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 SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER
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.