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Film Review: The SpongeBob Movie - Sponge on the Run

11 November 20 words: Hollie Anderson

Silly seawater escapades arrive on Netflix…but does this sponge scrub up?

Director: Tim Hill
Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown
Running time: 91 minutes

Total disclaimer before writing this review: I think SpongeBob SquarePants is great. It first aired when I was seven years old, and my younger brother was four. We loved the silly, random, idiotic nature of the whole thing – and you need to cling onto that if you’re going to watch the SpongeBob films, because nothing matters or makes sense…so, pretty much every flaw can be forgiven. 

Not into silliness with very little point? Look away now, your loss… 

The new SpongeBob film has been released straight to Netflix (thank you coronavirus), and it has been a sixteen-year wait since the first movie hit the big screens. In this particular journey, SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick Star(fish) travel to the Lost City of Atlantic City to get SpongeBob’s kidnapped pet snail Gary back from King Poseidon (who needs Gary to create slimey anti-ageing cream). It’s all part of Plankton’s evil plot to steal Mr Krabs’ secret patty recipe, but this time he’s aided by a robot invented by Sandy Cheeks – the underwater squirrel scientist. 

Are you still with me?

As daft and fun as you’d expect, with nods to all the regular in-jokes

It’s as daft and fun as you’d expect, with nods to all the regular in-jokes that have been built up through Nickelodeon’s cartoon series. It also features a variety of original songs and some cute glimpses back to when young SpongeBob, Sandy, Gary, Mr Krabs and Squidward all first met at summer camp. Matt Berry is the perfect voice for the vain King Poseidon, too. 

The only major problem I had with it was a strange scene in a wild west vampire zombie pirate saloon half way through (yep - you read that right). It has no real need to be there and even for kids it will seem random. However – it gives way to cameos from Keanu Reeves, Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo. So, let’s embrace that regardless. 

Is it as good as the first SpongeBob film or the cartoon series? Frankly, no. It isn’t as funny and the songs aren’t as good, and some of the daft energy has been lost (I, personally, think Patrick Star was severely underused). But I can still see the value in watching it – even as a fully-fledged grown up. And if you need to kill nearly two hours with your family during lockdown? It’ll do that, for sure!

Did you know? A spin-off television series of the film has been announced that will expand on the summer camp flashback scenes, titled Kamp Koral, and is set to premiere in early 2021.

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