The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 2015
Next up on the kids movies agenda is the second foray into the theatrical realm for a certain animated sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Similar to last year’s Birdman (and this is one of the only places that will ever compare those two movies) it is a stretch to call this a “superhero movie” as the aquatic tee-am mates only take on their superhero roles for about ten minutes out of the entire movie. I can’t say that I’m a regular watcher of the Spongebob cartoon and haven’t actually watched it in years, but I am a sucker for the psychadelic, pun-filled, non-sequitur show. What other show is going to have a reference to the creepy twins in the Shining during a trip inside Spongebob’s cotton candy and rainbow filled brain? Underneath the trippy animation and occasional bathroom humor lies a smartly written tale featuring a Greek Chorus of seagulls, Antonio Banderas hamming it up as Burger Beard, Bikini Bottom turning into a Mad Max-like post apocalyptic wasteland, a supreme being dolphin named Bubbles, and plenty of laughs throughout.
The film is basically a combination of a couple different story lines. The main one is Antonio Banderas’s Burger Beard who steals a magical storybook which he rewrites to give himself the secret recipe for Krabby Patties. He then uses that recipe to start a successful food truck business. Meanwhile, Plankton is wrongfully accused of stealing the recipe and reluctantly works with Spongebob in order to find and return it to restore Bikini Bottom back to normal after it has turned into Thunderdome, which it did instantaneously by the way. The two stories are fairly well integrated, as Burger Beard is telling the story of Spongebob and Plankton to a group of comic relief seagulls before revealing himself as the true villain of the story.
Almost the entire first half of the film feels like a typical Spongebob episode aside from the occasional check-ins with Burger Beard and the seagulls. It’s the same style of animation, the same type of humor, and all the same characters. It’s not until near the midway point where Plankton and Spongebob work together to build a time machine out of a photo booth inside of a taco and sausage restaurant that it starts to feel a bit more cinematic, and it’s still another fifteen minutes or so before they get to the selling point of the movie where they enter the real world. The “real world” designs of the characters do look pretty decent. They keep the same feel of the hand drawn style, but also feel much more solid and realistic to help sell the fact that they are different.
The overall story of the film didn’t really have anything new to offer, but it was integrated into the world of Bikini Bottom quite well. There have been plenty of stories about the misunderstood enemy working together with the heroes toward a common goal to learn the value of teamwork. Unfortunately, the movie does do a complete cop out so that everything goes back to the television series status quo at the very end. The actual superhero portion of the film was very fun and had a great surprise reveal that wasn’t shown in the trailers (though apparently did make it into some of the posters like the one I used above) and I do have to mention. Sandy the squirrel is turned into an ultra-realistic looking squirrel when she enters the real world, it was a great reveal, though it did feel rather out of place once the joke wore off. The other powers fit quite well with the character’s personalities, where Squidward becomes Sour Note, Mr. Krabs becomes a robot with rocket claws, Patrick becomes Mr. Super Awesomeness with the ability to attract all the ice cream in the area to himself, Spongebob becomes Invincibubble with several bubble related powers, and Plankton becomes a Hulk-like hero with a still-tiny head.
The movie is still very much in line with the television show with its humor and style, there are plenty of funny moments throughout though the story is generally pretty cut and dry. Some of the most visually impressive and trippy scenes are during the several trips through time. Since they did use all of these elements from a taco restaurant, it has a very Spanish influence to the music and designs while still being very abstract. I did not see the film in 3D, and while I don’t think I missed out on anything, I do see how it could have improved the experience in some places. For my daughter’s part, she was laughing during much of the movie, and her final verdict was that the movie was “weird, but Spongebob is always weird”. I also enjoyed myself quite a bit throughout the film, especially since it has been a while since I watched Spongebob on TV. It amazes me to a certain extent when I think about how long this property has existed, it’s been around for 16 years and is still going. There’s plenty of room for more squarepants I guess. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.