It's absolutely crazy how Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants has been on TV since 1999, and it's still as popular as ever in 2015. Having a fan base composed of both young children and grown-ups, this series is a big deal. The silly TV show is now getting a sequel to the first motion picture, which was released back in 2004. Having been well-received, it should come as no surprise that the sponge will be once again returning to the silver screen. The only question is, why did it take so long? Regardless of the reason, this animated and live-action mash-up is here, and ready to provide fans with another dose of the sponge and the universe that has been held dear to many fans for years.
Another day in Bikini Bottom, another day that Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) spends trying to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula from the extraordinarily greedy Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown). After it suddenly disappears, SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) is forced to create an alliance with the most unlikely of characters and quest into our dimension in order to retrieve it before everything in Bikini Bottom is destroyed with the onset of the apocalypse.
The introductory sequence of Plankton's attack on the Krusty Krab successfully captures the playful tone that screenwriters Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel are going for. There's an undeniable charm that comes out of the abundance of food puns as SpongeBob and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) engage in combat using condiments as ammunition. The Krabby Patty recipe has been threatened since the inception of the TV series, but what would happen if the one copy disappeared? The film takes a hilarious turn when it suddenly disappears, and only SpongeBob and Plankton are unaffected by this post-apocalyptic frenzy. This is a brilliant direction, as it quickly becomes a satire of nearly every post-apocalyptic film that you can think of. This is where a lot of the humor for adults comes into play. This leaves the two unlikely allies to join forces if they hope to make Bikini Bottom return to how it was by retrieving the secret formula. This puts them on a journey that has them traveling in time and space, which ultimately ends in a larger team venturing to the surface.
If this was broken up into a few parts in the TV series, it would likely be called "The Adventures of SpongeBob and Plankton." Since the two have very different personalities, it allows for a lot of great interactions that are guaranteed to have audiences engaged. However, some of the most popular characters from the show have an extremely limited amount of screen time, and their absence is noticeable, although the writing manages to carry it along without them. The jokes are consistently funny, as it offers a fairly wide array of them. Some are running jokes from the show, while others are brand new. Some are for children, while others will go right over their heads and directly to the parents. It's clear that a lot of thought went into the comedic timing and the overall flow, and it shows. When we're in Bikini Bottom, the film continues to make one strong choice after another. Unfortunately, the entire feature isn't as smart as the post-apocalyptic material.
This wouldn't be the first time that the SpongeBob SquarePants universe has crossed paths with our live-action one. This time it follows Burger-Beard (Antonio Banderas), who is a pirate with the mission of retrieving a legendary book. While he's entertaining enough by himself, it doesn't work quite as well when the universes come into the same space. This is where the film's action elements come to the surface, as it jumps in on the superhero craze that has been created by the likes of Marvel and DC. It's fitting for the time that we're currently in, but it simply isn't as effective as the content found in the first half of the feature. Regardless, this remains to be an undeniably enjoyable sequel. It's literally out of this world, as the stakes have become rather high. Bikini Bottom's fate is now in a sponge's hands, and now he's visiting our world to do it.
Director Paul Tibbitt has once again brought Bikini Bottom to the big screen with success. When underwater, the animation brings the charms of the original cartoon to the silver screen, while delivering a high definition look to it that makes it pop. The color palette continues to change over the duration of the film, as it can be vibrant and colorful one moment, and gritty in the next. Once the heroes reach the surface, the characters are brought to us with the use of CG. However, the details of the designs remain intact, except they manage to blend in a lot better with the live-action elements around them. The 3D is constantly utilized. Whether it's for the depth of the environments or objects flying around during the action scenes, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water makes great use of the 3D format. When it comes to the visuals, Tibbitt hit the nail right on the head.
While you don't need to have seen the TV series in order to enjoy this film, you'll certainly get a lot more out of the experience if you've seen at least some of the original episodes. Regardless, this is a sequel that proves to be absorbingly unique and funny. With its use of interesting themes and successful humor, this is an animated picture that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. There's an abundance of humor present for both age groups. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a silly and spongy delight for the whole family. Recommended.