‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of the Water’ review: a wild and confusing ride

By Adrian Danganan

Paramount Pictures’ “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” marks the return of our favorite yellow sponge to the big screen, as he and his friends must restore order in Bikini Bottom by locating the lost Krabby Patty secret formula. Directed by Paul Tibbitt, the half-animated and half-live action Nickelodeon film invites the original television voice cast back into theaters for yet another classic SpongeBob-filled adventure.

A pirate named Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) tells the tale of SpongeBob SquarePants (voiced by Tom Kenny) and his friends, as they are caught in a long-time feud between two of the seemingly only premier restaurants in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom: the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket (cue wartime flashbacks.) After some cunning back-and-forth screen time, the Krusty Krab’s nemesis, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), eventually gets ahold of the prize: the Krabby Patty secret formula.

SpongeBob, the head chef of the Krusty Krab, quarrels over the bottle-encased formula with Plankton, only for it to suddenly disappear in their hands. Understanding it was neither of their faults, SpongeBob flees with Plankton in an unexpected team (or is it tee-am?) after an unexpected backlash by Krusty Krab proprietor Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown).

With no recipe and no head chef in sight, Bikini Bottom becomes an apocalyptic wasteland, as residents long for the ever-so-delicious Krabby Patty.

The audience finds out that Burger Beard has a bigger role in the disappearance of the Krabby Patty secret formula, which causes our favorite characters to hit dry land _ÒåÊ la live action. With a magical storybook, a supreme dolphin, superhero personas and almost narcotized time traveling, the fate of Bikini Bottom lies in the hands of the ocean’s most prized sea sponge and his nautical friends.

The longtime Nickelodeon series has never been one to disappoint, and the film keeps “SpongeBob SquarePants” as fresh as it can be. Fans of the series will be familiar with the film’s formula of one-liners and nonsense.

However, those looking for the same wit and humor as the film’s predecessor, “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” may be disappointed. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” leaves behind the first film’s clever nuttiness. The film may possess the appeal, but presents an uninspired 93 minutes of predictable substance that even Banderas cannot save.

In addition, the storyline brings audiences everywhere in an almost confusing trip. One minute, Banderas’ character tells of a riveting tale about SpongeBob and friends to a flock of seagulls. The next, SpongeBob and Plankton team up unexpectedly. Before the audience knows it, an intergalactic talking dolphin starts shooting laser beams out of his blowhole (yes, that is a real scene.)

What is more disappointing is the transition between animation and live action. The first half is completely animated and follows the SpongeBob and Plankton storyline. However, that storyline becomes forgettable and unnecessary when the sea creatures meet the surface and the live action commences. Viewers may question if the film is merely two episodes of “SpongeBob” in one.

At the end of the day, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is a children’s film full of wacky antics that guarantees a chuckle every now and then. Fans will be impressed with how Nickelodeon kept these lovable underwater creatures fresh and fun after 15 years.

However, with “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” there is no doubt that this film could have been a straight-to-television film. Compared to its predecessor, the sequel’s attempt to keep the story interesting through live action scenes, a dynamic storyline and wisecracks here and there did not suffice.

However, it sure is refreshing to see our naval friends on the big screen again.

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is rated PG for mild action and rude humor.

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is in theaters now.

2/5 Stars

SpongeBob Movie

Courtesy Paramount Pictures

SpongeBob Movie

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