Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water

It was a rainy day in Wales. I was out on a little trip with my girlfriend, and as one thing led to another we ended up in the town of Towyn, getting thoroughly drenched by the cruel weather. Stumbling upon a delightful little cinema, we ended up watching The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water…Partly out of choice, but mostly as an escape from the rain. We weren’t expecting much from it but hey, it was shelter and warmth. Excluding parents, we were by far the oldest people in the screening – it felt like we’d turned up at a child’s birthday party by mistake. But after the lights dimmed and the children silenced, imagine our surprise when we spent the next 90 minutes having as good a time as the many children in attendance, laughing at the bizarre adventure. We felt ashamed of ourselves afterwards, obviously…

Directed by Paul Tibbit, long time writer/director in the SpongeBob world, comes the much anticipated ‘sequel’ to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie - Sponge out of Water, which is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D. Before we talk about the plot, the first thing I feel like I should point out is how badly this film was marketed. The posters, trailers and merchandising – and now DVD and Blu-Ray covers – focus far too heavily on the new animation and real-world sequence in the film. Yes, that bit is in the film, obviously. But it’s just the climax; the final battle if you will. Up until then, the film is entirely delivered in old-school animation. I know a lot of people were anxious about that, but there’s no need to worry! And, credit where credit is due, the new animation isn’t that bad. Sure, it felt a little...dare I say; mainstream….to use this approach. It was a little too Alvin & The Chipmunks to have these characters interact with humans. But, like I said, it’s not for long. DON’T PANIC. Breathe. Relax.

So, what’s Sponge out of Water about? If you don’t know anything about the characters (you must be living under a rock, like Patrick!) do not worry, you can rest assured there is brief exposition at the start of the film to tell you all about the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom – but for the good of keeping this review brief, I’m going to assume you have knowledge of ol’ SquarePants and his friends. Sponge out of Water tells the story of a diabolical pirate above the sea (Antonio Banderas, trying far too hard) stealing the secret Krabby Patty formula, and SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton finally teaming up in order to get it back with the help of Patrick, Squidward, Sandy and Mr Krabs. Story-wise, it suffers from most television adaptations in that it just feels like a stretched out episode. But hey, that’s all you need with these characters. It’s hard to knock Sponge out of Water too much. Sure it’s ridiculous and, for many, rather annoying. But if you get the humour and like it, then you’ll love the film. And at the end of the day, Sponge out of Water is for the kids – and judging by the children of Towyn’s reaction, they bloody loved it. It’s colourful, it’s silly, it’s simple and it’s fun. It isn’t a piece that film students will analyse alongside The Godfather in many years’ time. But it isn’t trying to be. Too many film critics slam films like this for silly reasons, when I’m sure its intended young audience couldn’t find one thing wrong with it.

In conclusion, Sponge out of Water isn’t trying to win over any newcomers or people who actively dislike SpongeBob SquarePants. It’s purely here to delight the wide range of existing fans of all ages and if you’re one of them, you’ll be delighted with the results.

Sponge out of Water is a daft bit of fun for all ages and earns an absorbent 4/5.


Sam Love 

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