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Paramount Studios presents
Spongebob Squarepants: Halloween—Five Spooky Sea Tales (1999)

"Don't worry, Mr. Krabs. As long as these pants are square, and this sponge is Bob, I won't let you down."
- Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 16, 2002

Stars: Tom Kenny
Other Stars: Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence
Director: (various)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:05m:00s
Release Date: August 27, 2002
UPC: 097368769045
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-A-B+ C

DVD Review

This second installment of collected episodes ofn Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants has an underlying theme of spooky episodes, but despite the awkward title, there are actually ten full episodes (five that are centered around creepy stuff, and five that are just, well, Spongebob). Unlike the first release, which was just a collection of random season one and two shows (along with a couple of never televised ones), this batch spans the show's first three seasons, and doesn't offer any exclusives. Still, it's a fun set of adventures from this consistently funny, laugh-out-loud cartoon about the nerdy sea sponge with the oh-so square pants.

If you've never experienced the joy that is SpongeBob, here's a quick synopsis. He lives in the town of Bikini Bottom, has a pet snail named Gary, and is best friends with a thickheaded, but well-meaning starfish named Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) and a squirrel—outfitted for deep sea diving—from Texas named Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence). Cranky squid neighbor Squidward (voiced by Rodger Bumpass), who loves to play the clarinet, is constantly aggravated by the overly friendly SpongeBob (who is simple enough to think Squidward actually likes him).

Scaredy Pants
Season 1
Original Air Date: 10/28/99
It's Halloween, and try as he might, poor Spongebob just can't scare anyone. Mr. Krabs spooks him with the story of The Flying Dutchman, and Spongebob and Patrick embark on a surreal attempt to scare everyone at the Krusty Krab Halloween party. The episode ends with a really bizarre visual that is both funny and weirdly disturbing.

Imitation Krabs
Season 2
Original Air Date: 12/28/00
Everyone's favorite diabolical character, Plankton, surfaces here to try and steal the recipe for the Krabby Patty from Spongebob. Plankton comes up with a funny Mr. Krabs robot, and almost has Spongebob convinced he's the real deal. I loved the secret handshake bit, which involves a comically prolonged and elaborate series of strange gyrations.

Season 3
Original Air Date: 01/21/02
This is a bizarre one, and a good example of a so-called spooky episode. When a cartoonist (part of the live action open and close on this one) looses his pencil overboard, it just happens to land next to Spongebob and Patrick ("It's a giant pencil, Patrick. Let's draw some giant pictures!"). The pencil allows Spongebob's drawings to come to life, and when he does a self-portrait, it becomes a mumbling, violent Frankenstein-like creation. This episode features a shot of Spongebob's butt cheeks, if you 're interested.

I Was A Teenage Gary
Season 1
Original Air Date: 10/28/99
One of my favorites, this episode has Squidward left in charge of Spongebob's pet snail Gary. When Squidward forgets to feed him over a three-day weekend, Gary requires an injection of snail plasma. Spongebob is accidently injected, and he ends in a great An American Werewolf In London-style transformation scene.

Squidward, The Unfriendly Ghost
Season 1
Original Air Date: 09/25/99
Here's another highlight from the first season. Spongebob and Patrick accidently melt a wax replica of Squidward, and they think they've killed him. When a talcum-powdered Squidward comes out of the bathroom, they think it's his ghost come back to haunt them.

The Secret Box
Season 2
Original Air Date: 09/07/01
Patrick won't share the contents of his "secret box" with Spongebob, and it drives the little sponge crazy. There are lots of great manic Spongebob moments here. It turns out Patrick's secret is just a piece of string, but how about that secret compartment....

Band Geeks
Season 2
Original Air Date: 09/07/01
This one doesn't fit the Halloween theme, but is another classic. The Squidward-directed marching band (featuring just about every inhabitant of Bikini Bottom) is horrible, but they somehow get a chance to play at the Bubble Bowl (re: The Super Bowl). The band has to come together to save Squidward's reputation, and the episode features the big-haired ballad Sweet, Sweet Victory, sung by a rock-star cool Spongebob.

Welcome to the Chum Bucket
Season 3
Original Air Date: 01/21/02
I love evil Plankton, and this one showcases him well. Spongebob ends up working for Plankton at The Chum Bucket after Mr. Krabs loses a bet. The trouble is Spongebob misses The Krusty Krab so much, he causes more trouble than he's worth, even when tiny Plankton tries to woo him with an array of presents.

My Pretty Seahorse
Season 3
Original Air Date: 07/12/02
Spongebob befriends a stray seahorse with an uncontrollable appetite for Krabby Patties. Will Spongebob be able to hide his new pet in The Krusty Krab kitchen? Hint: probably not the best place. Wacky hijinks ensue.

Idiot Box
Season 3
Original Air Date: 03/01/02
Here's one to make all you home theater buffs cringe. Spongebob and Patrick get a big screen television JUST FOR THE BOX! They have a blast inside, unknowingly driving Squidward nuts, because he's convinced they are hiding a secret from him.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: All episodes on this disc are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame transfer. As with the previous Spongebob disc, the colors here are bright and vivid, with nary a flaw to be found. Black levels are deep, and help make this transfer really stand out. With the inconsistencies of my cable television signal, it goes without saying that this DVD looks exceptional.


Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 stereo track provided here offers clean dialogue, and a surprisingly well balanced soundfield. Separation is fairly pronounced, and the whole thing has a broader soundstage than what comes across when watching the show on cable television.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. The Ghastly Ones music video
Extras Review: There are far less extras on this release than there was on the first Spongebob disc; even the menu system is static this time around, and far less visually appealing. The Ghastly Ones provide a quick (:57s) "music video," which was actually used as a Nick commercial. It features clips from the show, done to the Spongebob Scaredy Pants song. Also included is a commercial for the PlayStation Spongebob game, which my daughter said looks "lame."

Each episode consists of approximately four chapters, though there is no formal set of chapter selections on the menu.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

Paramount has come through with another bargain-priced collection of Spongebob episodes, and though Rock Bottom and Bubblestand STILL haven't found their way to disc, this is a must-own for fans. Kids can watch this stuff endlessly, and I'll just bet you find yourself plopping down on the couch for an episode or two.



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