SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis
|SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis|
|Directed by||Andrew Overtoom (animation)|
|Produced by||Stephen Hillenburg
|Written by||Casey Alexander
|Based on||SpongeBob SquarePants
by Stephen Hillenburg
|Music by||Nicolas Carr
|Production company||United Plankton Pictures
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
|Release date||November 12, 2007|
|Running time||45 minutes|
SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis is a 2007 made-for-television musical comedy film directed by Andrew Overtoom. The film stars Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and Mr. Lawrence. The film originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 12, 2007, following a 12-hour-marathon of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. The series follows the adventures of the title character in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. In the film, SpongeBob (voiced by Kenny) and Patrick (voiced by Fagerbakke) discover an ancient medallion that help them get to the lost city of Atlantis.
The television film was written by Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas, Steven Banks, and Dani Michaeli. English musician and actor David Bowie guest starred as the voice of Lord Royal Highness. Upon release, the film attracted an estimated 8.8 million viewers.
SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) find a piece of an amulet to the lost city of Atlantis, but have no idea what it is. They take it to the Bikini Bottom Museum to see if the staff there know what it is. Patrick and SpongeBob run into Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), who thinks SpongeBob and Patrick stole the missing half of the amulet. He soon matches it to the displayed other half of the amulet and tells them it was the key to Atlantis. After hearing the story of Atlantis, the only thing SpongeBob and Patrick want to see is the "World's Oldest Bubble." So off goes the Bikini Bottom crew — SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, along with Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence), and even Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) — on an adventure to Atlantis.
At Atlantis, they meet the Atlantean Emperor, Lord Royal Highness (David Bowie), who shows them a grand tour of the fortress. During the tour, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Squidward each get distracted by places in Atlantis; Mr. Krabs unsurprisingly by the treasury room, Sandy by the science laboratory, and Squidward by the art gallery.
Meanwhile, Plankton checks out the weaponry room, intent on using the city's lost weapons for his own ends. He then chooses his weapon, a tank. Finally, SpongeBob and Patrick get to see the world's oldest living bubble. They take a picture of it, which causes the bubble to pop. They are afraid to speak, saying they have to go back to Bikini Bottom. Then, Patrick shouts out the "truth."
Lord Royal Highness is not enraged at SpongeBob and Patrick for popping the bubble, saying that the one they popped was just a prop for the tourists. He then shows them the real oldest living bubble, but Patrick takes a shot of it, and it pops. Angered, Lord Royal Highness summons the Atlantean Royal Guards to attack, but the gang manage to escape. Just when they escape outside, Plankton comes in and tries to destroy them with the tank he found, but much to his dismay, it showers the group with strawberry ice cream. Lord Royal Highness captures Plankton, saying that a "talking speck" would be a better replacement for the bubble. SpongeBob and crew go home, but Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward are all sad because they want to stay in Atlantis, even though SpongeBob does not.
- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob
- Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star
- Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs
- Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles
- Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks
- Mr. Lawrence as Plankton
- David Bowie as Lord Royal Highness
Atlantis SquarePantis was written by longtime SpongeBob SquarePants writers, Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas, Steven Banks, and Dani Michaeli, and was directed by Andrew Overtoom. Although it was promoted by Nickelodeon as the first made-for-television film of the series, Atlantis SquarePantis is an extended episode, running 45 minutes. "[Atlantis SquarePantis is] an adventurous quest kind of a story," said Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, "about SpongeBob and his friends journeying and discovering the lost continent of Atlantis, which is ruled by a character voiced by David Bowie."
The film stars the series main cast members including Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and Mr. Lawrence. In addition to the regular series voice cast, English musician and artist David Bowie guest starred as the voice of the Atlantean King, Lord Royal Highness. Writing on his blog, David Bowie said:
It's happened. At last. I've hit the Holy Grail of animation gigs. Yesterday I got to be a character on ... tan-tara ... SpongeBob SquarePants. Oh Yeah!! We, the family, are thrilled. Nothing else need happen this year, well, this week anyway. My character in this special longform (I think a half hour special) show is called 'Lord Royal Highness'. Alrighteee!!
Tom Kenny said "the people who [watch] are often surprising to me and unexpected. You don't picture David Bowie, the Thin White Duke, sitting on the couch in his pajamas eating Cheerios watching SpongeBob cartoons. [With] our little basic-cable budget we could never afford to pay a legend like David Bowie what he's worth, but the fact he wants to be in something his kid likes is what gets the ball rolling." Tom Kenny described Bowie's performance as "wonderfully convincing[...] It almost sounded real."
The film includes 33 minutes of animation. Its animators at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios at Burbank, California sketched the outlines of the story in a year. Paul Tibbitt, the show's supervising producer who also serves as the showrunner, explained "We're one of the last shows that does it the old-fashioned way, like they used to do it back in the Warner Brothers days."
Atlantis SquarePantis originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 12, 2007, preceding a 12-hour SpongeBob marathon. After the premiere, the Behind the Pantis special aired featuring the production of the film from story pitch and animation to voice-recording sessions. It was proclaimed "the most special special that's ever been called a special."
On November 13, 2007, the episode was released on the DVD compilation of the same name in the United States and Canada, and on October 27, 2008 in region 2. The episode was also released in the series' season five DVD, alongside 21 other episodes.
The film begun production in May 2006, and was delivered to Nickelodeon roughly a year later, allowing time for the network's marketers to promote it. A SpongeBob marathon is a key part of the channel's effort to stave off increasing competition from Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and other rivals. Cyma Zarghami, the president of the Nickelodeon networks, said "We do know that kids like events as much as adults do [...] There's a certain amount of water-cooler talk that goes on among kids."
The video game of the same name that was based on the film was released for PlayStation 2, Wii, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. It was released on November 12, 2007 for Wii, and on October 27 for the PS2, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. The game was developed by Blitz Games and Altron, and was published by THQ.
Atlantis SquarePantis was broadcast on November 12, 2007 on Nickelodeon, and was preceded by an "Z-A" countdown of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes picked by viewers. It attracted 8.8 million viewers, the largest audience of a series broadcast at 8:00 p.m. show on November 12, 2007, with the exception of Dancing with the Stars, and currently the highest audience in the series' history.
Ian Jane of DVD Talk said "[the season five DVD] is a fun selection of solid episodes and [the film] is excellent [...] Paramount has done a nice job on this release and SpongeBob SquarePants: Atlantis SquarePantis comes recommended."
In her review for About.com, Nancy Basile's review was mixed and gave it a score of 2.5 out of 5. She wrote "Kids will enjoy this, but adults, who love the crazy antics, tongue-in-cheek humor and naive blunderings of early SpongeBob will be disappointed." Jerry Vonkramer of ToonZone gave the episode a score of 7/10 and wrote "Atlantis Squarepants [sic] is not a masterpiece, but neither does it deserve the awful reputation it seems to have."
Tom Shales, a television critic of The Washington Post, lambasted the film in a November 11, 2007 review. In his review, Shales wrote that "the funniest thing about the film is its title" and "a typical episode has about as many laughs as this inflated version does." Shales also criticized the musical numbers in Atlantis SquarePantis, calling them "numbing." He concluded the review saying that the special was "flat" and "unimpressive".
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