At times amusing, at time infuriatingly obtuse, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water outstays its welcome but has enough laughs to keep it watchable. Watch out for the theme tune played towards the end though… it is an ‘ear worm’ of the highest magnitude.
The residents of Bikini Bottom are about to face their greatest crisis yet: the secret formula to their most beloved of meals, the Krabby Patty Burger, has been stolen and all eyes are on the usual suspect. Unsuccessful rival Plankton has made it his goal in life to steal the formula from Mr Krabs, but this time he is pleading innocent. The only other witness to the crime was Spongebob, and the two become unlikely allies in the search for the mystery recipe, as all those around them begin to fear the apocalypse.
Above the waves, a crazy pirate is reading the story of what is happening and soon finds himself in possession of the formula. Burger Beard is intent on making money for himself, but he doesn’t count on the arrival of Spongebob and his gang.
Antonio Banderas is on board as Captain Burger Beard, and his live-action sections are the bookends to the film with the extended finale featuring a full-on battle between him and super-power enhanced cartoon creations.
This is the special UK edition we’ve reviewed… featuring the vocal “talents” of Alan Carr, Stacey Solomon and two One Direction-looking Vloggers, whom we’re assured are Youtube “sensations”. This gaggle of celebrities play annoying seagulls in the film. As you can imagine, this is a a stretch for some of them. It’s a bit of a shift from an earlier Spongebob movie that featured the likes of Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff and Scarlett Johansson.
This film version of the popular TV show doesn’t try to be too different from what has gone before. The characters are all dependably annoying in their own ways with dumb starfish Patrick and irritating squid Squidward all living up to expectations.
Spongebob is a curious creation. His entire existence is baffling until you actually watch the show. Having a mute sea snail called Gary for a pet, and a trapped squirrel who yearns to get back on dry land for a girlfriend are probably the most understandable of his eccentricities. His overly positive demeanour means nothing effects him, and this childlike innocence is one that kids and adults will probably find most appealing.
Everything else veers from one extreme to the other. Some innuendo filled gags are clearly aimed at grown-ups whereas other bits are for toddlers or younger.
This never tries to be a Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks movie. It succeeds and fails on its own scale, and on that basis it’s hard not to like.