A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“It’s a Spongebob Christmas!”
A certain energetic pineapple-dwelling sea creature gets a makeover in the spirit of the holiday season with “It’s a Spongebob Christmas!”
In the grand yuletide tradition of the Rankin/Bass specials “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” Spongebob’s first Christmas episode in a dozen years has been lovingly crafted through stop-motion animation.
In the cartoon’s typically wacky fashion, the musical Christmas special both sends up and pays homage to the Rankin/Bass classics. Patchy the Pirate — accompanied as usual by his parrot, Potty — takes the narrator role a la Fred Astaire’s mailman in “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” The brigand even steals a mail truck and kidnaps the usual postal carrier to better inhabit the role — and ensure his letter gets to Santa Claus.
In Bikini Bottom, the only item on Plankton’s wish list is the usual: the Krusty Krab’s secret Krabby Patty formula. Figuring he will again be on Santa’s naughty list, the one-eyed baddie decides to become the nicest guy in town — by giving away fruitcake laced with jerktonium. The rare element is supposed to make everyone mean, and Plankton recruits naïve Spongebob – whose transformation into a terrifically textured sunshine-yellow stop-motion puppet obviously was undertaken with much thought and care – to unwittingly distribute the spiked treat to the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom.
Naturally, Spongebob’s big-hearted love of Christmas saves the day just as Santa Claus (voice of guest star John Goodman) comes to town.
Bonus features: Behind-the-scenes featurette, episode-length animatic, yule log and two mp3-compatible new songs, “Santa’s Eyes” and “Hot Fruitcake.”