The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is bigger, squarier, and spongier! “Are you ready kids?” I know I was when I discovered a big screen movie was being made for my all time favorite animated Nickelodeon TV show. SpongeBob SquarePants is undoubtedly the cartoon of my generation. I was absolutely obsessed with the first 3 seasons when I was a kid. My peers continue to quote SpongeBob from memory to this day. Since Nickelodeon was making a theatrical film for all their best properties in the early 2000’s, I knew SpongeBob had to be next in line. The late great creator Stephen Hillenburg nearly declined the offer, but he instead intended it to be the massive conclusion to the series (sadly that wasn’t the case). I’ll never forget my mom taking my brother and I to see The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Animation was crisp, but familiar and the entire cast was just as great as ever. With plenty of nautical nonsense to make me laugh out loud. The movie is warranted since SpongeBob finally has the chance to become manager at the newly built Krusty Krab 2. Unfortunately, Mr. Krabs gives the job to Squidward since everyone thinks of SpongeBob as a kid.
The stakes are especially raised when a far more evil Plankton, with the help of his computer wife Karen, discover Plan Z to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. When Mr. Krabs is blamed for the theft of King Neptune’s crown, SpongeBob & Patrick have only 6 days to leave Bikini Bottom for the forbidden Shell City. The movie is everything I love about SpongeBob. From the bubbles to the jellyfish, but there are several new elements introduced. SpongeBob & Patrick are suddenly obsessed with the childish Goofy Goober and eating large amounts of ice cream in hilariously drunk fashion. Just like the show, nearly every moment and sneaky adult joke is meme worthy. The celebrity voice cast is especially impressive with the likes of Jeffrey Tambor as a bald King Neptune (different than the one seen in “Neptune’s Spatula”), Scarlett Johansson as the kindly mermaid Princess Mindy, and Alec Baldwin as the ruthless assassin Dennis. Characters like Gary the Snail, Sandy, Mrs. Puff, and Pearl have very limited screen time. Squidward at least discovers Plankton’s scheme before being mind controlled by a Chum Bucket helmet.
It’s really SpongeBob & Patrick’s time to shine as they heroically ride the Patty Wagon, escape a band of bloodthirsty bikers, and flee a deadly frogfish. Mindy inspires them with seaweed mustaches and they escape a monster infested trench as well. Dennis nearly steps on them, but a bigger boot captures them instead. Turns out Shell City is just a gift shop and the cyclops is really a deep sea diver from the live-action surface. Live-action is also used at the beginning with pirates singing the theme song and attending the movie premiere. The live-action/animated sequence is one of the saddest non-Disney scenes I’ve ever seen. I cry every single time SpongeBob & Patrick nearly die under a hot lamb. Their escape makes up for it with a brilliant cameo from David Hasselhoff coming to the rescue. Then the climax tops that with an infectious hard rock performance from SpongeBob singing “Goofy Goober Rock.” It’s technically not a musical, but any random song is plenty of underwater fun. The ending is the most satisfying way to end SpongeBob as he’s finally named manager to the tune of “Ocean Man.” The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is the sweetest victory I could ask for.
Followed by: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water