Film Review: SpongeBob comes up for air in feature-length review

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water felt almost directly targeted at a college-aged audience. Produced by Nickelodeon Movies, the second SpongeBob film was released on Friday Feb. 6. The film could easily be compared to Pineapple Express or Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle in its comedic appeal to older viewers.

Striking a difficult balance in order to keep both young and old audiences entertained, Sponge Out of Water has done better than any other PG movie to come out so far this year. With puns and innuendos abound, this is a movie for children that college-aged stoners are sure to love. As expected, the film was not overly ambitious in terms of plot, following a path that should feel familiar to anyone who has watched the television show.

Antonio Banderas masterfully played the live-action character of Burger Beard the Pirate. With a flock of seagulls for companions, Burger Beard obtained a book that makes anything written in it come true. Beneath the water’s surface, Plankton tried to steal the Krabby Patty formula, but was predictably thwarted by SpongeBob and his friends in a hail of ketchup and mustard. When the Krabby Patty secret recipe magically disappears, however, all hell breaks loose in Bikini Bottom.

Soon after, SpongeBob and company traveled above the ocean waves to find the recipe and quickly caught up with Burger Beard. As in the first SpongeBob film, it is once we break the surface of the water that things truly begin to spiral out of control.

While the open-air portion of the film does make up a majority of trailers, these chaotic scenes are fewer than expected. The animation style breaks from past iterations with a cool mix of CGI and psychedelic stop motion as well as plenty of traditional 2-D animation. For older audiences familiar with the surrealist art style of many 1990s cartoons, Sponge Out of Water will not visually disappoint.

If you are a fan of the franchise, this movie is for you. If you haven’t been fully initiated into the world of Bikini Bottom already, then this new addition will do little to change that. The film was more concurrent with recent seasons, but it included a good deal of references to classic episodes that die-hard fans will be sure to appreciate.

Certainly not a groundbreaking movie, Sponge Out of Water remained faithful to the show and truly felt like one long, big-budget episode. Just like any other episode, it’s probably best viewed from the comfort of your couch. While it will keep you entertained for a couple hours, I walked out of the theater and wondered if I would have been better off waiting until it came out on Netflix.


Rating: 4/5