Film Review – The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water
“Are ya ready kids?!”
It’s crazy to think that SpongeBob Squarepants has been a TV staple for something like 15 years now. It has been a monster success for most of that time and has probably made the voice of Spongebob Tom Kenney a bazillionare. It’s always been a loud, high energy show whose silliness appeals to young children, it’s often smart writing appeals to adults, and it’s world of trippy characters appeal to stoners. The first theatrical Spongebob movie back in 2004 was all in 2D while featuring the massive pecs of The Hof. Now comes along the titular hero’s latest big screen adventure in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
This time around Plankton is once again trying to steal the formula for the Krabby Patty from Mr. Krabbs. The opening is unfolding of his convoluted attempt to break into the vault at the Krusty Krabb. However, in the middle of the ensuing battle and chaos over possession of the coveted recipe, the document disappears up on dry land. It turns out that the wicked pirate Burger Beard (a scenery chewing Antonio Banderas in live action) wants the formula for himself. So Spongebob, Plankton, Patrick, and Squidward must team up to venture onto dry land to retrieve it before the lawlessness it’s absence caused destroys Bikini Bottom forever.
If any of that last paragraph made sense to you, then this is probably the movie for you.
The trailers for this movie have been misleading. They’ve been selling heavily the fact that our animated heroes are rendered in computer animation amongst live action actors. That is only true for about the last third of the film. Much to the movie’s credit, most of the running time is spent with the traditional hand drawn style of the TV show. The animation, the jokes, the energy all will be very familiar to this franchise’s fans. Some of the gags land pretty well. All of the stuff involving how Bikini Bottom falls into a Road Warrior like wasteland immediately after the formula goes missing is pretty great.
All of the characters sound and act like they should. Patrick sounds like Patrick. There’s no odd changes of style just because this is a big budget movie. Often when animated properties like this try to attract a larger audience they will make it feel more generic and lose the heart of the original idea. That’s not the case here. Mr. Krabbs is still a greedy miser. Plankton is still devious. Squidward is still morose. And Patrick is still Patrick.
The drawback here is that the dry land section feels like it goes on a little too long. There are some funny jokes early on, such as when Patrick mistakes a human’s foot for a creature with 5 heads. But the finale devolves into an overlong manic chase where our heroes race to catch up with Burger Beard and his wacky animated ship. Yes it’s high energy. But Spongebob is at it’s best when it’s about more than just franticness. This chase gets to feel just loud and repetitive. It’s not horrible. It’s just not particularly special.
Overall, Sponge Out Of Water feels like an extra long episode of the show. That’s both a good and bad thing. Yes, all of the regular players are here. And it is fun and funny. But it’s also not necessarily any better than what you get daily by watching reruns on Nickelodeon. Some actual episodes of the show itself are more memorable than this movie (I’m looking at you Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy)(or the time SpongeBob split his pants)(or when the Hash Slinging Slasher turned out to just be Nosferatu). It’s worth seeing and children will be entertained for the most part. But they also might get a little restless with it as well.