Thoroughly entertaining & beautifully animated with authentic atmosphere to the original cartoon and vibrant adventure laced with humour, charm, quirks, self-love, & imagination, SSM’s Saturday-morning fare_on_epic_blockbuster_scale._8.7/10.
Plot Synopsis: In this lively animated adventure, undersea oddball SpongeBob SquarePants and his starfish friend, Patrick, embark on a quest to clear the name of Mr. Krabs, the owner of the Krusty Krab restaurant, who has been framed for stealing the crown of ocean deity King Neptune. Leaving the familiar confines of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob and Patrick venture out towards Shell City, where they hope to find Neptune’s crown, but numerous obstacles stand (or float) in their way.
*Posible Spoilers Ahead*
Spongebob On The Big Screen?
Can This Nautical Series Of Humour And Marine Biology Make The Leap From Saturday-Morning TV To The Big Screen?
Spongebob Squarepants.This nautical undersea canvas of marine love by a man set on making the sea cool & accessible to millions, limitless imagination, characters infused with side-splitting commentary & personality, complex adult themes nuanced under its child-friendly exterior, and burger-flipping in the ever-famous Krusty Krab became one of Nickelodeon’s (and Saturday Morning’s) biggest hit cartoons ever. The mega-franchising of supersize proportions the merry band of Seven Deadly Sins-themed aqua-creatures has received in past years naturally culminates in this – a big-screen attempt to etch the series in one more place it hasn’t already made itself declaratorily known already: the movies. Can SSM avoid the pit-falls and traps laced along the journey to reach cinematic glory for a TV series trying to make the big leap – or will it fall victim amongst the graveyard of corpses of almost-series that never quite made that exponential cut? I’m happy to say it’s the first – a fantastic family adventure that is nautical fun by any blockbuster metric, but fans of the original series will go nuts for. Thoroughly entertaining & beautifully animated with authentic atmosphere to the cartoon alongside a (surprisingly)-crisp adventurous script laced with humour and imagination, SSM is Saturday-morning fare on an epic blockbuster scale as one of the shining examples of the concept done right.
Creator/Director Stephen Hillenburg and his team deserves massive praise for making that proverbial leap so skillfully and cinematically – thanks in large part to a spectacular script and adventure lacked with humour, charm, quirks, self-love themes, & boundless imaginaion. We begin in a canvas that feels downright-Bikini Bottom in every possible way, but are taken on a wowing adventure through marine trenches, skeleton-filled wastelands, badlands’ tough guy clubs, burger-flipping joints, sci-fi mind control sequences, empires built on the labor of minions, seaweed moustache-totems, evil schemes, heartbreaking lamp-filtered death sequences, and forbidden cities that spans the full gamut of backdrops and settings for an all-encompassing adventure. The exterior and sensory adventure is paralleled by a thematic and character developmental one too, in which our favorite Sponge is taken on a personal-growth arc wherein he finally learns that he doesn’t need to change who he is to please anyone else.
The Brilliant (Expensive-Felling) Animation & Soundtrack
All this adventure is brought to life by crisp, visually-arresting, vibrant, high-budget animation stylism that’s the show on steroids. The textures, color array, diversity in surroundings, and even finale combining Animation and 3D in one of the smoothest and most impressive displays I can remember doing so makes for a brilliant visualscape. This is only bolstered by an equally-fantastic soundtrack balacing everything from trumpet thriller sequences to wompy hangover ones to twangy surfer-authentic alt-indie rock classically-characteristic of the show to syblline clarinet themes for Squidward to body-drums to poignant flute and string orchestral ones in theh emotional parts to sci-fi techno in the Planktopolis horror ones to that unforgettable mind-melting, guitar-shredding pure rock-and-roll fantasy ending that will leave any junkie in ecstasy leaving the theater.
The Cartoon-Authentic Feel Through-And-Through – Soundtrack, Humour, Subtext, & Fan-Service
The movie feels like an epic continuation of the show that doesn’t lose the series’ original charm or stylism in the pursuit of big dreams and goals. The original voice actors are maintained with the addition of some A-list new ones like Scarlett Johanson, wry witty humour continued with each of its major characters getting hilarious gags and one-liners – Patrick as usual being the MVP, quirks and wild-idiosyncrasy still there like genre jumping, some dark themes and sequences (as I’ll adress next), witty humour and pop culture references like the Batmobile/PattyWagon, fandoms, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in Chum-Mind Control, marine biologyand evolution in its trench and (nightmarish) grandma sequence playing off Venus Fly Trap-like predatory trick designs, and major quirks/idiosyncrasy like the infamous rock ending, A+-CAMEO in David Hasselhoff, and brilliant opening live-action fakeout by tough pirates who turn out to be goofball Spongebob fans seeking treasure of innocent movie tickets to the premiere. There’s even a dark ending whherein our heroes are literally taken to a graveyard where corpses of fish are put on display and sold as commodities decorated up like victims of a Michael Myers/slasher movie, social-commentary on the Planktopolis built like the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt on the backs of forced slave labor, bounty hunters given hit jobs, ice cream used as a sneaky euphemism to booze they get hungover on, and sci-fi/horror apocalyptica in the Chum-Mind Control that mimic the cartoon’s best selling point in giving as much for adults to do analyzing the hidden meanings and subtexts on adult themes kids won’t recognize as their kin at the premiere.
Admittedly, the movie is a little goofier (and goobier) than the original series. Pf course this will be only adored more and appreciated by kids as the main target demographic and audience Nickelodeon was obviously going for here, but makes it slightly less fresh, innovative, and highbrow as the original cartoon series. The Goofy Goober Song will literally make anyone over age 5 (especially most critics) cringe as the most childish moment the series has ever seen – but these are small gripes and forgivable overlooks in the overall canvas.
Any Spongebob Fan’s Dream Cinematic Experience – & One That Will Charm & Entertain Newcomers As Well
Overall, SSTM is any Spongebob fan’s dream cinematic experience – as well as one of the few, if only, franchises to ever successfully make the evolutionary leap from TV to Film. Hillenburg were able to do this by throughly understanding what they have here in product, characters, themes, etc. and concocting a wowing adventure script that plays up these points in a masterful array of cartoon blockbusters I hope more classic Nick and Cartoon Network franchises will follow-suit on. Thoroughly entertaining & beautifully animated with authentic atmosphere to the cartoon alongside a (surprisingly)-crisp adventurous script laced with humour and imagination, SSM is Saturday-morning fare on an epic blockbuster scale as one of the shining examples of the concept done right.
Official CLC Score: 8.7/10