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SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, The
Whether I like it or not, having kids allows me to get exposed to other material I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and I'm aware of Spongebob Squarepants (the sponge who lives under the sea and is on Nickolodeon) and I know who the voice is for same, and it looks like it throws itself headlong into fun, silliness and Krabby Patties. And I figure Spongebob was going to be an allure for my kid, so may as well check out Sponge on the Run, whose fate was in limbo a bit during the pandemic lockdowns, when it was going to be released theatrically, then it was eventually moved to Paramount Plus, their streaming option, because everyone has one of those at the moment.
Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks) co-wrote the screenplay and directed it. The eponymous Spongebob (Tom Kenny, Mr. Show) sets out to find Gary, his pet snail, who was snatched by Poseidon (Matt Berry, Snow White and the Huntsman), who needs slime in order to survive. Spongebob and his friend Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke, Jennifer's Body) set out to find Gary and bring him back, in what I'm discovering is a radically oversimplified synopsis.
There are a few familiar voices for grown-ups, voices that probably did it because they have kids and they want to bank on positive parental karma I guess? Tiffany Hadish plays a comedienne at Poseidon's club, and the big guest star is Sage, voiced and appeared by Keanu Reeves (John Wick), and if you haven't seen the trailer, he's featured prominently in it, so there's no spoilering to speak of. Sage is a sagebrush, whose name is Sage, so "it kind of works out," but more than that, Sage serves to keep the story going from late in the first act into the third, novel and cute and hardly anything that dominates the screen. The focus is on Spongebob and Patrick, and Kenny and Fagerbakke throw their weight into the characters accordingly.
From a higher level, Sponge on the Run serves as a congratulatory lap around the track for the characters and those who voice them, with significant contributions by Clancy Brown (you know, the guy from Shawshank Redemption), who plays Mr. Krabs, Rodger Bumpass returns to play Squidward, and the main characters all get their fair share of screen time and play it accordingly. It's an extended Spongebob episode, or what I would expect one to be anyway, my kid hasn't really gotten into Spongebob but he dug this.
If Sponge on the Run is an extension of the Spongebob show (and I have no reason to expect it's not), then it serves the mythology of the character well, with 90 minutes of laughs, snail meows, singing, dancing and laughing. It doesn't overstay its welcome and does everything you'd expect a feature-length big screen version of a television show to do, and that was fine by both my kid and myself.The Blu-ray:
Sponge on the Run is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and is leaps and bounds the most vibrant thing I've watched in many moons. It's one thing for an animated release to look sharp on Blu-ray, Sponge on the Run includes loads of deep blues and greens, takes advantage of inky black levels and practically shot stuff (read: that Keanu appearance) possess natural flesh tones without saturation. I have watched this a couple of times now and continue to be impressed by it.The Sound:
Paramount's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track is solid, with the shows in front of Poseidon sounding natural and immersive as does the environmental stuff underneath the sea. The film has a bunch of songs in it, some made specifically for it, and they are clear and show off the soundstage nicely. Directional effects and channel panning are present and effective and dialogue is well-balanced and consistent, just what you'd want for a recent release.Extras:
Some pretty quick things here; "I'm Urchin You to Leave" (4:50) is a mini-movie with the main characters and a urchin that loves their snacks. "Campfire Songs" are the music of the film in video form, four songs, 10:43. "Campfire Stories" include two deleted sequences in storyboard form (4:19). "Camp Coral Buddies" are two segments (7:29) that get into the making of the film and a more character driven piece is the second one. "Camp Arts and Crafts " are three segments (17:28) that show you how to draw the characters, and "Wonders of the Patty Mobile" (2:06) looks at the evolution of the magical car.Final Thoughts:
Sponge on the Run is a pleasant little romp that features the sponge and starfish that loads of kids enjoy, and gives them more of the same. Technically, the disc looks really great, and the extras are a little light, but include a mix of entertainment and education to them (there is also a standard definition disc but really the Blu is the way to go). Put it on and let them sit your kids for an hour and a half.