The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Director: Paul Tibbitt

Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Antonio Banderas, Tim Conway, Billy West

Rated: PG (mild action and rude humor)

When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.

 

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

By Cole Schneider

It’s common for a TV show to try and replicate it’s formula as a movie 4-5 times its length. Often these movies lack the fun that a single episode might offer because it takes everything that worked in 22 minutes and dilutes it over an hour-and-a-half. “SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water” does the opposite. This “SpongeBob” seems far more ambitious than most animated TV shows. This “SpongeBob” is also quite terrible.

It’s interesting to note that many scenes might be hilarious outside of context as a short YouTube video. It’s certainly a movie made for an audience who makes most of their visual acquaintances with that medium, and that’s great. The fundamental problem is that feature filmmaking is not the same as YouTube. It’s not an elitism thing, they are simply different mediums. Context and story matter in filmmaking. Jokes aren’t funny when they are surrounded by the nonsense “SpongeBob” throws our way.

As we follow SpongeBob and his new teammate Plankton trying to retrieve the lost formula for the delicious Krabby-Patty, we realize that this whole thing is a giant, sad formula sugar-coated with story dynamics that seem ambitious, interesting, and layered, but is ultimately as flat as any 22 minute episode, or 2 minute YouTube video. It is desperate style trying to cover for abhorrent substance. It’s lame, really, and Bikini Bottom deserves better.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

By Matt Greene

“SpongeBob” is among the greatest cartoons of modern time, keeping company with the likes of “Simpsons”, “South Park”, and “Adventure Time”. Known for its mix of traditional and surreal animation, its lovable characters, and its unabashed silliness, the movie offers us all of these core components. Unfortunately, Sponge Out of Water rarely reaches the heights of the show. It’s an inventive but sloppy confluence of events, bold but mismatched ideas, and weak story-beats that still manages to ring some marginally clever fun.

You’ll want to be familiar with the source material going in, as it’s full of self-referential humor and extremely-meta plotting. Banderas is a ton of fun as an evil pirate-turned-burger-chef who is trying to steal the Krabby Patty recipe and rewrite Bikini Bottom’s history. Before our heroes touch land in order to save their town, the jokes are hit-and-miss, with the best stuff coming in the form of movie references, both specific (The Shining, Mad Max) and more general (corny sound effects, tropes). Once we move into the “real world”, the movie inarguably gets better, playing with its characters in truly imaginative ways, while the hand-drawn section is basically just a long, sub-par TV episode.

The problem with movies based on shows is that they leave behind the smaller moments that make the individual episodes so great in order to tell a larger narrative, and TSM:SOOT isn’t immune to this. It’s every bit as dim-witted and naïve as its yellow star, but nowhere near as memorable.  However, the oddness of the larger sum ultimately makes up for the weakness of the individual parts.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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