The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)
Directed by Phil Tibbitt
In an egregious case of trailer misrepresentation, it seems the only thing caught out of the water is the audience of “The SpongeBob Movie” – because only one-third of the movie has our favorite sea creatures on dry land. The rest of the movie is animated, safely under the sea. And not full of human beachgoers, like the trailer might lead you to believe. The writers of the script, I might add, have no prior SpongeBob experience, though writer/director Paul Tibbitt, and writer Stephen Hillenburg (both of whom wrote the story, which isn’t much better) are SpongeBob series veterans.
As usual, Plankton (Doug Lawrence, credited as “Mr. Lawrence”) is up to his antics trying to steal the Krabby Patty secret formuler (please tell me you read that in Mr. Krab’s voice). But this time, a dastardly pirate (Antonio Banderas, in the flesh) gets his hands on the formula and sets up a food truck on the beach selling the delicious burgers. Bikini Bottom is in post-apocalyptic shambles without the Krabby Patty (because nobody memorized the formula, there is no burger), so Spongebob (Tom Kenny), Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence), and Plankton travel to land to get it back. But this pirate has a few tricks up his sleeve to make their rescue mission a difficult one.
The “SpongeBob Squarepants” television series has been on the air for over 15 years, and 2015 is far from the series peak. Unfortunately, this movie reflects the show’s current declined state. As usual, the writing is childish and simple-minded. It has a few instances of witty word play, but on the whole the writing does nothing more than move the story along. It’s safe and dull. And once it gets further in, the story becomes incoherent and unrealistic (even by SpongeBob’s standards…). It just became silly, but not in a good way. The kids will laugh, but it won’t be enjoyable for the whole family. Sorry, parents, but you might be suffering by the end of this. But hey, if you make it to the credits you get rewarded by Pharrell’s new original song, “Squeeze Me,” an early candidate for the Oscar for Best Original Song.
I’ve always loved animation in 3D, and SpongeBob has never been crisper and more defined than in “Sponge out of Water.” It looks pretty, to be sure. I just wish the story was worth watching.