“SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water” is the hit movie I almost never saw. Even though I know how great the TV show, “SpongeBob SquarePants,” is, I never got around to seeing this second movie in regular theaters. But, I went to the discount theater yesterday, looked for a movie that was starting soon, and saw that SpongeBob’s second movie was just about to begin. So, I bought my ticket and took a seat just as the film was starting up. I was happily surprised with it right from the beginning.
First off, I was not expecting the film to open with Antonio Banderas playing the pirate captain Burger Beard in a live action setting. Because SpongeBob is a cartoon, I expected the movie to open with animation and then go into live action later on, with the animated characters put into CGI at that point. Starting off with live action right from the beginning helps frame the movie well. It establishes for the audience that this is both a live action film and a cartoon. Live action isn’t just a trick that is brought in later on; it’s a very real part of the story throughout the movie.
I didn’t immediately register the second happy surprise until I thought about it hard during the movie. I was wondering why the animation in the film seemed to grab me. There was something about it that I found charming. And then I realized what was giving me the warm fuzzies: the film is mostly in traditional animation. Studios are obsessed with computer animation and can’t seem to wrap their heads around the charm of good old 2D. Seeing a traditional cartoon on screen was good for my soul. 2D relies more on the gags and dialogue than on CGI.
The post-apocalyptic world was unexpected for a kids’ show, but it was still pretty darn funny. The post-apocalyptic Bikini Bottom inhabitants reminded me of the characters from “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Squidward has a mohawk, Mr. Krabs is wearing a leather BDSM outfit, all of the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom are living in anarchy–armed with pitchforks and other weapons.
Another part spoofs “A Beautiful Mind,” where Russel Crowe’s character, John Nash, has the delusional belief that he is seeing secret messages in newspaper and magazine clippings, plasters the clippings to his office walls, and draws connections between them. Sandy does something similar in “SpongeBob.” She is a delusional, paranoid prophet for the non-existent “Burger Gods.” She warns the other characters about the end times, plasters her Treedome with clippings, draws connections between them, and tries to figure out how they all relate to one giant page that landed on her dome with the words “The End” on it.
There is a reason this cartoon is so popular with both adults and kids. There are plenty of laughs for both age groups and for different reasons. I highly recommend “SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water.” It’s hilarious and I could hear plenty of adults and kids laughing together in the theater. People started clapping at the end. From start to finish, this movie delivers a lot of fun.