Review: ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’

Regular readers know that I’m a massive fan of the SpongeBob series pre-2005. That, of course, includes the first big screen adaptation of the cartoon ten years ago.

I’ve hated how the series has changed since then, but I was hoping to enjoy the first movie’s sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

spongebob movie

First, let’s focus on the positives. Sponge Out of Water is visually amazing. Yes, there’s still a lot of hand-drawn animation, and it looks really good, especially in 3D. The textures are expertly done, and it’s one of the few 3D experiences I’ve actually preferred over the traditional viewing. And yes, the live-action CGI is beautiful.

But that’s where the positives end.

Sadly, I hated it. I laughed…maybe twice? I can’t really remember. It suffered from a lot of the issues I’ve noticed with the cartoon since Stephen Hillenburg left the show creatively after the first movie. The comedic timing was very poor, excellent characters like Squidward didn’t get enough screen time, and the story, while interesting, just wasn’t told well.

spongebob movie

The writing and dialogue were insufferable to me. And the moments that did work for me (like Mr. Krabs hearing the word “refund” through his headphones) were drowned out by other gags that felt incredibly forced.

Obviously, this means the movie will work for fans of the show as it currently is. Have at it. But as a longtime fan of the classic era of the show, I can’t get behind it.

And I should point out that the trailer is incredibly misleading. The majority of the movie does not take place on the surface, as it seems to suggest.

spongebob movie

In fact, you’ll notice that almost every single gag in the trailer is repeated in the live-action scenes, to the point where I knew exactly what was going to happen next with nearly zero surprises or new dialogue.

To break the movie down further, I’ll have to provide more spoiler-ish comments, which are below. You’ve been warned.

One of the most surprising errors they made with this movie had to have been with how they did the storyboards, because the sequence of events in Sponge Out of Water is almost completely incoherent. 45 minutes of the movie in the middle contribute nearly nothing to the plot. You’re just watching a dragged out sequence of SpongeBob and Plankton trying to figure out how to do this in order to that.

spongebob movie

There’s a time-traveling sequence that provides some of the better visuals for the movie, but they just come off as flat. I appreciate the show when it gets weird, but there has to be some meat or humor to it. These sequences were just thin moments that didn’t connect.

And yes, SpongeBob and Plankton spend a good chunk of the movie as a team. In theory, I loved it. In execution? I was bored. It dragged the story and completely undercut the final act on the surface, to the point where it felt like the first half of the movie could have been cut 75%.

spongebob movie

As for Antonio Banderas, he did fine. Though to be honest, I just wanted him to transform into Zorro every time he started talking.

So there you have it. If you’ve seen the trailer as many times as I have, then I recommend you skip this. You’ve already seen the best jokes (and the final 20 minutes of the movie at that). I don’t doubt that some people will enjoy the movie anyway, but I can’t find a reason why.

But hey, at least it was better than Strange Magic. Or you could just re-watch this episode like I did:

spongebob movie

Thanks for reading! If you like reading the strange things I write about, be sure to subscribe to this blog by clicking “follow” on the sidebar. Or just follow me on Twitter for updates: @JonNegroni. 

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15 Replies to “Review: ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’”

  1. You should check Mr. Enter’s Youtube channel if you want to see what modern (Post Movie) Spongebob did wrong. He explains it a lot better than I could, and a bit shorter as well, because I could rave on about Spongebob all day long. If you like those, you should also check more of the worst (or best) of animation.

    Once you see a couple of Mr. Enter’s episodes, you might be interested in his reviews.

  2. I agree that Spongebob Squarepants was better in the beginning of the show. It had so many great episodes like “Krusty Love” and “Squidville”. I really liked the first Spongebob movie. I thought it extremely entertaining and creative.

  3. I actually thought it was really funny..the traditionally animated bulk of it. They even got the original crew from the first three seasons to work on it! Speaking of which, did you catch the “Finland” reference!

    • Yes, and the “my leg” made me laugh pretty hard.

    • YOUR SO WRONG ABOUT THIS RADICKYALIOUS, OUTRAGUS, STUPID COMMIT!!!!!IT SUCKED…NAME ONE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!! 🙁

  4. Kind of sad you didn’t like it. I’ll probably enjoy it, though.

  5. OMG! I just went to see the movie today and iam a total dyehart fan f sponebob..but not that critical.:) love spongebob know matter what. but me and my family talked EXZACTLY about the same issues.from our favorite part being The 3D….and I called that a different storyboard teller did it. I thought spongebob was a goofy funny character. it this though..he was a stuckup leader with no purseanality at all. it had no plot.it was 45 mins. of the rebelon to kill spngebob. it KILLED me when rveryting was wrong.Patrick was out to get spongebob…spongebob was teammates with planckton…… and they liked it!!!!!!!! and all of a sudden their these supereros….what? SO I DO RECOMEND NOT SEEING THIS MOVIE. THE FIRST ONE WAS WAY BETTER…BY A MILLION TIMES!!!! YOU WILL BE DISSAPONTED IF YOU LOVE SPONGEBOB AS MUC AS THIS 12 YEAR OLD GIRL. YOU WILL BE DISAPOINTED AND SO FRUSTRATED ON HOW MUCH IT SUCKED!!! KNEW SOMETHING AS WRONG WHEN THE STORYBOARD PLOT WAS WIERD. IT WAS ALL SERIOUS. I LIKE SPONGEBOB TO LAUGH AT THE STUITIDY AND GOOFYNESS…IN A GOOD WAY. I NEVER LAUGHED AS NEARLY AS MUCH AS THE FIRST ONE..I ONLY LAUGHED AS MUCH AS PROBALY NCE OR TWICE !!!IAM NOT A CRITIC..I CONVINCED MY SELF TO LIKE IT…THATS HOW MUCH I LIKE SPONGEBOB….BUT NOT IN THIS MOVIE.. DO NOT SEE IT YOU WILL BE SOOOO DISAPOINTED…I WONDER WHO EVEN THOUGHT OF THAT STUPID PLOT? ……..JUST SAYIN… IAM WITH YA HATER OF THE NEW MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. It’s just like that time when they’ve made the Looney Tunes into a bunch of space aliens who fought evil. God damn you, Hollywood.

    • Hey, at least the trailer portrayed the movie accurately.

  7. I liked the sponge bob movie A LOT. I thought there were no cons to the movie until I read what you typed.

  8. Yes, Sponge Out of Water was not well-written. The first movie was much better, and the earlier episodes are much more creative than the later episodes. The jokes in this were so flat and the movie was very aimless, an uncomfortable movie to sit through even for some die-hard SpongeBob fans.

  9. I haven’t seen it, but I hated it even before I read your review.
    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Spongebob. But just the episodes. The movie, in .my opinion, fell flat.
    Not only was it CG animation instead of 2D, but the characters were different, in a way I can’t explain. So instead I’ll just say this: True Spongebob fans should stay clear of the movie.
    Thank you.

  10. I thought it was going to be pretty good. I ended up forgetting I went to see it. In theatres. On my birthday.

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