The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

Director: Paul Tibbitt

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Tom Kenny, Paul Tibbitt, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass

Written by: Glenn Berger, Jonathan Aibel, (story) Paul Tibbitt and (story and creator of series “Spongebob Squarepants”) Stephen Hillenburg

Running Time: 92 mins

Cert: U

Release date: 27th March 2015

It’s been 12 years since SpongeBob Squarepants, the hugely popular Nicelodeon cartoon series, was last on the big screen. His return might delight some and send the fear of God in others. I’m neither happy or angry. In fact, while I enjoyed the first cinematic outing, I find myself struggling to remember much about it, apart from David Hasselhoff being used as a surf board. I’m probably going to have the same lack of memory with this second feature too.

The happy creatures of Bikini Bottom find the formula of their beloved Crabby Pattie has gone missing. Immediately the finger is pointed at Krusty Krab’s arch nemesis, Plankton. Only SpongeBob knows that he didn’t steal it and so the two former foes must join forces in order to find the formula and prove Plankton’s innocence, not knowing that the answer lies above the sea and in the hands of a diabolical pirate.

If you think I mat have given far too much of the plot away, you shouldn’t worry. This is a film in which plot is secondary to the anarchy and surreal jokes that are hurled at you from every corner throughout the whole of this film, which, surprisingly, is both its strength and its weakness.

The first hour or so is like watching an extended SpongeBob cartoon. All the familiar characters are present and correct, while the animation is as haphazard as it has ever been. An explosion of bright colours and sugar-fueled dialogue that zips along at a rate of knots, you want it to slow down occasionally, or feel the need to drink gallons of fizzy drinks in order to keep up.

Then, to prove a reason for its big screen entry, the characters are propelled into the real world, turning the flat, 2D animation into 3D CGI and if you felt that the first hour was flagging, this then slaps you awake and brings it all into another dimension.

Throughout the film, the gags come thick and fast, some hitting the target with an almighty bulls-eye, reducing the audience into fits of hysteria, while most are delivered so fast, they miss and miss massively. You also get the feeling that this is a movie made not for a young audience but for the creators themselves. There’s an uneasy feeling of some heavy drug taking involved, as this is more psychedelic than sane.

One of the more surreal moments is when SpongeBob and Plankton find a time machine that sends them here, there and everywhere, in a sequence that could easily be from the late 60’s, ending up with the pair meeting a dolphin who watches to see if planets don’t crash into each other. While a definite high point to the first part, this also left a lot of the younger viewers somewhat bemused.

Antonio Banderas pops up as the villain, the pirate Burger Beard and seems to be having far too much fun, while, for some unexplained reason, the voices of the CGI seagulls have been dubbed with British celebrities including Alan Carr.

Sponge Out Of Water is a mixed bag. Fans will love the zany nonsense while those looking for a family adventure might find the whole experience far too much to take. Funny, yes but in a totally uncontrolled way and, sadly, like the first film, instantly forgettable.

3/5

 

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