This cartoon age (on TV) have been dominated by four shows, “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy”, “South Park” and “Spongebob”. It’s kind of odd that this era of cartoons have been defined by three adult shows and one children’s one. These cartoons were mega-hits in their own right. In a weird way filling the void of old Chuck Jones cartoons.
The early episodes of “Spongebob” always had the hidden adult humor and zany nature that made it accessible to a broad demographic of people; not just limited to kids. Growing up around this era, everyone I knew watched “Spongebob” so it’s a bit nostalgic for me. I remember when the first movie came out (been awhile since I’ve seen it) but I do recall having fun with it. No doubt the show’s best days were in its first few seasons. It was interesting that this newest film was bringing back the writers of the first three seasons of “Spongebob” to helm this newest movie “Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”.
To be completely honest, viewing the trailers for this movie I had no idea what to think. It’s looked so over the top, all over the place but at the same time it made me laugh so who knew what to expect. Other than the misleading marketing (leading the audiences to believe most of the movie takes place out of the water when in reality it’s like the last 20 minutes) this movie is exactly as the trailer shows. This movie is over the top, lacks all focus, but at the same time is made me laugh! This has such a fun attitude that it’s hard to care about its lack of focus and just have fun along in the ride, even though those last 20 minutes above the water did pull away from a lot of the fun that the movie had already built up.
Once again Plankton attempts to steal the Crabby Patty formula from Mr. Crabs. As Spongebob and Plankton struggle over the formula, it disappears right before their eyes; stolen by a diabolical pirate. Now the Binki Bottom is sent into an apocalypse without the Crabby Patties. Plankton and Spongebob now must team up in a travel through time and destruction to find and retrieve the Crabby Patty formula.
This movie really has no focus. One moment there is a giant food fight, the next there is an apocalypse, then time travel. The film goes in eight different directions and normally that would bother me, but the zany and almost meta surreal nature of the film makes it an almost a welcome divergent from normality. It’s almost as if the movie is saying “hey we don’t care let’s have fun”. That attitude I would normally find abrasive but instead it’s just fun and you sort of roll with it; see what the movie throws at you.
“Sponge Out of Water” sports a perfect blend of humor for a broad demographic. Although there is plenty of humor for kids here it’s not condescending like some of the humor in movies like “The Smurfs”. That brand of humor will get some laughs out of the adults as well. If you’re an adult taking your child, there is plenty of humor just geared towards your own demographic that most kids won’t pick up on.
Of course the biggest marketing tool of the movie was the live action 3-D segments of the movie. Which (as I mentioned before) isn’t actually a large aspect of the film. The marketing leads you to believe that the majority and main part of the story is out of the water. When in reality it only makes up the last 20 minutes of the movie. This is actually the weakest part of the movie.
Throughout the movie, the story will cut to Antonio Banderas as a pirate on his ship talking to a group of seagulls. These scenes, although tedious, do sport some laughs here and there as Banderas chews the scenery as a pirate. Once we get to the point where Spongebob and the rest of the crew comes out of the water to battle it out with Banderas, the movie loses its steam. It’s occasionally fun but generally speaking the film loses that fun zany attitude that the rest had. Still not a bad segment of the movie but the last act doesn’t measure up to the rest of the film.
This is a pretty enjoyable movie. If you didn’t like Spongebob before this, this one certainly won’t change your mind. If you like Spongebob, then I think you’ll really enjoy the majority of this movie. A bit unexpected in many ways this is a good animated feature; one that can be enjoyed by families and I honestly hope to see a third Spongebob movie if they ever decide to make one.