Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

The Flower had planned an evening with The Barbarienne where they sat and watched Spirited Away while eating Chinese food (there's a lot of eating of Chinese-looking food in Spirited Away) but ended up making last minute changes, so I took the Barb out for a consolation movie (with popcorn).

It's been about 16 years since "Spongebob" first premiered which means a few parents out there could be taking their kids to see something they enjoyed as children. It's been about ten years since the first movie came out and years since there was a new episode, so you can't really accuse anyone of milking the franchise, either.

That said, it's not great. It's not bad. It doesn't quite rise to the level of good, nowhere near the best of the series nor does it reach the committed lunacy of the first movie, having only Antonio Banderas instead of David Hasselhoff as its big name star. On the other hand, the first movie had Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor and Alec Baldwin as voices, whereas this movie's almost a "Who's Who" of voice actors, so point for the newer one, there.

The plot, heh, is that during a near successful attempt to steal the Krabby Patty formuler, while Plankton and Spongebob fight over control of the bottle containing the recipe, it vanishes. Without the recipe, no more Krabby Patty's can be made, and Bikini Bottom slips instantly into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Instantly.

"Welcome to the apocalypse, Mr. Squidward. I hope you like leather."

There are quite a few moments like this, where the sheer absurdity of the situation is both given free reign and still clever enough to get a laugh. There are long stretches of absences of such moments, as well.

There's a thing that animators do with their successful characters: They put them into other situations. I used to really enjoy that. Chuck Jones did, for example, Nude Duck Descending A Staircase, which I might like better than the original. Of course, "The Simpsons" made a practice out of it, and that was cute for a while.

Now they all do it. No matter how minor the character, it can be mashed into something better for, I guess, a laugh.

Here, one of the (ultimately irrelevant) plotlines has Spongebob and Plankton time-travelling through a whole bunch of groovy psychedelic imagery. I don't know: For me, the moment where seeing Mr. Squarepants in a variety of different palettes and styles was amusing has long past—if it ever was a thing. (I think the artistic style of the show is adequate, but not particularly striking.)

Does any of this matter? No, it does not. I may feel like the concept and creators long ago ran out of steam, but The Barb cares not. She loved it. At one point she did say "That movie ruined my childhood," which is an odd thing for a nine-year-old to say. And I think she was just repeating what she hears on the Internet since she couldn't provide any more details and (as I said) loved it.

So, some chuckles. Not horrible. A little like an extended version of a later episode of the show. Oh, the third act, the characters are CGI, and that's mostly well done.

The Barb says "Check it out".

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