THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE (Stephen Hillenburg, 2004)
Life in tranquil Bikini Bottom will never be the same unless a sponge and a starfish can come to the rescue in THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE. The popular Nickelodeon cartoon features the squeaky-voiced fry cook SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick Star. In their first film SpongeBob and Patrick are called upon to find and return King Neptune’s crown so they can save SpongeBob’s boss Mr. Krabs. The stolen crown is part of Sheldon J. Plankton’s scheme to ruin Mr. Krabs’ business and become an undersea overlord.
At 90 minutes THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE can be a little much to endure, and it isn’t as clever as the filmmakers think. Still, SpongeBob’s resilient, Pollyana-like nature is hard to resist. The film possesses a generous spirit and successfully uses a go-for-broke strategy in telling jokes. A live action scene in a souvenir shop, SpongeBob and Patrick’s visit to a biker bar, and the songs are among the film’s best moments. These scenes showcase the writers’ strength in supreme silliness. At times THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE’S unconventional nature can seem too carefully calibrated, as if it’s trying too hard to be hip and goofy. The cartoon is so hyperactive that it is probably best suited for watching as a television series than ingesting it all at once as a feature film.
(Review first aired on the November 23, 2004 NOW PLAYING)