Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Movie Review: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

After the commercial and critical failure of Rugrats Go Wild, Nickelodeon Movies decided to move on from the Rugrats franchise after a decade of milking it for all its worth and focus on the next big cash cow: SpongeBob SquarePants. Around the early 2000's, SpongeBob SquarePants was the most popular Nicktoon on the air. It was literally everywhere on TV, merchandise, clothing, food, VHS, and DVD releases. SpongeBob was becoming Nickelodeon's mascot. The next big thing to do for SpongeBob was its own feature length film. Written by creator Stephen Hillenberg and the top SpongeBob writers Tim Hill, Derek Drymon, Kent Osbourne, Paul Tibbit, and Aaron Springer, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie debuted on November 19, 2004.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie poster.jpg

Is this movie still as spongy almost a decade later or has it dried out in Shell City? Let's get into the Patty Wagon and venture into The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

The movie begins as SpongeBob dreams about entering the Krusty Krab helping a customer named Phil add cheese into his Krabby Patty. The scene plays it out seriously with the police and citizens being surrounding the restaurant with Mr. Krabs being nervous and sweaty. With SpongeBob succeeding, the crowd cheers and he wakes up excited about the Krusty Krab opening up a new restaurant called the Krusty Krab 2. With that, Mr. Krabs has a big grand opening that'll announce who the new manager will be. SpongeBob, having won employee of the month many times, showing up to work early every day, and working overtime on numerous occasions, he's sure that he'll be the new manager. So excitedly, he gets himself ready and heads over to the grand opening ceremony.

Meanwhile while the ceremony is going on, Plankton views it from The Chum Bucket furiously that his plans from A to Y have never worked and that he has tried everything to steal the Krabby Patty formula. His computer wife Karen wonders about Plan Z. Plankton hadn't thought of it so he searches his file cabinet if there is a Plan Z. He finds it, reads it, and conjures up a new plan. Back to the ceremony, Mr. Krabs makes the announcement on the new manager being Squidward and SpongeBob thought he heard his name. Jumping for joy, he makes to the stage and makes a fool out of himself. Mr. Krabs explains that SpongeBob is too immature to deal with a huge responsibility of being the new manager and SpongeBob leaves the ceremony sad and depressed.

We then cut to King Neptune's palace where Neptune is about to sentence the crown cleaner to death for doing his job, but then his daughter Mindy comes and sets him free. Mindy tells her father to be a bit more kinder to people, but the King tells her that she needs to be assertive to run the entire ocean. The crown then gets stolen by Plankton and the King realizes that it's missing. That night, SpongeBob and Patrick meet up at the Goofy Goober where they were suppose to celebrate SpongeBob being the new manager. But SpongeBob is still crying from the rejection and being called a kid. SpongeBob almost leaves to go home when Patrick orders a sundae from the waiter. SpongeBob decides to stay for a while and they consume multiple sundaes. As time went on, they go through a druken stupor where they act even more stupider than usual and experiencing a bad hangover the next day. SpongeBob then makes his way to work.

King Neptune makes his way to the Krusty Krab 2 where he receives a letter that Mr. Krabs stole the crown and sold it to Shell City. Mr. Krabs tries to prove his innocence, but no one believes him. Squidward doesn't vouch for him and SpongeBob insults him while still in his hangover. But he finally gets out of it when Neptune attempts to attack Krabs with his trident. Mindy comes by and tells her father that he's being too harsh. SpongeBob even offers to go to Shell City to retrieve the crown. Neptune laughs at SpongeBob since Shell City is extremely dangerous and people who have gone there never come back. Mindy convinces her father to give them a chance. Neptune accepts and gives them 10 days to accomplish their goal, but due to Patrick's stupidity, they only have 6 days to do it. King Neptune freezes Mr. Krabs, Mindy assists SpongeBob and Patrick with the magic bag of wind to get them back to Bikini Bottom quickly as soon as they retrieve the crown, and SpongeBob and Patrick then make it to the garage and brings out the Patty Wagon. With that, their journey to Shell City has just begun.

Plankton begins the second phase of Plan Z by stealing the formula with ease, making Krabby Patties at the Chum Bucket, and people begin eating there. Eventually, he figures out about SpongeBob and Patrick heading to Shell City to retrieve the crown so he hires a bounty hunter named Dennis to stop them. Meanwhile, things seem to be going good for SpongeBob and Patrick until they hit the country road seperating Bikini Bottom to Shell City. The moment they cross it, the Patty Wagon is stolen by a biker and SpongeBob and Patrick continue on foot.

Meanwhile, back in Bikini Bottom, Plankton continues his plan and eventually Squidward finds out about it. Plankton reveals to Squidward about taking over Bikini Bottom and making it his own land called Planktopolis. The free helmets that he gave to everyone for every Krabby Patty bought are actually controlling helmets bound to follow Plankton's orders. Everyone on Bikini Bottom is captured, even Squidward. With that said, Plankton has succeeded in his plans and he claims himself victorious.

