I’ve never watched a “SpongeBob SquarePants” T.V. episode or the previous SpongeBob film. So THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER is my first SpongeBob experience. And for a film geared towards kids, I have to say that I, a middle aged man, had a good time watching this trippy dippy kid’s animation about underwater sea creatures (at least I think they’re all sea creatures—oh, I forgot, there’s a squirrel… underwater… of course).
The closest thing that I can equate to SPONGEBOB is Warner Bros.’s Looney Tunes. While Loony Tunes relegated the majority of its characters to wild, farm, and domestic animals, SPONGEBOB goes under the sea for its creations. While I think the Looney Tunes characters have a better artistic line, the SpongeBob characters have a looser, more freewheeling, with a Saturday morning cartoon look that goes with its “I think this was created by somebody on shrooms.” But that’s what I love about the SpongeBob world—it’s really out there, in a good way!
The story in the film is about SpongeBob SquarePants, the world’s favorite sea dwelling invertebrate, working for Mr. Krab at the Krusty Krab restaurant, the home of the famous and addictive Krabby Patties. Plankton, who owns a rival and less successful restaurant, wants the Krabby Patties formula. The formula eventually ends up in the hands of Burger Beard, a live-action pirate played by Antonio Banderas. This is when the “SPONGE OUT OF WATER” in the title comes into play.
SpongeBob, his friends, and Plankton must travel to the surface to recapture the Krabby Patties formula from Burger Beard. But first they visit Bubbles, a super-intelligent dolphin floating through space in a pyramid as he watches over our galaxy (it doesn’t get any tripper than this!). When they eventually settle back on earth, they turn themselves into muscle bound superheroes (I wonder were they got that cha-ching idea?) to beat Burger Beard, but not without some pretty funny sight gags and turns of phrase first.
Overall, I had a really fun time watching this film, which was completely unexpected. Can I recommend SPONGEBOB to everyone? Absolutely not. Unfortunately there are some hardcore culture vultures that need subtitles and some serious tedium to feel like they’ve seen a FILM. But if you want trippy dippy, wild off-the-wall characters, and funny comedy bits, by all means see THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER.
James R. Janowsky
Twitter: @jamesjanowsky and @FILM_Hotspot