DVD Review: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Pilot, A Mini-Movie and The Square Shorts



We are the verge of the second theatrical SpongeBob SquarePants feature film. Shocking! Or at least spongy. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water hits screens on February 6. Naturally there must be fun home video releases to excite the SpongeHeads. There’s two DVDs on the shelf that remind fans of the historical nautical nonsense. Pilot, A Mini-Movie and the Square Shorts is a mix of old and slightly new adventures from Bikini Bottom. Triple Pack combines three previous DVD releases into a mega-set.

Pilot, A Mini-Movie and the Square Shorts brings together nearly two hours of Krusty Krab Krazy. The DVD starts off with “Help Wanted.” This was the first short introducing us to the most famous animated sea critter since Charlie the Tuna. The Krusty Krab is looking for a new fry cook. Can SpongeBob suck up the courage to not merely apply for the job, but become the king of the spatula. Amazing that this little cartoon would launch an animated epic that’s been going for more than 15 years on Nickelodeon. Before that, a cartoon was lucky to last three years. “Truth or Square” was a 10th anniversary special that aired on the cable channel. SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) wants to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Krusty Krab. Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) isn’t impressed. But the crowds are going wild. Mr. Krabs (Highlander‘s Clancy Brown) must hire Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) to keep the customers in line. There’s also a fear the Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) will use this as an opportunity to steal the secret to the Krabby Patty. Things go weird in the restaurant as the crew gets locked in the freezer. Will they be frozen seafood? There’s a bunch of live action footage featuring Patchy the Pirate. He’s played by Tom Kenny, who does the voice of SpongeBob. Along with quite a few cameos including Tina Fey and Craig Ferguson, is an appearance by Robin Williams. The Square Shorts are 42 bits that appear to have been deleted from previous cartoons. It’s about 33 minutes of quickies that are perfect for short attention spans.

Triple Pack! brings together a trio of previous DVDs at an amazingly low price. Heroes of Bikini Bottom (2011) features “Back To The Past,” “The Bad Guy Club For Villains,” “Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful,” “A Pal For Gary,” “Yours, Mine and Mine,” “Kracked Krabs,” “A Day Without Tears” and “Summer Job.” 10 Happiest Moments (2010) is a blissful excitement from the early years of the show. The episodes include “Tea At The Treedome,” “Mermaidman And Barnacle Boy,” “Culture Shock,” “Karate Choppers,” “The Algaes’s Always Greener,” “Just One Bite,” “Graveyard Shift,” “No Weenies Allowed,” “Roller Cowards” and “Christmas Who.” There’s a bonus of “Help Wanted” in case you need two copies in the house. Legends of Bikini Bottom (2010) was a series of somewhat themed episodes. The mysteries explored included “The Monster Who Came To Bikini Bottom,” “Welcome To The Bikini Bottom Triangle,” “The Curse Of The Hex,” “The Main Drain,” “TrenchBillies” and “Spongecano.” The price for the set is a lot less than when they were offered as individual DVDs.

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It’s amazing to think that SpongeBob SquarePants has been able to keep being a pop sensation. Rarely does an animated TV show get two theatrical releases while it’s still in production. So it’s good to celebrate SpongeBob with these two releases that covers so much of his career. Both DVD sets come with “Help Wanted” so you’ll be getting his start if you only pick up one.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. Most of the cartoons are 1.33:1. However “Truth or Square” is letterboxed 1.85:1, but not anamorphic. The transfers are fine. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The sound levels bring out the annoying excitement in SpongeBob’s voice. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

There are no bonus features on The Pilot, A Mini-Movie and the Square Shorts. Triple Pack includes episodes of T.U.F.F. Puppy, Behind the Scenes of Legends of Bikini Bottoms and assorted animated shorts.

The Pilot, A Mini-Movie and the Square Shorts and Triple Pack! are two DVD collections covering the vast history of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Paramount DVD and Nickelodeon presents The Pilot, A Mini-Movie and the Square Shorts and Triple Pack! Starring: Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown and Mr. Lawrence. Rated: Unrated. Released: January 13, 2014.

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