In keeping with the goofy and pacy style of the TV show, this movie sequel appeals to lovers of the telly treat. Puns, gags and general well structured silliness caters people of all ages. It certainly isn’t as brilliant as the 2004 outing but there’s fun to be had in the madcap adventure of claiming back the Krabby Patty formula.
Diving into Bikini Bottom as a bearded pirate named Burger-Beard (Antonio Banderas) tells us and some birds the story of Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny), we see the fry cook try and guard the bottled burger recipe from evil Plankton (Mr. Lawrence). But when the formula vanishes, Spongebob and Plankton have to team up to prevent their home becoming a sandy abyss and a trip into our world may reveal the whereabouts of the secretive scroll.
Animation wise, the film looks just as zany as the series and the first film. Detailed close ups of characters, for example blood shot eyes, heighten foolish tensions as normal and the usual drawings fit the quirky silly humour. Breaching into the live action realm, the real sponge and starfish idea is dropped and CGI replaces that better mould. Clearly the budget it stepped up and what with superhero films being commonplace, CGI is an inevitable step to parody the heroic squad on our world but it feels jarring to see these beloved characters as overloaded computer outputs.
Generally the last part of the film suffers, Mike Mitchell’s live action directing not doing any great favours for the film. It has its moments to be fair but in keeping with Squidward’s hero name, the real world is a sour note for the movie. It’s clear to see that all the flying around and insane chasing of the Earth and Bikini Bottom mash up is slotted in for that 3D tag the film has. It certainly is non-stop and barmy action to watch but something doesn’t sit right in it and the fact that it’s only a little part of the movie is a blessing.
It’s nice to see this film venture more into the hallucinogenic aura it can portray more often than not. Paul Tibbitt’s cartoon direction is fantastic. The sugary filled acid trip of Spongebob’s brain is nightmarishly cute and well story-boarded. A taco time travel booth does more than enough to make you realise what an odd sort of story this is and a talking space dolphin voiced by the awesome surprise of Matt Berry fits the role perfectly. It all looks and sounds rather dumb but in fact this is why I love Spongebob, because it’s always charming and smart, a fun quick ditty to marvel at.
The film is great for different ages, it can have that family vibe if you’re into that Nickelodeon arena. This 2015 plot has some morals and a sweet lining to soften the loud colorful images. Joining together and doing the right thing to save your home speaks volumes even over the madcap ideas, tee-am work is the big theme of the day and works well for this story.
The music doesn’t sit up as well as the ‘Now That We’re Men’ song but the ‘Team Work’ song is lovely enough and the time travel funk of N.E.R.D is outstandingly great to listen to. John Debney’s score fits well with the action taking place and livens up suitably for the barmier hero final act. To be honest this film is much weirder and weaker than the 2004 one but it was never going to be better.
Tom Kenny’s vocals are as deliciously annoying but endearing as ever, his squeals and laughs making this sponge chef the nitwit hero he always is. Bill Fagerbakke is moronic but likable as the best sidekick on telly in Patrick Star. Mr. Lawrence softens up slightly as a more rounded Plankton and Rodger Bumpass does his groany shtick with Squidward Tentacles though sadly he doesn’t feature as much as I’d like him to. Antonio Banderas is fun and plays the typical pirate well but compared to the last live action treat of the Hoff he is no match for hilarity.
A film that will entice fans of the show and in all its colour and joyful splendour it’s watchable and enjoyable, just not as strong as it might have hoped to have been.