FILM REVIEW: Underhand curveball is for die-hard fans only

Left to right: Patrick Star (as Mr. Superawesomeness), SpongeBob SquarePants (as The Invincibubble), Squidward Tentacles (as Sour Note), and Mr. Krabs (as Sir Pinch-A-Lot), in SPONGEBOB: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. ANL-150331-134031001
Left to right: Patrick Star (as Mr. Superawesomeness), SpongeBob SquarePants (as The Invincibubble), Squidward Tentacles (as Sour Note), and Mr. Krabs (as Sir Pinch-A-Lot), in SPONGEBOB: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. ANL-150331-134031001

FILM REVIEW: THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE – SPONGE OUT OF WATER (U), SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: ANTONIO BANDERAS AND THE VOICES OF TOM KENNY, BILL FAGERBAKKE, CLANCY BROWN, CAROLYN LAWRENCE, RODGER

BUMPASS, THOMAS F WILSON & MR LAWRENCE

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 32 MINS

DIRECTOR: PAUL TIBBITT

With a clever piece of marketing Spongebob pulls a fast one on his fans.

There’s no denying Spongebob’s popularity as a Nickelodeon institution, but this is blatant PR – as the movie only provides about 15-20 minutes of computer-generated animation in the ‘real world’.

The rest is regular 2D animation set in the familiar setting of Bikini Bottom – in basically an extended episode format – that really stretches fan service to the absolute limit.

For die-hards it isn’t necessarily unentertaining fare, but the clever trailer indicates much more ‘above the sea’ action than is actually present, and for your hard-earned cinema cash is a bit of an ‘underhand’ curveball that just doesn’t sit right.

The movie takes the tried-and-tested formula of Plankton (Mr Lawrence) attempting to steal Spongebob’s (Tom Kenny) secret ‘Krabby Patty’ formula from greedy fast food restaurateur Mr Krabs (Clancy Brown) – and then throws in Antonio Banderas’ nefarious pirate Burger Beard.

In the ‘human world’ Burger Beard has located the formula to use for his own beach-side cash-making means – via a legendary story discovered in a treasure-like book – which eventually leads to Spongebob hitting dry land with Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) and co.

Fortunately the book is re-written to add superhero powers to the crew, and they then attempt to stop Burger Beard from escaping with the ingredients – which has led to an apocalypse in Spongebob’s undersea domain.

Throw in a few bizarre twists – like an intergalactic dolphin leader (yep, that’s right) – and you’ve got an animation that is truly ‘bonkers’ – and not necessarily in a good way. It does have a few trademark Spongebob humorous moments that will surely appease some fans – but it just can’t hide the fact there’s too little 3D on show.

And when that finally kicks in during the finale, the action set-pieces are so generically predictable that Banderas just takes the ‘paycheck’ and runs.

By Gavin Miller: Rating: 2/5