Review: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Since debuting in 1999, Nickelodeon's Spongebob Squarepants series has gone on to become a global phenomenon and a financially lucrative property. With a successful feature film already released in 2004 and the television series still going strong, the studio make another grab for big screen glory with second cinematic release, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

Director Paul Tibbtit's ambitious project blends the traditional 2D animation of the series with live action and CGI, giving the film a madcap, trippy feel perfectly befitting of the series. Sponge Out of Water sees evil pirate Burgerbeard (Antonio Banderas) gets his hands on the recipe for Krabby Patties which sends the underwater town of Bikini Bottom into an apocalyptic meltdown. It's up to Spongebob and his cohorts to team-up and retrieve the formula.

Initially the project doesn't quite seem like an event worthy of the big screen, instead feeling like an extended episode of the television series. With simple animation and a screenplay from Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel that delivers the usual zany quick-fire gags of the show, this feature occasionally feels undeserving of the big screen. However, as Tibbit's film progresses and the narrative takes on a trippy time-travel angle, later combined with CGI effects in a real-life environment, it's hard not to be swept up in the madcap fun.

Fun is the keyword here, with the project getting more entertaining as it gets sillier. As Spongebob teams-up with sworn enemy Plankton to build a time-machine in a taco shop, Tibbitt makes way for a trippy-visuals and funk soundtrack (provided by Pharrell and N.E.R.D.) establishing a quirky character. Appearances from Matt Berry as an intergalactic dolphin overlord called Bubbles and a leading turn from Banderas as fast-food truck owning pirate continue to provide the chaotic fun. Banderas in particular is a joy to watch as he camps it up, acting against various types of green screen.

Sponge Out of Water is at its most enjoyable when it takes the characters to dry land and styles switch from animated to computer-generated: things become trippier and the set-pieces more ambitious. Fun vocal performances from Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown, and Alan Carr (in the UK version), and others keep things bustling with a kinetic energy.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a joyous trip filled rapid-fire gags, psychedelic visuals, a funky soundtrack, and brimming with energetic performances both vocal/live. It's not likely to convert non-fans, but those willing to embrace the madness will be rewarded with a good time.

Tom Kenny 2118987441275652425
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