SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, The

Reviewed By Chris Wilson
Posted 04/25/05 14:52:04

"Like Ringo Starr, Iíd like to be / under the seaÖ"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Are you ready, kids? If you havenít seen it yet, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie is a zany little gem. Iíd only caught a couple episodes of SpongeBob Squarepants before seeing the feature film. Maybe this makes me un-American or just plain old sad, but nevertheless I can definitely say this is one of the most entertainingly dumb movies Iíve ever seen. And just so weíre clear, this isnít just a kidís movie. Thereís plenty of humor thatís intended for adults. Trust me.

The film version plays much like a typical episode of the show. The scheming Plankton tries to steal the recipe for Krabby Patties and itís up to SpongeBob to bail out his boss, Mr. Crabs. SpongeBob is joined by his starfish pal Patrick and together they have to travel somewhere and retrieve something for someone. It doesnít especially matter.

This may sound outrageous, but the story tended to get in the way of the fun. The best parts of the movie were the nonsensical bits of hilarity. SpongeBob riding David Hasselhoff like a dolphin steed, for example. Not all the gags worked, but even the ones that failed never seemed forced.

This isnít to say that the movie is free of any flaws. I saw a little too much of Finding Nemo in SpongeBob. In fact, several scenes seemed carbon copied. Also the theme of believing in yourself and never giving up was done more effectively in Finding Nemo. With SpongeBob, it seemed more of an afterthought.

Besides, even if SpongeBob and Patrick believe in themselves, itís usually for the wrong reasons. They still end up needing to get bailed out of trouble by a mermaid princess (weakly voiced by Scarlett Johansson) and David Hasselhoff (hooray for Hasselhoff!) and some other third thing (watch the movie and youíll understand).

In fact, there were only two times when the duo got themselves out of an otherwise doomed situation through their own abilities. To me, this meant there was too much reliance on outrageous plot devices to get the characters through (look up Deus Ex Machina). That would be fine if the plot devices were zany and nonsensical like the rest of the movie but they were pretty typical and only existed because the writers wrote themselves into a corner.

Enough about plot. Even more recommended than The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie is the soundtrack to the film. With killer music from The Flaming Lips, The Shins, Wilco and Ween, plus some crazy songs by SpongeBob and friends, this soundtrack is full of some high quality harmony and hilarity. Yes, Avril Lavigne does a version of the theme song but it actually works. The only track that completely doesnít fit is a Motorhead tune (yes, Motorhead) that was featured in the film. But hey, itís kind of funny thinking about Motorhead being on a cartoon movie soundtrack. By the way, The Flaming Lips track alone is worth the price of the disc. Any song titled ďSpongeBob and Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of EnergyĒ should be immediately nominated for an Oscar. What was the academy thinking?

Despite its plot shortcomings, the humor and music alone deserve a recommendation of this movie to anyone with a wacky sense of humor.

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