The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water review
Matt Berry rapping
Once in a long while will a cartoon character become so beloved that he or she graduates from a pop culture fixture to a national treasure. The Greatest Generation had wisecracking prankster Bugs Bunny, Generation X had starving sleuth Scooby Doo, and now GenY/ Millennials have SpongeBob SquarePants in all of his naïve, undersea glory. Having already produced a successful film eleven years ago in 2004 with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Nickelodeon took a rather long time to cash in on the silver screen again with their biggest cash cow. Instead of a straight-forward adventure like the one our porous friend took over a decade ago, the plot gets a little too meta and self-referential to appeal to its target child audience. Only film buffs will appreciate the use of Ennio Morricone’s score, for example. Just like the television show on which it’s based, adults will get a little more out of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water than kids; however children will nonetheless enjoy the picture.
The entire primary voice cast of “SpongeBob SquarePants” returns for their second SpongeBob movie. Unlike The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, there’s no treat of multiple celebrity voices like Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, and Jeffrey Tambor. However, British comedic actor Matt Berry (“The I.T. Crowd,” “Snuff Box”) lends his “Douglas Reynholm” voice to a few key scenes as an ancient, watchful dolphin in dire need of a bathroom break.
The main similarity between the two SpongeBob movies, however, is the on-screen appearance of well-known actors. The 2004 original featured David Hasselhoff (“Baywatch,” “Knight Rider”) in a cameo role as a super-human version of himself. Sponge out of Water features Antonio Banderas (The Expendables 3, The Mask of Zorro) as the antagonist, Burger Beard. It’s difficult to take the actor seriously here, but I’m sure he was generously compensated. Somebody was going to do it, right? Burger Beard’s actions of stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula (the common degree of tension in Bikini Bottom) for use in his food truck enterprise by literally writing the plot in his favor causes a welcome twist when SpongeBob reduces himself to teaming up with Plankton for the first time. Plankton joining his first team quickly becomes a funny gag as his first teammate is the empty-headed, blissful sponge.
Another added element to the SpongeBob cinematic experience is the implementation of 3D. Never again will an American animated film receive a nationwide release without the 3D option, but at least the SpongeBob sequel makes it worth the price of a ticket. The third dimension gets more vivid as the show plays out, really popping when the characters find their way on to dry land to assemble a group of superheroes.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water is a worthwhile family comedy, but caters toward the older half of the audience. Children will have trouble understanding the humor (or even the concept) of characters writing the movie in which they're actively appearing. The movie also presents two separate MacGuffins at the same time with the obvious Krabby Patty secret formula and with Burger Beard’s magic book. The characters keep all their same rhythms and the additions of Antonio Banderas and Matt Berry make for a good show regardless of whatever format (2D or 3D) one chooses to view it.