‘Spongebob The Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ Review: Who Lives in A Pineapple Under The Sea?

Posted in The Screening Room by - February 12, 2015

With the first Spongebob movie more than a decade behind us, and the last new episodes of the series having aired in 2012, it’s a testament to the enduring nature of the titular character and his world of Bikini Bottom that a Spongebob movie in 2015 is still an event that merits some excitement. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water maintains the same childlike innocence and manic insanity that originally made the show such a sensation, while adding layers of meta humor that make the whole affair feel substantial enough to warrant a theatrical release. That’s how I feel as a fan of the show. For those unfamiliar with the source material, results may vary based on your current medical regimen. 

Sponge Out of Water may be contending with Good Burger for best movie plotted around fast food. When the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty goes missing, Bikini Bottom is immediately plummeted into a post apocalyptic nightmare. Spongebob must team up with his nemesis Plankton to find the missing recipe, and save Bikini Bottom from the burgerless hell that quickly begins to consume it. That plot may sounds slight, and it is, but anything more would have been a hinderance to the rocket fueled glee that ensues. From the moment Sponge Out of Water begins, it’s clear that the creators were more concerned with visceral in the moment enjoyment more than anything else, and on this front they succeed. A glowingly cartoonish performance from Antonio Banderas,  an inspired time travel sequence propelled forward by an infectious tune from N.E.R.D. and a trip inside of Spongebobs’ cotton candy brain are just a few of the confections on offer. Adding to the effect is a wonderful use of 3D, giving the normally flat Bikini Bottom the look and feel of a well constructed pop-up book. 

Slathered on top of the typical formula is a meta plot involving a pirate (Antonio Banderas) using a magical book to write the story Spongebob and his friends are fumbling their way through. Inevitably the two plot lines collide in the final act of the film when Spongebob and company venture onto land, and into our world to confront the meddling swashbuckler. While the CG character designs look great, and the effect of moving from the tradition animation to the CG live action combo is quite smooth, it’s a blessing that this is a relatively small slice of the experience. It’s fun to watch the gang futz about in the real world, but no matter the antics any treatment of reality can’t possibly live up to the surreal heights the film achieved in the hour or so that came before. Despite dragging the tiniest bit near the end, Sponge Out of Water ends on a triumphant note with a rousing rendition of the shows beloved theme song, now enhanced with a rap battle between an inter-dimensional dolphin and a seagull. 

As much as I loved this movie, I can’t shout my exuberance without a caveat. If you’ve never seen the show, if you find you dislike the frivolous, if you find yourself scowling at children,  if you’re over the age of 12, and if you’ve got all of your wits about you, this might not be an experience you want to have. It would be dishonest of me to deny the strong bias that nostalgia provides me in the case of this one. But if you grew up watching this show, if you laugh at the absurd, if you’re under 12, or you find yourself in a slightly off kilter state, this might be exactly what you need in your life. 

Final Say: Watch It 

This post was written by

He holds a BFA in writing for screen and television from the University of Southern California, and has co-writing credit for the indie-as-fuck feature film All Together Now. A fan of all things entertainment, he spends his free time watching TV, reading comic books, and cataloging a warehouse full of VHS tapes.

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