A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom is a Halloween special starring the residents of the most famous underwater community. Like in the TV series, some of the characters speak in unkind ways to their neighbors, who (in SpongeBob's and Patrick's case) seem mostly oblivious to the verbal insults. Holiday imagery includes mild scares in haunted houses (a character's face ignites, others are shown in various stages of comical torture, etc.), some ghostly holograms, monsters, characters' lifeless bodies, and costumes of all different kinds. Expect language like "idiot" and "butt," but nothing stronger. Astute viewers can find some positive themes of friendship and overcoming fears in the story.
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What's the story?
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: THE LEGEND OF BOO-KINI BOTTOM opens as SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) and his neighbors are busy getting ready for Halloween, hanging decorations and donning costumes. But not everyone is keen on the scary side of the holiday. SpongeBob in particular dreads the prospect of being scared, so Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) sets out to show him that being scared can also be fun. Soon the Flying Dutchman (Brian Doyle-Murray) arrives to make sure that SpongeBob and his friends get in some quality scares on Halloween.
Is it any good?
Stop-motion animation boosts the appeal of this Halloween special that's filled with the kind of absurd humor that launched SpongeBob to fame. Perpetual optimist SpongeBob always sees the best in every situation, which allows him to overlook the shortcomings of his friends and neighbors. That's all well and good, but just like in the TV series, it's also hardly realistic, leaving impressionable kids with a skewed impression of how similarly snarky or rude behavior would be received in the real world.
As for Halloween spirit, The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom has plenty of that to go around. The story has fun setting traditions like haunted houses, gross-out games, and trick-or-treaters into SpongeBob's underwater world, and all of fans' favorite characters play a role in the tale. There are some mild scares and surprises, but nothing the grade-school set will mind, and there are even some subtle examples of the value of facing your fears.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what messages SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom sends about friendship. Are all the characters friends? Who among them is the most loyal? Do any of them use their relationships in manipulative ways?
What accounts for SpongeBob's optimism? Does anything ever get him down? Do you have a similar outlook on life? What kinds of worries are common for you?
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