THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (Paul Tibbitt). 93 minutes. Rating: NNN
Where to watch: Netflix, iTunes
Even the derivative market-dictated packaging of his latest movie can’t dry up SpongeBob‘s charms.
In his second big-screen outing, Sponge Out of Water, Nickelodeon’s daft deep-sea burger flipper in square pants can be seen (as the title promises) on the shore in CG and 3D, playing superhero in a live-action environment opposite a mugging Antonio Banderas as a villainous pirate.
Thankfully, these unimaginative enhancements are limited to the final act and are even credited to a separate director. The bulk of Sponge Out of Water stays submerged, hand-drawn and Banderas-free, still delivering the coy wit, surrealism and absurdity that come hand-in-hand with SpongeBob’s frivolous, childish whimsy.
The typically loosey-goosey plot involves SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) teaming up with his nemesis, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), on a time-travelling adventure to retrieve the vanished secret recipe for the Krabby Patty, a burger that keeps their underwater town, Bikini Bottom, sane. The disappearance makes everyone go Mad Max.
In addition to the George Miller classic, the movie also throws in comic references to Sergio Leone and (in a particularly psychedelic sequence) Stanley Kubrick. These gags are clearly aimed at older audiences, and maybe even stoners, but the genius of SpongeBob is that those same bits still amuse children. SpongeBob ostracizes no one until that uncharacteristic last act.