Twitter Plot Summary: Spongebob and the residents of Bikini Bottom get the big screen treatment, now with added David Hasselhoff.
Well now, this was an odd one. That’s not to say it’s not good – I laughed consistently throughout at every absurd moment thrown at the script. I haven’t had the pleasure of watching the Spongebob TV series in any great detail, but for me it marks the latest in a long line of animated series that owe a debt to the original Ren and Stimpy show. You can throw Invader Zim in with that bundle of shows as well, but it seems in terms of popularity it’s Spongebob who has won that contest hands down by running for over a decade and clocking in more than a hundred episodes in that time. By comparison, Invader Zim barely scraped its way to less than fifty episodes before it was hit with the cancellation hammer despite the similar tone shared between Zim and Spongebob.
In any case, let’s talk about the 2004 Spongebob Squarepants movie, where the insanity of the television series gets a bigger, wider screen in order to demonstrate its insanity. Events begin with Spongebob thinking he’s going to be awarded the manager’s job at the Krusty Crab 2 restaurant (long story short, he doesn’t), but rather quickly the story goes off on its own insane trajectory where the evil and incredibly tiny Plankton plans to steal King Neptune’s crown, all of which also includes Plankton stealing the secret Krabby Patty recipe for use in his own decrepit and unpopular rival restaurant the Chum Bucket. Instantly, I can see why he finds it so difficult to pull customers in…
The trailers made a lot out of the live action sequences, in particular the one featuring a guest appearance from the legend that is David Hasselhoff, but for most of the running time this is a traditionally animated 2D feature, which in this day and age is a positive boon. Matching the style of the TV series was always going to be a good thing, but it’s a canny piece of marketing that they have repeated for the most recent movie – that is, focus on what’s new and different.
Needless to say, fans of the Nickelodeon cartoon will love this, as will anybody else who takes delight in absurdist, surreal animation. There’s a certain amount of delight to be taken from seeing these characters, in particular the friendship between Spongebob and Patrick, played out in a cinematic setting, and the feature length running time allows for a slightly more in depth storyline than the traditional 20 minutes on TV permit. The road trip aspect is great fun, as is the mysterious hitman, voiced by Alec Baldwin of all people, sent by Plankton to silence Spongebob once and for all.
In fact, if there was anything to change, it would be to make it slightly more insane than it already is, but then that might be pushing things a bit too far for even the most diehard of Spongebob fans. There are limits to the amount of insanity we can enjoy, after all.