The sponge who would be king

Di­rected by Paul Tib­bitt, Mike Mitchell. Star­ring An­to­nio Ban­deras. Voices of Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass. G cert, gen­eral re­lease, 92 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY


Where the heck have YOU BEEN? Ex­cuse the caps-lock, but Sponge Bob Square Pants, an an­i­mated icon of com­pa­ra­ble sta­tus to Bugs Bunny and Foghorn Leghorn, does not with­hold en­thu­si­asm or lower vol­ume. Ev­ery­thing in his world is bold, emo­tion­ally un­in­hib­ited and up­roar­i­ously funny. So we are al­lowed to WON­DER why it has taken nearly a DECADE for the sponge to re­turn to the big screen. WHY?

The word was that the cre­ators of the TV se­ries felt un­sure about stretch­ing the sto­ries to fea­ture length. An agree­able com­pro­mise has been found. The new film fills the ex­tended space com­fort­ably, but you cer­tainly couldn’t ar­gue that any of the an­ar­chy has been lost.

There is a plot of sorts. An­to­nio Ban­deras’s Burger Beard, a fast-food, live-ac­tion pirate, se­cures the se­cret for­mula for Krabby Pat­ties. So, to avert con­comi­tant apoca-

‘What’s the se­cret pass­word?’ ‘Uu­uh­hhh...’ ‘Cor­rect!’

lypse in Bikini Bot­tom, SpongeBob takes Plank­ton – wrongly ac­cused of the theft – on a quest that brings them to a fu­ture ruled by Bub­ble the mag­i­cal dol­phin (voiced, pre­dictably bril­liantly, by Matt Berry).

The posters and trail­ers have, cyn­i­cally and mis­lead­ingly, given the im­pres­sion that the film is dom­i­nated by dig­i­tally beefed up su­per-heroic ver­sions of our an­thro­po­mor­phic pals.

Hap­pily, for most of its du­ra­tion, Sponge Out of Wa­ter re­tains the charm­ing am­bi­ence of the TV se­ries. Spike Mil­li­gan would have en­joyed the chaotic struc­ture. Sal­vador Dalí would have savoured the po­si­tion­ing of marine fauna in un­fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings. Our only ma­jor com­plaint is that – and not for the first time – the writ­ers crim­i­nally un­der-use the grumpy Squid­ward. In at least one area, Sponge

Out of Wa­ter breaks new ground. Se­lected cine­mas will be screen­ing the film in an Ir­ish-lan­guage ver­sion. This is, we be­lieve, the first time an an­i­mated fea­ture has been the­atri­cally re­leased in the na­tive tongue. SEE BOTH.

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