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SpongeBob and Patrick are in Jellyfish Fields blowing bubbles. Patrick tries to take pictures of the bubbles but they keep popping before the picture is taken. SpongeBob decides to blow a bubble that would last all day. SpongeBob blows a bubble that engulfs them both, and carries them into a nearby cave. The bubble suddenly pops as it makes impact with an ancient piece of gold.
Eager to discover what exactly it is, they take it to the Bikini Bottom Museum where they (literally) run into Squidward. At first, Squidward thinks that SpongeBob and Patrick were planning to steal the first half of the amulet which is housed in the museum, but upon attempting to return it to its spot, he realizes that what Patrick and SpongeBob had was in fact the missing half. At this point, both Mr. Krabs and Sandy join them.
The pieces of gold are then reunited, which summons a luxurious bus (or 'van' as Squidward calls it) piloted by a robot and fueled by "song." During the song to fuel the bus, it is revealed that Plankton has stowed away in a compartment at the front of the bus and plans to control the lost weapons of Atlantis.
Once they arrive there, (accidentally crash-landing in a topiary garden) they meet the king of Atlantis, Lord Royal Highness, LRH for short, who shows them the riches, knowledge, and art of Atlantis. Meanwhile, Plankton escapes from the compartment and sneaks into the vault storing the weapons. After looking around at the weapons, he chooses to commandeer a tank (seemingly at random) to start his diabolical scheme.
Meanwhile, Mr. Krabs enjoys the money vault, Sandy enjoys the science lab, and Squidward enjoys the hall of art (the rooms each had been planning to see). In the money vault, money, gold, and prized objects are found and mostly stashed in Mr. Krabs' pants pockets. In the science lab, Sandy enjoys the devices, a biomass-converting device that turns any household object into ice cream (a bug the Atlanteans have not worked out), a germ-fighting, interactive, micro video game, and makes an automatic feeding device. In addition, in the Hall of Arts, Squidward journeys through paintings, is modeled by painters, and even makes his own painting, claiming to have learned more about art in his short time in Atlantis than he did while at college.
However, everything goes wrong when SpongeBob and Patrick are left alone with the World's Oldest Living Bubble. The flash from Patrick's camera when he takes a picture of themselves with the bubble causes it to burst and the pair go to dinner and insist on leaving. When Patrick reveals their mistake, LRH tells them that the bubble they popped was a prop, but when he shows them the real bubble, Patrick takes a picture of it and it also pops.
LRH is furious and summons the Atlantean Royal Guards to seize the gang, but Plankton appears with a tank.
He fires the tank at SpongeBob, the gang, and the Atlantean Royal Guards, but is foiled when it is revealed that the weapon he had chosen only shoots ice cream. He jumps out of the tank and in frustration, kicks it, injuring himself. However, LRH seems delighted, saying, "This talking speck will make a fantastic replacement for our recently deflated national treasure!"
Finally, LRH loads SpongeBob and his friends back onto the bus and removes the amulet, giving it to one of his soldiers to dispose of to ensure no more "visitors like these." SpongeBob is the only one eager to return to Bikini Bottom and sings. His friends get sad and cry, but SpongeBob ignores and sings all along.
Patchy the Pirate Plot (Reruns after the original airing)
Patchy is stuck in traffic at the US 101. Then, his cell phone rings, and Potty warns that he is going to miss the new SpongeBob episode. Patchy yells at the person driving behind him for honking at him because he is trying to talk to his parrot. Patchy tells Potty to record the episode, but Potty tells him that he threw the Betamax machine in the trash, making him mad. His super rare eight track also breaks. Then, the traffic lines moves, but suddenly, he finds himself nowhere, and yells out "Encino, it's gone...NOOOOOOO!" Then, he cries that this is not the only time a Lost-City had occurred. Then, he tells us that the episode is what we should watch instead of watching him suffer. Then, Patchy gets his eight track fixed, but not for long when it explodes again and produces smoke. Patchy later gets hallucinations and he finds a man dressed in a tall SpongeBob outfit who cries out that he is SpongeBob in real-life form. Then, Potty wakes him up after he thought he is back in Encino, which is all just a dream. Patchy begins to eat a sandwich, which Potty brings to him, but he finds mayonnaise on it. He tries to give it to a vulture. After this, he finds Encino shrunk to a very small size. Then, he finds Three aliens, which explain that their son, Norbluck 5, was playing with his Shrink-A-Tron again. Patchy yells at them that he wants his town back in full size, and he keeps saying, “There’s no place like home." Sympathetic by Patchy's crying that he wants to go home because he missed the entire story, Norbluck 5's mother gets the Shrink-A-Tron given from her son, and she presses the big red button control, making a tornado disaster to fix it up. Then, Patchy is glad to be back in Encino, but soon, a giant Potty the Parrot crushes him into the house showing that Norbluck 5 had once again used his Shrink-A-Tron to make Potty huge.
The Washington Post's television critic Tom Shales lambasted it in a November 12, 2007 review. In the review, titled, "Squeezing the Life out of SpongeBob", Shales wrote, "the funniest thing about the film is its title" and "a typical episode has about as many laughs as this inflated version does." Shales criticized the amount of musical numbers in Atlantis SquarePantis, calling them "numbing." He concluded the review with the statement that the episode was "flat" and "unimpressive."
