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The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (2004)

| November 19, 2004 | 0 Comments

I promise this is true. In the last 72 hours I have been witness to ‘Bewitched’, ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie’. What is bizarre is that I found the Spongebob movie to be 10 times more entertaining then the other two. Either that says something about the sad state of American movies or I need to change my viewing habits.

Unlike those other two movies, I can say that I entered ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie’ pretty much knowing what I was getting. I have seen two or three episodes of the show on Nickelodeon but Spongebob has never really occupied the central focus of my day. It mostly passes my peripheral vision while I am passing through Walmart. What I saw on television was colorful and fun and goofy and perfectly suited for a five year-old. However, I must admit that the three episodes that I saw on television were enough to let me know that this series a fun little dessert but I don’t want to make it a full meal. The movie is slightly better than what I saw on television. At 90 minutes, it is about the length of three episodes and that is about all that you really need.

From what I understand of this enterprise, Spongebob Squarepants lives under the sea at a place called Bikini Bottom. He is a happy-go-lucky little fellow who lives in a pineapple-shaped house with his pet snail, Gary. The opening scenes made me smile, as Spongebob performs his morning ritual by taking a shower, which includes eating a bar of soap, then attaching a hose nozzle to the top of his head. His little Sponge body fills with soap and water, which then gushes out in all directions. His dressing simply includes folding a box into a square and slipping it on. What I did not understand was his dental ritual: He puts toothpaste on his toothbrush then brushes . . . his eyes?? Someone get me a six year old, I need that last one explained! Spongebob (voice of Tom Kenny) works as a fry cook at Krusty Krab 2 where Mr. Krab is about to announce which of his employees is getting promoted to manager. Spongebob doesn’t know whether he is getting the promotion but assumes that it will be him. When he is passed over for the promotion because “your just a kid”, he goes into a deep depression, gorging himself on ice cream at a place called Goofy Goobers. This is a place kind of like Chuck E. Cheese and has its own theme song and, dear reader, if they sing that song once, they sing it a hundred times before the movie is over.

Meanwhile in another part of Bikini Bottom, the minuscule Mr. Plankton (voice of someone called Mr. Lawrence) is plotting take over the world. He opens his own restaurant The Chum Bucket, which isn’t doing so well thanks to The Krusty Crab 2 and he figures that in order to make his business successful, he needs to shut down Krusty Crab 2 and steal the formula for their #1 specialty, The Crabby Patty. He does this by stealing the crown of King Neptune and pinning the crime on Mr. Krab. With Krab out of the way, he can use his mind control device, stored inside Chum Bucket hats (available at participating restaurants), to force everyone to do his bidding.

In order to stop Mr. Krab (voice of Clancy Brown) from being executed for the crime, Spongebob and his starfish pal Patrick (voice of Bill Fagerbakke) have to venture into the dark and mysterious Shell City to retrieve it. More of the adventure I will leave for you to discover.

There really isn’t room for analysis here. ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie’ isn’t to be studied, it only to be admired for its creativity, its bright and colorful world and it bevy of goofball characters. What surprised me is that as popular as this movie it, it doesn’t pander to kids. The world inside this movie has a bizarre twisted sense of humor, its own humor. In an age when so many animated films depend on references to movies and television and other pop culture, here is at least one animated adventure that has none of that.

I was also pleased to see an animated movie that is silly without being gross. There are no bodily fluid jokes, no sexual innuendo, nothing objectionable. I love the writing in this film because the writers are so sure of the characters and of their world that they are confident that we will follow it anywhere. This is a delightfully goody underwater adventure that makes room for a biker bar, a cyclops, a pirate siege, and a climactic battle waged on the back of David Hasselhoff. You heard me.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2004) View IMDB Filed in: Animated, Comedy, Kids