We then cut back to SpongeBob and Patrick walking and walking getting nowhere near Shell City. Time is running out and they need to come up with a plan. Luckily they found the Patty Wagon parked, but it's at a violent biker bar where people are inside fighting. SpongeBob plans on doing a distraction to get the key located in the biker's pocket, but Patrick decides to do it. With that, Patrick asks to go to the bathroom and SpongeBob follows. SpongeBob and Patrick wash their hands and out came a bunch of bubbles. They have a big bubble party dancing and prancing until one of them comes out to the bar. One of the bikers wonders who blew it and SpongeBob and Patrick pop all of them before they could be discovered. All of the bikers were lined up, including SpongeBob and Patrick, on who blew the bubble by concocting a test. The test is playing the Goofy Goober song and whoever sung it, blew the bubble. SpongeBob and Patrick try their hardest not to sing, but are relieved when a conjoined twin fish sings it instead. They all fight, Patrick grabs the key, and make their way towards Shell City.

While driving there, they then cut into a path filled with skeletons and skulls to get some ice cream. The nice old woman selling the ice cream wasn't an old woman at all, it was a monster who shaped the old woman with its tongue to lure prey. They run off and eventually escape only for the Patty Wagon to be lost in the process. They near a dead end where the only way to the other side is to climb down the ditch with a ladder and walk there. But SpongeBob gives up and claims that everyone is right about him being a kid. Patrick is also let down and they begin having a crying fest. All of a sudden, Mindy comes along and gives them the confidence to finish their journey. She places seaweed on their upper lips saying that they're mustaches and they have the courage to finish getting to Shell City. However, they get captured by Dennis who is squashed by a man in a old fashioned diving suit and take them to a gift shop leaving them in a drying table to wither away. SpongeBob and Patrick realize that they've arrived in Shell City, cry with joy, and dry out. But one of their tears makes its way to the outlet where the drying table is, short circuits it, release enough smoke to start the fire sprinklers on top, and restores SpongeBob and Patrick to life.

They escape with the crown, release the bag too early, and have no way of getting back. That is until David Hasselhoff comes by and says he'll take them back to Bikini Bottom. While they get back home, the 6th day has approached and King Neptune is about to take down Mr. Krabs with Plankton watching. But SpongeBob and Patrick make it in time and stop Neptune from burning Mr. Krabs. However, Plankton forces a controlling helmet on King Neptune and SpongeBob and Patrick are surrounded by Planton's zombie followers. SpongeBob then sings a rock version of the Goofy Goober song that is basically a similar version of "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister, and frees the control with the power of rock.

The movie concludes with Plankton being arrested, Mr. Krabs changing his mind and letting SpongeBob being the new manager of the Krusty Krab 2, and SpongeBob being a big hero.

When the movie first came out, it was a big success at the box office making over $140 million dollars. However, it wasn't a critical hit compared to its other animated competitors such as The Incredibles or The Polar Express were. But with that, kids loved it, critics liked it, and adults enjoyed it. As for me, I enjoyed it as well. It came out when SpongeBob was at its prime, so the animation, jokes, and story were very decent. There are a few problems with it though. The plot was too convenient with the main protagonists. Plankton's plan was pretty much fool proof and the most diabolical he would ever come up with in the rest of the series. It seemed to hold itself back due to the fact that they knew that kids wouldn't want to see him win. So it added some quick MacGuffins and Deux Ex Machina moments like Mindy coming in to give SpongeBob and Patrick a confidence boost, the tear causing the sprinklers, the David Hasselhoff cameo, and the Goofy Goober rock moment where a laser guitar broke free from the controlling helmets. It's seems too unrealistic and doesn't really give the main characters a challenge on how to solve their problems. Also, the new character additions such as Mindy, King Neptune, and Dennis weren't developed enough. They could've have made great characters, but they weren't in the movie enough and when they were, they were only there to move the plot along. Also, the message that SpongeBob learns at the end was completely ignored and he resorted back in the most immature way possible. You would think that after all he went through, he would have slightly matured, but nope. He's still stuck on his ways and would be even worse over the years.

With that aside, I did like it. Heck, it's a much better movie than Rugrats Go Wild. It's adventurous, it's humorous, it has most of the characters we know and love, and it gives us a few twists and turns. It's an enjoyable movie. One of my favorites from Nickelodeon movies so far. When seeing it again, this movie almost reminded me of seeing a kid version of Pee-wee's Big Adventure. There's little subtle homages and scenes that supports this hypothesis with it starting with a dream, getting prepped up for the day, the item being stolen and sold off somewhere else, the journey to retrieve it, the biker bar scene, and the rock music at the end from Twisted Sister. Even the slogan from the poster is similar to Big Top Pee-wee. Maybe it's just a coincidence. I don't know.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie poster.jpgBig top pee wee.jpg

 The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was originally suppose to end the series there, but since it was such a gigantic success and with no other cash cow matching up to what Nickelodeon was airing at the time, the Nickelodeon executives kept the series going. Stephen Hillenberg demoted his position to executive producer and gave the forerunner of the series to Paul Tibbit. Many people felt that's when the show went downhill and the movie was the last great thing about SpongeBob. Yes, that's true. Coupled with that and the show going on for almost 15 years has made SpongeBob become an enraged series. Hopefully, the sequel ends the series on a more happier note when it debuts next year.

Overall, if you're a SpongeBob fan, I highly recommend checking it out. If you're not a fan, then it's not for you. If you've never seeing SpongeBob, see the older episodes of the series first and then see the movie. It might be enjoyable.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.



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