Atlantis SquarePantis recorded nine million viewers, beating every 8 p.m. show on broadcast television that night except Dancing with the Stars.
Without the Patchy plot, theme song, and end credits, the TV movie is only 32 minutes long. The SpongeBob plot without the songs is only about 23 minutes.
According to Dani Michaeli's Twitter, the episode was originally going to be an 11-minute SpongeBob and Patrick episode, but Nickelodeon requested turning it into a TV movie about going to Atlantis. This may explain the random character introductions after the bubble scene.
When everyone is in the video game, it says Nickelodeon at the bottom. It also says the game was published in 1991 (debut of Nick's first Nicktoons: Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy). This was the second time it was used; the first time was in "Have You Seen This Snail?"
During the time this episode was released, Nick had a contest where the grand prizewinners could win a trip to the luxurious resort, Atlantis.
In the original airing, only the SpongeBob plot was aired, reruns show the Patchy plot, alongside it.
Patchy mentions he is stuck in traffic on US 101. US 101 really does pass through Encino and is a major commuter route for drivers going to or from Los Angeles.
On the marathon, Patchy was seen at Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The storyboard showed Patrick eating the Oldest Living Bubble, but it was changed by taking a picture of it and pops.
Running Gags: Whenever Patrick takes a picture of the bubble, it pops. Patchy trying to use old technology and keeps breaking down.
The premiere of the special drew 8.8 million viewers, the highest audience in the history of the show.
The citizens of Atlantis bear a striking resemblance to the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine.
In the beginning, SpongeBob wants to make a bubble that lasts all day. However, in "Bubble Buddy", SpongeBob makes Bubble Buddy, who lasts a lifetime. This means this episode is before "Bubble Buddy".
During Squidward's song, SpongeGar, Patar, and Squog all make cameo appearances.
Just like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, whenever a character spots an area of Atlantis that has things that he/she loves, they go to the area and start playing in it. Also, during that time, the character sings a song about it, just like the Oompa-Loompas do in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Each time the character goes there and does all those things, and their song is over, the other characters move on, leaving one character behind each time, while the group grows smaller and smaller until there's only one character left. This is another parody of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, unlike in Willy Wonka, the group members stay behind willingly in this episode.
Some old technology that Patchy used are Betamax, 8 Track, and phones that drop calls.
In the Console version of the game, "Squirrel Jokes," "Imitation Krabs," "Squidville," and "Texas" are referenced, meaning this episode takes place after those episodes. SpongeBob also mentions that he has never been to Texas, meaning this episode takes place before "Rodeo Daze."
The fact that the Atlanteans are aliens is a reference to "Sandy's Rocket," when SpongeBob mentions that Atlantis was built by aliens.
When Squidward jumps into the painting, it is a parody of Super Mario 64 when Mario jumps through the painting to go to worlds. It is also a reference to Blue's Clues when Steve and Joe skidoo.
When Squidward says, "You're standing on my neck," he refers to the classic TV series, Daria, which also aired on Nick many years back.
When Sandy fights the germs, it is a parody of Dr. Mario.
When Sandy is dancing with a germ, the moves she does is a parody of Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance.
Warp pipes appear in Sandy's song. Warp pipes appear in most of the Mario games.
When Sandy ground-pounds on a germ, she does it the same way how Mario ground-pounds in the Super Mario Brothers games.
Mr. Krabs' "I Hate Mondays" Shirt is a reference to Garfield the Cat's catchphrase.
When the fanfare plays during when SpongeBob and friends arrive at Atlantis, LRH falls which is like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) when the Golden Ticket winners arrive at the Chocolate Factory and Willy Wonka tumbles over.
When Patchy taps his peg leg to his other shoe stating, "There's no place like home," it is a parody of The Wizard of Oz.
The way Sandy warps into the video game is similar to the way some of the characters in the Megaman franchise of video games enter or exit levels.
When Sandy was dancing with the germ, they did the Famous cheat code Konami Code.
Lord Royal Highness was the ruler of Atlantis, but in "Neptune's Spatula," King Neptune is the ruler of Atlantis.
When Mr. Krabs is trying to put gas in the bus, there is no exhaust pipe and they are told the bus uses singing as their fuel. However, Plankton is later seen climbing out of the exhaust pipe.
When everyone is at the window after Squidward says, "Look it's Atlantis," SpongeBob's left leg is missing, Mr. Krabs’ legs are missing, and he is unusually tall. Also, in the shot after the window appears, Sandy is next to Mr. Krabs and behind Patrick and SpongeBob is in front of both Mr. Krabs and Squidward. In the shot before, Sandy was behind Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob was next to/in front of Mr. Krabs.
When SpongeBob realized he trapped himself and Patrick in the bubble, he dropped his wand. Then it was missing.
It is unknown how Patchy put out his burning radio.
When Patchy finds himself gone, the background is nothing. Then the next time we see Patchy, he is in the desert. In the alien part, it is nothing again.
When Plankton finally picks his weapon, it's red but when he stops everyone in their tracks, it's green.