on to Santa's "good" list and as a result he decides to use a strong chemical known as "Jerktonium" to transform the good citizens into meanies that cause trouble for each other. It seems Plankton thinks this is his only way on to the "nice" list is by making everyone else so much worse! Wowzers.
Well, the formula becomes transmitted via the Christmas staple: "fruit cake", which should help to make Plankton succeed, or at least this is what he imagines, and he begins with by giving Spongebob some of his fruit-tastic creation. Of course, due to the purity of Spongebob and undoubtedly his true heart, somehow Spongebob is completely immune to the Jerktonium.
Unfortunately, this means that Spongebob winds up helping Plankton distribute the fruit cake for everyone around as he doesn't actually realize the side-effects or the ingredients. Whoops! Will everyone become a jerk because of Plankton and will Christmas be ruined for everyone or will someone help to save the day from the diabolical Plankton?
What will Spongebob possibly do? Is the Christmas holiday going to survive Santa's naughty list? Will Santa check it twice? The questions and thrilling adventures of Spongebob unfold within this marvelous cartoon of Christmas peril and wondrous thrills!
This is a really sweet-natured and cute cartoon. I enjoyed the story and found the characters to be as interesting as usual. The main focus is on Spongebob -- and as per usual, I felt the character is incredibly likeable. The humor of the short isn't that far outside of the realm of usual Spongebob episodes, which in my case, means I enjoyed some aspects but not everything utilized for humor. Yet those who completely cherish the character and the world the character inhabits will be more than pleased by this creation. Many may even feel ecstatic!
The short is barely over twenty-minutes in length though. While there isn't a lot of time for all of the characters to be explored fully the special manages to get a lot of neat things done along the way. This is certainly a short made for series fans to enjoy and appreciate around the Christmas season.
This animated special was done entirely utilizing stop-motion animation. It's something entirely different from the norm established on the actual cartoon series, which has been traditional art, and hand-drawn in nature. However, that doesn't make the special any less interesting - in fact, seeing the characters in this new art style makes this a more memorable and enjoyable holiday themed creation. The uniqueness of the character designs, the richness of the underwater vista, and everything comprising this world of goofball wonder-kids is exemplary with this smartly done and richly rewarding experiment in cartooning. It is a cute and well made effort that is going to please most fans with the cuteness factor, the goofball humor, and the creativity on display.
The 1.78:1 widescreen animation for "It's a Spongebob Christmas!" is fantastic throughout and will please fans looking to find an example of this cartoon world in high definition 1080p. The overall image depth, clarity, and finesse is impressive to behold and will not disappoint most viewers. The animation is crisp, clean, and vibrantly presented with accurate colors.
The short cartoon special comes with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound but as might be expected from the piece, the surround activity is actually fairly minimalistic and it is not heavily utilized as a part of the soundstage environment. However, bass and dialogue clarity impressive throughout and the overall presentations packs more of a sonic-punch than one might expect to find.
The extras included 10 "Blu-ray Bonus Episodes" which actually appear to look barely, if even at all, better than standard definition DVD materials. The bitrates and encoding does no favors for the material and it's not really an impressive supplemental aspect as a result.
The disc also contains: Violent Femmes singing the Spongebob Squarepants theme-song (which is almost over as soon as it begins), Animatics, Yule Log (which seemed like some kind of static page - utilizing my remote control, I had difficulty figuring out anything to actually do with this bonus), two MP3 compatible songs (if you can access them - you must utilize a BD-Rom drive), a ten-minute long behind the scenes featurette which is interesting considering the tidbits that unfold about the animation process, and also a section called "more Spongebob Squarepants secrets" which has brief mini-featurettes that relate to the shows creation.
Both a DVD and a UV code are also included in the package.
This is a nice quality Blu-ray presentation for a cute and enjoyable stop-motion animation Spongebob Squarepants Christmas special. The only downside is that it doesn't offer more satisfying supplements, especially considering the main special runs only twenty or so minutes in length and the bonus episodes are promoted on the box as being "Blu-ray episodes" when they actually look barely better than an upconverted DVD does.
If it pleases fans enough to own the main short film in High Definition, and most especially if potential buyer's don't already own the previously released standalone DVD release, then this seems to be the most impressive presentation on a technical level and that makes it a decent release that is a worthwhile pick-up at the right sale price.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.