February 15, 2015

Movie Review: The Spongebob Movie - Sponge Out of Water

Let me say, right up front, that my exposure to the Spongebob Squarepants phenomenon is limited to the two movies (and I really do not remember much of the first) and a few clips here and there. I have never seen a full episode of the show. Something tells me that I would probably get a kick out of it if I were to watch it. With that said, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was pretty brilliant. Seriously, this movie is a genius piece of demented stream of consciousness. It has the great lesson of teamwork towards a positive conclusion, but is just crazy enough to entertain all age groups and never feels like it is preaching. Of course, it may induce some ADHD-like symptoms, but I found they wore off quickly enough.

The entertainment value and overall quality approaches The LEGO Movie levels for me. It is not quite there, but it is close. Much like the LEGO movie, this had the danger of just becoming a 90-minute toy commercial, or even just a commercial for the ongoing cartoon series. Fortunately, it does not feel like that. Instead, what we get is the unleashing of imagination, unfettered creativity that is free to run amuck to its heart's desire. It shows there can be imagination, creativity, and quality in family entertainment. It has endearing characters, moments, and message. It just flat out entertains.

The plot is a simple one. The evil Plankton wants to get his hands on the secret formula for the Krabby Patty. To that end, he launches an all out assault on the Krusty Krab. In the stuggle, the formula disappears, plunging the town of Bikini Bottom into a Mad Max-esque post-apocalyptic landscape. The only ones who can reverse this is Spongebob and the evil Plankton, they are forced to team up to find the lost formula before the town reaches a point of no return.

Of course, it is not quite as straightforward as that. There is an evil pirate, Burger-Beard (Antonio Banderas) who has gotten his hands on a story book and is rewriting the ending of Spongebob's tale. Not to mention, he has gotten his hands on the formula and is using it on the surface. Can Spongebob find away to get the formula back and put everything back the way it is supposed to be? Stupid question.

While the story itself is pretty straightforward, what makes this so good is the seeming random inclusion of elements and references. There is the obvious Mad Max connection, more accurate would be a Road Warrior connection, there is even a guy that seems to be directly inspired by Toecutter. There is a reference to The Shining. There are multiple references to Marvel Comics. Above all of them, beside all the references, the crazy non-sequiter comedy, and all else is the time travel element.

Yes, Sponge Out of Water has an integral time travel element. Of course, it does not get into the science of it, what do you think this is? Primer? However, what it does do is create a pretty cleverly executed causation loop. When you see it, you will understand. Add that to the idea that it is constantly in a state of flux as Burger-Beard rewrites it on the fly. It is seriously fascinating to watch how it all plays out.

What else is there to say? I loved this movie a lt more than I was expecting to. I was not expecting much, what I got was the exact opposite. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water proved itself to be a very worthy cinematic experience. Its 3D was executed well, it was fast paced, it was funny, and left me feeling happy. There is nothing wrong with that. In the end, do not be afraid of the Sponge.

Highly Recommended.

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