Monday, 23 March 2015

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water review

First of all: Ruhe in Frieden, Eberhard PrĂ¼ter. 
Your successor, Tobias Lelle, is doing a fine job, even if he won't be able to match up to your performance in the series.
Secondly, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water wasn't perfect. It wasn't as tightly plotted as the first movie and it went all over the place. 
However, it was visually stunning in every way possible. The CGI was great, the traditional animation had nice moments, there was some stop motion animation of Matt Berry as a talking dolphin, and there were these ADORABLE Mary Blair-esque animations of the characters walking above and below the credits (and Squidward embellishing the song with an interpretive dance).
The characterization is so-so. Spongebob is back to his good old innocent self like the obnoxious jerk he became was never there, Plankton gets a bit of depth, but Mr. Krabs is still a jerk (A sometimes funny jerk, but a jerk nonetheless). Can't say much about Patrick. Or Sandy, though she gets better. Squidward rarely ever changes.
Most of the film was in 2D, and focused on the relationship between Spongebob and Plankton. (I only just realised the role reversal in that Plankton is the one who gets framed and not Mr. Krabs like in the first movie). The two characters work off each other very well, and I like the scene where Plankton goes into Spongebob's brain (You'll see).
The voice acting of the main cast particularly is excellent. Tom Kenny had a surprising number of quiet and reflective moments as Spongebob. The other voice actors are solid, too. Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence... they were all great!
There were some surprise cameos from voice actors like Carlos Alazraqui and Billy West.
Antonio Banderas as Burger Beard was very enjoyable. The magical weapon he wields is a clever idea. The seagulls are annoying, but you'll see what happens when Burger Beard manages to scare one of them away.
As mentioned before, my problem is the pacing. It tries to tell too many stories at once (though Squidward doesn't get much focus, although he probably doesn't mind. I like the joke where Mr. Krabs is ranting and it reveals that Squidward was asleep on his four feet), unlike in the first movie where barely anyone gets focus except for Spongebob, Patrick and Plankton.
However, the movie all ties together when Spongebob finally leads his friends up towards the surface, and get the help they need to pursue Burger Beard, eventually becoming superheroes. 
Finally, the movie was dedicated in the memory of Ernest Borgnine, which was really sweet. The man had a vast career, and living to be 95 is something to be admired.
Overall, while messy and flawed, the film is funny, creative and absolutely has to be seen in 3-D, if only for the scenes where Spongebob and Plankton travel through time. 
As a longtime fan of Spongebob, I was laughing harder than the kids in the theater. But I guess that's just my taste in humor.