"Comical Nautical Nonsense Reaches Land"
What You Need To Know:
Based on Nickelodeon’s SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS cartoon series, SPONGE OUT OF WATER mixes live action with 2D and 3D animation. The plot is simple, hidden beneath a 90-minute barrage of random jokes and unrelated tangents that provide a few good laughs. There’s plenty of cartoon-branded slapstick violence and juvenile jokes. The comedy is relatively child-friendly, but there’s some scatological humor. The story satirically dives into a pagan worldview sometimes, but this is balanced out by strong moral elements promoting honesty and doing the right thing.
(Pa, BB, Pa, FR, O, CapCap, VV, N, M) Mixed pagan worldview with strong moral premise and elements where honesty is praised, good vs. evil where good wins, friendship and teamwork are touted, central character makes amends for being selfish, with a satire on pagan tribal worship where sacrifice is needed to “appease” the sandwich “gods,” there’s a magical book that the villain uses to control things, and magical dolphin “gods” rule the universe and orchestrate all events, with capitalist entrepreneurship and competition a key part of the plot; no obscenities or profanities, but several toilet humor jokes about bird poop or relating to bottoms, name-calling such as “jerk” and “dimwit,” “curse you” and “aft-kicking” are said, rap battle where a censored graphic briefly shows up over seagull’s mouth; skeletons are used as booby traps on island, a skeleton punches a pirate, tanks and planes shoot condiments and bullets, but no one is hurt, satirical torture of prisoner caught stealing, apocalyptic scenes with fires burning and vandalism, dolphin shoots phaser weapon out of blowhole, sacrifice on altar is squished by falling weight but survives, cannons shoot cannonballs that briefly injure a character, hot sauce squirted in eye; no sexual content; people on the beach in bathing suits, cartoon plumber’s rear briefly shown, with a play on the words “Bikini Bottom,” the name of the place where SpongeBob, the comic hero, lives; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, violence inflicted on others due to selfishness but selfishness rebuked, recipe is stolen, characters value Krabby Patties more than each other, lying to cover up indiscretions, bikini-clad woman’s back is accidentally massaged by character and she says how good it feels in a seductive tone.
In SPONGEBOB THE MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, the devious Plankton concocts an elaborate scheme to steal the secret recipe for Krabby Patties, but fails when he’s caught by Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob. When the recipe mysteriously vanishes before their eyes, the whole town of Bikini Bottom blames Plankton, but SpongeBob knows he’s not guilty. So, he sets out to prove his innocence by teaming up with him to get the recipe back. Without the ability to make more Krabby Patties, the entire town goes into apocalyptic mode within seconds of the shortage. The town is doomed to total destruction unless the recipe can be recovered.
While Bikini Bottom descends into chaos, SpongeBob and Plankton build a time machine to travel back to the point in time just before the recipe disappears. This sets them on a harrowing tongue-in-cheek journey through the future and the past, with plenty of random, comical pit stops exploring the wackier side of time travel along the way.
They meet Bubbles, the dolphin “god” who keeps watch over the whole universe. Bubbles gives the entire gang the power of breathing air as they must venture into the unknown world of dry land to track down the recipe thief. They discover that the pirate Burger-Beard stole the recipe and has been controlling the story by reading it from a magical book to his crew of lovable, sarcastic seagulls. Now as AVENGER-like superheroes, they must band together to defeat Burger-Beard and return Krabby Patties to Bikini Bottom.
Based on Nickelodeon’s popular SPONGEBOB cartoon series, the movie stays close to the animation style and quirky brand of humor that makes the TV series so fun and popular. It mixes live action with 2D and 3D animation that gives it an odd texture heading into the third act when the cartoon heroes set foot into the more realistic human world. The plot is simple, hidden beneath a 90 minute barrage of random jokes and unrelated tangents that provide a few good laughs, but also seem to exist only to fill the gaping holes where there just isn’t enough story to sustain an entire movie. Captain Burger-Beard also felt like a partial rip-off of Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow, cheapening the originality of the character.
The style of content is well established in the TV series and simply carries over into movie format. There is plenty of cartoon-branded slapstick violence and some juvenile jokes. These remain child-friendly for the most part, though some dialogue segues into scatological or rude humor that will either go over the heads of young children or tickle an undeveloped funny bone. The story delves into a satirical view of paganism where “sandwich gods” need to be appeased with a sacrifice and mysterious all-knowing dolphins preside over the universe, but this is balanced out by a moral view of right and wrong, and good versus evil.
Overall, therefore, though there are some questionable elements that may require discussion with younger children, in true cartoon spirit, the movie doesn’t take these or itself seriously, so many viewers may not either, although some viewers will be susceptible. Adults may find themselves getting a little antsy after an hour of underwater mayhem, but SPONGE OUT OF WATER is one can enjoy, with parental discretion.
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