Movie Review: "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water"

Holy shit. I mean, HOLY SHIT! Has it truly been SIXTEEN years since Spongebob first aired on television? I remember it like it was yesterday. Still being a young sea anemone at the time, I was instantly taken in by the shows off-the-wall concept and humor. As I grew older the show stuck with me and became something very dear to me. It actually became funnier as my tastes and sense of humor developed. I dare say it's one of my favorite shows of all time.

Well, the first 3 seasons that is. After the first Spongebob movie the series went downhill at a rapid pace. The humor changed from the off-beat and odd to just being loud and gross. The characters personalities became more crass and one-note (the voice acting even changed; Spongebob was for some ungodly reason more high-pitched and squeaky) and overall the show simply lost its heart.

I struggled through various episodes post season 3 to find some diamonds in the rough. Season 4 and 5 are the only ones that still offer sparks of the old Spongebob magic, but it's few and far between.

when I first saw the trailer for Sponge Out of Water I cringed. It's looked godawful. It looked gimmicky and forced and I just hung my head in shame at how hard Nickelodeon has ridden this property into the ground.

Ha! Listen to me! A grown man bitching about the once great heights a children's show about a talking sponge who lives in a pineapple used to be! Who cares if kids still enjoy it!? Well,  I don't enjoy it and that's all that matters!

*clears throat*

Okay...where was I? Oh, well the new movie looked ass and I was sad. Then something amazing started to happen. People saw the movie. And said it was good. They said it had that old Spongebob charm! Could it be? Was this true? There's only one way to find out. So with heavy heart and sandy buns I bought a ticket to Sponge Out of Water and for one hour and one half I felt like I was visiting dear friends I hadn't seen in ages.

This new film plays out like a greatest hits compilation. We've seen these plot points before. They even reference jokes and gags from beloved episodes. But this referential decision isn't lazy or tired. It's actually done with love and affection. Two of the show's original creators and producers came back to work on this film, and they injected as much old school Spongebob charm as humanly possible.

Make no mistake; this is about as bonkers as this world has ever been. The random humor is turned up to 11 and the visual and verbal gags assault you front, back and side to side for almost the entire runtime. It's refreshingly subversive for an animated film. It's an acid trip for the whole family!

The film's first two acts are dominated by good 'ol 2D animation. Thank Neptune for that! The animation is crisp, vibrant, energetic and even pretty. The CGI and live action doesn't come along until the 3rd act, and it is slightly weaker than the previous two. The film just starts to wear out its welcome at this point, but just when you feel a tad antsy for everything to wrap up, they wrap it up. The CGI animation is actually very good. Seeing these characters rendered in the third dimension was shockingly cute and the action is creative and exciting to watch.

In a way, Sponge Out of Water reminds me of The Simpsons Movie. Both shows, in the eyes of many fans, had lost their way years ago and fans didn't have high hopes in the beginning for what the films would deliver. But low and behold, the creators brought out their biggest guns and dropped a jewel among the coal for the wayward fans to gawk at and savor.

8/10. Sponge Out of Water slapped a massively stupid grin on my face. It made me happy. The humor mixes funny dialogue, visual gags and left field insanity to coalesce into nearly sublime animated experience. The show, in its heyday, did this consistently and brilliantly. The movie embraces frivolity on a grand scale but remembers why people fell in love with this freakin' thing years ago.
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