By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND NICKELODEON MOVIES
November 2004, Nickelodeon’s enormously popular cartoon series, SpongeBob Squarepants gets the theatrical treatment in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, I was a huge fan of SpongeBob growing up, I loved watching the show on Nickelodeon, I had tons of toys, books, Nickelodeon magazines, video games, and a selection of DVDs of the show. When I first heard they were making a SpongeBob Squarepants movie to be released in theaters, I was very excited and could not wait for its release.
When the movie first came out, I went to see it during its opening weekend; it was a Saturday evening with my mom, little sister, and school friend at the Seattle Oak Tree cinema. I remembered lots of laughing and creative situations when I saw the movie for the first time like the scene with the giant scuba diver (The Cyclops) and SpongeBob and Patrick Star escaping Shell City with David Hasselhoff, it was a joy on the big screen and it was met with positive reviews and was a box office hit, so naturally a sequel would be in the works.
In comes The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, SpongeBob’s second appearance on the big screen and the first Nickelodeon cartoon movie to be released theatrically in a long time. I need to be honest, when I first saw the trailer before the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (coincidentally another Nickelodeon movie project), I didn’t know what to make of it, was it going to be another solid SpongeBob movie or a box office failure that could ruin SpongeBob forever.
Thankfully when the movie was officially released in theaters, it wasn’t just as good as its 2004 predecessor, but it manages to be even better than the first, which is what all great sequels do (Spider-Man 2, Shrek 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2).
The film is set at sea as an evil pirate named Captain Burgerbeard (Antonio Banderas-Spy Kids, Shrek 2-4, Puss in Boots) steals a magic book that allows him to make anything he writes in the book come true and thus becomes the narrator of this movie, kind of like a Spanish Patchy the Pirate. He tells a group of talking seagulls (some of which voiced by the extremely talented Billy West, Rob Paulsen, and Kevin Michael Richardson) the story of how he stole the secret formula of the undersea fast food sensation, the Krabby Patty, the iconic burger of the popular Bikini Bottom restaurant, The Krusty Krab, the workplace of our favorite happy yellow sponge, SpongeBob Squarepants (voiced by Tom Kenny). Once the Krabby Patty formula in taken, SpongeBob and his penny pinching boss, Mr. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown) blames his long time business rival, Sheldon J. Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence), owner of the foul Chum Bucket, which makes sense because Plankton has been trying to steal Mr. Krabs’ secret formula for years.
When they find out Plankton is innocent, SpongeBob, along with his lazy, dim-witted best friend, Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke), karate expert land squirrel from Texas, Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence), Mr. Krabs, and Plankton “Te-Am” up to get the Krabby Patty formula back from Burgerbeard, by leaving Bikini Bottom and going to the surface before Bikini Bottom is destroyed.
Overall, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is an absolute delight for kids and long time fans of SpongeBob Squarepants, like me. With its bright and colorful animation, energetic action, very clever jokes and visual gags, it manages to capture the SpongeBob charm and bring it to a new dimension.
The jokes and gags I think are the best parts of the movie, they are so odd and bizarrely creative that they’re absolutely hilarious, from Plankton going into SpongeBob’s brain to look for the formula, to a continuous race against time through a time machine, and a talking realistic dolphin that is apparently the SpongeBob equivalent to God, these are very funny and creative ideas. The climax where SpongeBob and friends become superheroes and battle Burgerbeard had me laughing hysterically in the theater, I was probably louder than any of the kids watching it, that’s quite an accomplishment.
When I first walked into the movie, I was a little concerned they were going to jump right into the live action and CG scenes and not give Bikini Bottom enough screen time. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about, the film had plenty of time in Bikini Bottom and knew exactly when to go CG and live action and I welcome that because I’ve sat through plenty of terrible Hollywood films based on cartoons that literally exploited it to no end (Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Garfield, etc.).
If you’re a fan of SpongeBob or just looking for a fun family outing at the movies, then why are you still reading this review? Just go see Sponge Out of Water, it’ll have plenty of colorful animation, characters, and humor for the kids, and creative and clever writing for the parents, it was a wonderful trip down some childhood nostalgia and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon.
It’s Absorbent Fun At Its Finest!