TBT Review – The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I felt as thought I’d seen this film at some point but I never had. It’s probably just because of how much attention this film was given. If I remember correctly, this was a major deal. The David Hasselhoff cameo also ended up being a major deal and apparently got him a new generation of fans. However, even the prospect of briefly seeing the ex-Baywatch star wasn’t enough to get me to watch this film. Until I’d decided to watch the most recent SpongeBob film. It only felt right to watch the show’s first movie outing before I gave the latest one a try. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I’m not a big fan of the show, so it wasn’t as if I was massively looking forward to it. Still, I’m not in the mood for much complexity right now. This felt perfect for my mood. At the very least, it wasn’t going to be too long.

It’s always a bit of a risk when a short-form television series tries to make it in Hollywood. The process of stretching out a concept for the runtime of a feature film isn’t easy and you can very quickly turn a fun 30 minute show into a tired 90 minute movie. You can see why executives would want to make the leap though. The added revenue from tickets and merchandise would be hard to ignore. Especially when you have a show that was as successful and loved as SpongeBob SquarePants. Would the magic be lost over the extended runtime? Would it also be able to bring in a wider audience? After all, what is the point in making a film if you’re not getting any new people in? You needed to create a story that both captured the original spirit of the show and allowed new viewers to appreciate it. So, the question is, did The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie manage to do that.

Anyone who read my Tuesday review will know that its main narrative saw SpongeBob and his friends preventing Plankton’s latest plot to steal the secret Krabby patty recipe. Well, thankfully, the first movie has a completely different set up. This time, SpongeBob and Patricky have to work together to stop Plankton’s latest plot to steal the Krabbby patty recipe. Oh, hang on. Wait, this one is different. There’s a Krabby patty car… ah. No wait, this one involves a God of the sea… hmm. Okay, so it’s pretty much the same thing but the first film at least has an awful David Hasselhoff cameo.

I guess in terms of the show, this plot isn’t necessarily unusual but it feels as though it could have been slightly more interesting. Although, this film did do it first, so I should probably be more annoyed by how blatantly Sponge on the Run just rewrote the same premise. This time, instead of chasing SpongeBob’s pet snail, the pair are trying to retrieve King Neptune’s crown. A crown stolen by Plankton and taken to the forbidden Shell City. Along the way, SpongeBob and Patrick are being chased by the vicious Dennis who has been hired by Plankton to stop them. All the while, the evil genius has taken over Bikini Bottom and turned all of the residents into his slaves. Can SpongeBob and Patrick return the crown in time to stop their nemesis?

The thing with SpongeBob is not that it’s offensive or bad. It’s just that it never feels as good as it should. This is a show with a great reputation but it just feels tired and repetitive. The story feels like fan service and relies too heavily on in-jokes. It also involves plenty of unnecessarily strange moments that seem intended to appeal to a certain audience. This is stoner humour, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just difficult to get too excited by it. The fact that one of the major jokes involves close-ups of David Hasselhoff’s hairy back just shows you the path this film is walking. This might work for fans of the show but it hasn’t helped my opinion much.

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