When the secret crabby patty formula is stolen, SpongeBob and pals go on an adventure to retrieve it!
A full 11 years on from the original movie and a decade and a half since the series’ first aired on Nickelodeon, SpongeBob is back on the big screen. And good golly but its weird.
I have to admit I’ve only got a passing familiarity with the massively successful show – I’m aware of the characters but probably haven’t sat through more than a handful of episodes. And that just means I get to discover the zaniness in a movie theatre for the first time.
A Sponge Out Of Water is just nuts. And it’s also hilarious. It zips from one gag to the next, throwing in self-aware humour and in-jokes alongside verbal zingers and unnerving sight gags. I was going to say that the plot was incoherent but its actually very simple – SpongeBob needs to get the secret formula back and goes on a series of adventures to retrieve them.
Just how that happens is where the chaos truly reigns. There’s time travel, musical numbers, too much sugar, burger eating, stop motion dolphins (who control the universe), a leather-clad post-apocalypse and team bonding – and that’s all before you get to the live action bit where they crew all go CG and bust out some superpowers.
It’s a breathless 92 minutes of madness, and mostly wildly entertaining. There’s no possible way of knowing what’s going to happen next, with director Paul Tibbit somehow managing to retain the insanity of the short TV episodes for more than 90 minutes.
Technically, its rather nice too, with very familiar animation for the 2D segments and wonderfully stylised characters when they make the leap into the real world. It’s a glossy product overall (even the stop motion dolphin – he raps and is voiced by Matt Berry), which serves as a nice contrast to how crazy it is.
I personally wasn’t crazy about the live action story, with Antonio Banderas working hard but not really impressing as the nefarious Burger-Beard. And total newcomers might find it all a little much – this definitely isn’t a film to watch if you’re feeling at all delicate.
But for fans, kids and pretty much everyone else, there’s loads to like in Sponge Out of Water. It’s bright and loud and colourful and (unlike many big screen outings) retains everything which appealed from the series. And it’s got a stop motion, universe controlling dolphin.