Eleven years ago, The Spongebob SquarePants Movie debuted to a public that was in the throes of Spongebob SquarePants mania. It did really well for itself, and the show continued to air up until this very day. Apparently those basic-cable ratings must be through the roof, as Nickelodeon Movies decided to invest a lot of time, money and star power into a sequel that's arrived pretty late to the party. Those eleven years haven't been kind to Spongebob, or the rest of Bikini Bottom for that matter, as The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water is nothing new or exciting for Spongebob fans. It's even more painful if you're not a fan.
Here’s the plot, in a nutshell: A pirate (Antonio Banderas) has stolen a sacred text that tells the story of the time the Krabby Patty formula was lifted. What makes this time different from others is the fact that Plankton, Mr. Crab's nemesis, didn't even have a chance to steal it and get away with it. With chaos reigning in Bikini Bottom, and the apocalypse nigh and dry, it's up to Spongebob and Plankton to put aside their differences and save the day.
I’ve experienced Spongebob SquarePants quite a bit over the last decade or so, and I have to say I’ve never really been a huge fan of the source material. The humor seemed a little too low brow to be enjoyable, while also a little too obscure in its focus for its own good. Not to mention, the show never knew if it wanted to be closer to or more distanced from its spiritual predecessor, The Ren And Stimpy Show. Yet every now and then, I could find myself pulling some sort of laughs out of random episodes on TV, as the threadbare plots fit the smaller portion size of the show.
The movies, on the other hand, are not as easily “enjoyable” as the show. I endured that first film twice, if only for the benefit of my youngest brother, and The Spongebob SquarePants Movie managed to bungle the opportunity it had to ramp itself into a feature film sized adventure. I thought I hated The Spongebob SquarePants Movie for stretching the concept to an unhealthy extent, but I owe it a long, hard apology, because at least that movie had a coherent plot to follow.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water, from its title down to its plotline, pretends that The Spongebob SquarePants Movie didn't even happen. Does Plankton steal the Krabby Patty formula again? Yes. Do Spongebob and Patrick go back to the surface? Yes. Did they get a B-list celebrity to make a cameo on the surface? Frankie Muniz is “Cop #3.” The only thing this movie really had going for it was the big, earth shattering live action sequence that the film has been marketed on.
That's right... the movie that's been marketed on the back of Spongebob and crew “making waves in our world” only sets its final sequence in the actual human realm. In fact, before that even happens, the only live action sequences that are in the film are with Antonio Banderas' pirate character and a bunch of talking seagulls. It's only towards the end of The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water that the showdown you've been watching in the trailers actually happens. To put it into context, if The Spongebob SquarePants Movie marketed itself solely on the David Hasselhoff portion of the trailer, it would be as empty a promise as the trailers to The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water is a hard movie to watch, even if you're a Spongebob viewer. It's not new or exciting, and it's a movie that commits sins and calls itself out on them in hopes that they'll redeem themselves. If you enjoy movies that lie to you in their titles, and end with an Epic Rap Battle ripoff that has to stop itself because, “it'll make the movie too long”, then The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water delivers on both promises. But if you're not in the mood for a run of the mill episode of Spongebob, extended to the point of exhaustion, then skip this movie.