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Paramount Studios presents
SpongeBob Squarepants: SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric (1999-2004)

"Patrick! You've forgotten how to eat again. I'll get the funnel!"
- SpongeBob Squarepants (Tom Kenny)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 08, 2004

Stars: Tom Kenny
Other Stars: Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:53m:24s
Release Date: March 09, 2004
UPC: 097368795440
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

SpongeBob Squarepants (voiced by Tom Kenny), for those without children and who may not venture over to the Nickelodeon channel on a regular basis, is the nerdy man/boy sponge who lives in a large orange pineapple, under the sea, and has a pet snail named Gary. SpongeBob works as a fry cook at The Krusty Krab, under the money-grubbing eye of Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), an oversized lobster who talks like a second-rate pirate. A well-meaning but incredibly dumb starfish named Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) and a squirrel (fully outfitted for deep sea diving) from Texas named Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) are SpongeBob's best friends, and for a comedic foil, Squidward Tentacles (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) is a cranky, sarcastic, clarinet-playing squid who lives next door, in some sort of giant Easter Island head.

In this latest installment of Paramount's budget-priced, ten-episode collections, the hook is the relatively new SpongeBob BC double episode (ie 22 minutes), which had what I believe is its first airing in March of 2004. It is a bizarre one, to say the least, and one that makes me think someone dropped a tab or two of acid into the animation department watercooler. It is set in prehistoric times (we're told the BC stands for Before Comedy, and unfortunately this episode really reinforces that), with all of the dialogue spoken by SpongeGar, Patar and Squog (the caveman alter-egos of SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward) made up of nonsense words and sounds. The trio discover fire, and one of the weirder moments have SpongeGar and Patar roasting marshmallows over the charred body of Squog. Not the strongest entry in the series, because it lacks the usually comic wordplay, and at twice the normal length it is that much more difficult to sit through, at least for me. However, judging from the laughs eminating from the 12-and-under set at my house, it's darn funny.

As with most double episodes, this one is bookended by live action wackiness from Patchy The Pirate (Tom Kenny), who this time becomes obsessed with the prehistory of Bikini Bottom, leading to a disturbingly odd dance number with a robot/club DJ and a break-dancing caveman. See what I mean with my "acid in the watercooler" allegations? According to my daughter Sammie, the Patchy bits are high comedy, but to me they are incredibly shrill and grating. Go figure.

So with the tedious nonsense of SpongeBob BC out of the way, the remaining eight episodes on this disc—a fairly even mixture of the first three seasons—return to the kind of slap-happy humor that are the show's trademark. I'm With Stupid, one of the nuttier Season Two entries here, finds SpongeBob playing dumb to make Patrick look smart in front of his parents, and Patty Hype (also from Season Two) features SpongeBob opening a roadside restaurant selling pastel-covered burgers, and nearly driving Mr. Krabs out of business.

Don't let the largely unfunny SpongeBob BC scare you off from this release, if you're a fan, because there indeed are some gems here. Sadly, the title ep ain't one of them.

The episodes on this release are:

SpongeBob BC
Original Air Date: 03/04/04

Nature Pants
Season 1
Original Air Date: 09/11/99

Fools in April
Season 1
Original Air Date: 04/01/00

I'm with Stupid
Season 2
Original Air Date: 11/30/01

Patty Hype
Season 2
Original Air Date: 02/17/01

Squid on Strike
Season 2
Original Air Date: 10/12/01

The Great Snail Race
Season 3
Original Air Date: 01/24/03

Plankton's Army
Season 3
Original Air Date: 03/19/03

Squilliam Returns
Season 3
Original Air Date: 03/15/03

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: All episodes collected here are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The show is marked by a strong and varied color palette, and that is well represented by this solid transfer. Some instances of shimmer at times, but there are no major compression issues evident.

Very nice looking, Paramount.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a 2.0 surround track, and is more than well suited for the animated material. As with the other titles in the series, dialogue is mixed cleanly, with voices taking centerstage prominently. The mix also sports strong imaging across the front speakers, giving things a fairly lively presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats Go Wild, The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. PC game demo
Extras Review: Paramount is apparently running out of ideas for extras, but all that's included here seems like outright advertising, as it consists of a PC demo for the Battle of Bikini Bottom game, a couple of trailers.

The disc is cut into one chapter stop per episode.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

The quality is a little hit or miss on this collection, but all is not completely lost, because episodes like Squilliam Returns and Patty Hype make SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric an easy recommendation for fans.

Newcomers would best be suited by any of the other Paramount SpongeBob titles as a more accurate, consistently funny representation of this quirky animated series.


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