Saturday, September 27, 2014

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Originally Written and Posted at on 11/22/04 w/ Additional Edits & Revisions.

Based on the animated TV show by Stephen Hillenburg, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is the story of a sponge who tries to retrieve the crown of King Neptune with the help of his dim-witted starfish friend Patrick in the hopes they can save their hometown of Bikini Bottom. Written and directed by Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon, the film is a witty yet off-the-wall animated film that has an optimistic sponge trying to save his town and deal with who he is. Featuring the voices of show regulars Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Mr. Lawrence, Clancy Brown, Roger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Calett, and Jill Taley along with guest voices from Jeffrey Tambor, Scarlett Johansson, and Alec Baldwin plus a cameo appearance from David Hasselhoff. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a very silly yet fantastic film from Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon.

It’s a lovely day in Bikini Bottom as a young yellow sponge named SpongeBob (voice by Tom Kenny) who is in anticipation for the opening of the second Krusty Krab where he awaits the promotion of manager. Living with his pet snail Gary (Tom Kenny), SpongeBob meets up with his neighbor and fellow employee Squidward (Roger Bumpass) and SpongeBob’s best friend Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke). With everyone in anticipation for the opening of the second Krusty Krab that was founded by Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), Krabs’ arch nemesis Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) is angry over Krabs’ success and how he often failed into stealing the formula for the Krabby Patty. With his computer wife Karen (Jill Taley), Plankton goes through his files where he finds Plan Z, a plan that he has never used. Meanwhile at the opening of the second Krabby Patty, SpongeBob learns that Squidward is going to be promoted since Krabs felt that SpongeBob is too young to be a manager.

With SpongeBob depressed over the position, Patrick tries to cheer him up at an ice cream bar where the two get very drunk over ice cream. Meanwhile, Plankton goes to the home of King Neptune (Jeffrey Tambor) where he steals the crown that upsets Neptune who is in denial over his bald spot. With a note that claims that Mr. Krabs has stolen the crown, SpongeBob comes into his defense where he and Patrick will try to retrieve it in six days where the crown is in a place called Shell City. With Krabs frozen on ice, it’s up to SpongeBob and Patrick to save the city where Plankton meanwhile, took the opportunity to steal the Krabby Patty formula as his Chum Bucket restaurant becomes successful.

With Plankton learning of SpongeBob’s adventure, he hires a bike-toting assassin named Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to take them out as Squidward learned what has happened after seeing the town of Bikini Bottom wearing buckets on their heads where it is revealed to be a controlling device as fellow citizens including Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence) and Mrs. Puff (Mary Jo Calett) are under control. On their way to Shell City, SpongeBob and Patrick encounter tough creatures in a bar where bubble blowing isn’t allowed and after that, they encounter a monster where another monster eats it, as did their patty-car. Saddened, the two feel that as kids, they can’t really do anything. Coming to their aid is Neptune’s daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) who gives them a boost of confidence as they continue their adventures. Unfortunately, the two meet up with Dennis and then get captured by an underwater seaman called a Cyclops. SpongeBob and Patrick feel they failed only to persevere with the help of David Hasselhoff (played by the real David Hasselhoff). Will SpongeBob and Patrick save Bikini Bottom? How does SpongeBob defeat Plankton? And will Patrick get a chance to score with Mindy? And why is Neptune insecure about his bald spot?

While most films are often predictable in its storylines, the works because of its traditional storylines and obstacles the characters have to endure. While some fans will be upset that major characters like Sandy, Gary, and Mrs. Puff aren’t used very much, the story and quirkiness of SpongeBob remains in tact thanks to some inspiring direction from Hillenburg and Drymon along with a wonderfully crafted script. The film’s real payoff is in the third act where everything begins to… rock! The film’s balance of offbeat comedy and heartfelt characters and storylines is really the core of SpongeBob since we root for the little sponge and his upbeat attitude. In some cases, the movie is kind of a character study film where the characters do evolve and go through all of these obstacles that they had to endure.

The film’s overall is mostly hand-drawn animated and it works really well here thanks to Hillenburg and Drymon’s directing along with a group of animation directors where the look of the film is really unique in its drawing. While 3-D computer animation may be the new thing, the film reminds viewers that even old-school hand-drawn animation can work, without that glossy Disney-sheen that many are used to. The film is really geared more towards eccentrics, especially in the live-action sequences where the effects look great along with the cinematography and production design. Another thing that makes the film have a great atmosphere is the music, thanks to great cutting edge tracks from Wilco, the Shins, the Flaming Lips, Motorhead, and a hilarious remake of Twisted Sister’s I Want To Rock with a bit of David Lee Roth’s cover of Just A Gigolo in the mix. Yeah, the theme song version by Avril Lavigne sucks but thankfully, it wasn’t heard in the film as pirates in the live action sequences did a hilarious version of it.

Credit should also go to the film’s cast for their voices and characters. Alec Baldwin really gives a nice tone to the performance of Dennis while Jeffrey Tambor is extremely funny in his role as King Neptune. Scarlett Johansson is wonderfully amazing and funny in her voice of Mindy (who sort of looks like Johansson’s Ghost World co-star Thora Birch’s Enid), who provides a voice of reason for Neptune while helping out SpongeBob in his quest to find the crown. Clancy Brown is also funny in the role of the money-grubbing Mr. Krabs while Roger Bumpass is very funny as well as the cynical Squidward. Mr. Lawrence is diabolical as Plankton while Bill Fagerbakke is always funny in the idiotic Patrick, who is the perfect sidekick to every epic film. Tom Kenny is the real star with his voice work as SpongeBob with his nasally-vocals and that awesome laugh. The film’s best performance overall goes to David Hasselhoff who makes fun of himself in his Baywatch persona where in the third act, he steals the show as Hasselhoff proves that he’s cool again despite those bad albums he’s made.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is an excellent film from Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon. The film isn't just a faithful feature-length version of the SpongeBob SquarePants story but also a film that manages to be weird enough that appeals to kids and adults. Especially as it toes the line of what is offbeat and what is crude. In the end, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is an awesome film from Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon.

© thevoid99 2014


Dell said...

Love this movie. Actually, I just love SpongeBob in general. Great review.

thevoid99 said...

Thank you. I enjoyed the hell out of that movie. I saw it in the theaters when it came out as it was this mix of kids, adults, and stoners in that audience and I rocked with stoners during that "Gooby-Goober" song.

Dell said...

Wow. That sounds like an amazing experience.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-It totally was. There was some headbanging and air guitars while the parents and kids were like... "what the hell is going on?"