Spongebob Squarepants, the flagship cartoon for Nickelodeon for the last few years, has been churning out DVD specials inbetween releases of complete seasons. Sometimes these are linked by a theme (such as the Halloween DVD I reviewed in October http://upcomingdiscs.com/2012/10/15/31-nights-of-terror-spongebob-squarepants-ghouls-fools/) and this would mean taking episodes from numerous seasons. This particular special mostly contains more recent episodes, all of which have some sort of “extreme” or somewhat violent/action oriented story.
To avoid some redundancy I’ll repost my summary of Spongebob from my previous review:
Spongebob Squarepants is the children’s show that seems geared more for the college-age crowd than toddlers. This is not a revelation in cartoons, but I feel like this particular DVD set emphasizes this fact about Spongebob more than previous DVD releases of this show. The zaniness translates to all ages (just as it has from Tex Avery right through Ren & Stimpy) but this particular assembly of episodes displays some unnerving imagery that younger viewers may not be able to appreciate as much as older ones. Yes, there are subtle jokes spliced in that kid’s will not catch (such as Spongebob’s best friend Patrick explaining that looking at clouds helps to calm his “inner demons”), which is perfectl harmless, but it might be a bit much for someone just entering grade school to see Spongebob’s eyes melt before bursting into a pile of spiders or being infested with the ghosts of snakes. Such imagery, to me, is a testament to how little concern this show for being stricly for youngsters, and how much it wants to be lapped up by that media hungry 14-30 crowd.
You’d think that my comments about the “unnerving” imagery would have been localized to the aformentioned Halloween special and yet this new set still fits the description. There is a definate edge to this collection of cartoons. Bodies are harmed, scary faces are made, and things get weird on a level more suited to Zap Comix than Hannah Barbara, if you’re catching my drift.
For further reading on Spongebob, as covered by other reviewers on this site, check out these links:
Full Screen and Widescreen are featured, depending on the episode. As mentioned in previous reviews, the Nickelodeon treatment is a generally spic-and-span one. It’d not HD but there are no issues with haze.
Dobly Digital Stereo available in English. Everything sounds very clear. The silly sounds and occasional chord strikes in the score are mix well together and have plenty or presence.
THere are eight episodes in this collection, running just under an hour and a half. I’ll be the first to admit that I found these episodes very amusing and suggest that this collection may be more suited to the viewers who are kids-inside rather than actual children.