It has been more than a decade since the last film hit, and while I haven't watched the show in a very long time, I was interested in this film. While SpongeBob may very well have exceeded his welcome on the television screen, there's no denying his charm and the immense carefree spirit he brings to every situation. And as a film, the characters would be allowed a new platform to try new things, and I mean, the last film was entertaining. So, what I am saying is that I was interested in seeing the new film. The trailers made it look a little less than amazing, the humor looked more gauged to the modern-day humor of the show and not the humor that it had in its prime and although I didn't expect the humor to be everything I wanted, I was hoping I'd be surprised.
In the story, a pirate named Burger-Beard finds a magical book that makes anything written in it come true. Everything is as it was left in the undersea land of Bikini Bottom, and Plankton continues his attempts to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula from the Krusty Krab. He almost succeeds too, but when the formula disappears in thin-air, it is up to SpongeBob and his friends to get it back.
The film brings all the familiar characters that frolic the hit Nickelodeon show but also incorporates a lot of newness to it all. The live-action material is obviously a far cry from what we've come to expect from the character. Does the material offer up a worthwhile and fan experience for children and adults alike? Does the film bring SpongeBob back to a relevancy it hasn't had since its glory days? Critical reviews have been mostly optimistic about the latest film and the box-office draws have been much larger than the last one. This means the answer is yes, right? This doesn't change that I found for the film to be a considerable disappointment.
When I walked out of the theater, I was actually the most positive out of my friends who flat-out dismissed it as trash, and I wasn't exactly all-that positive. There was no moments of emotion or depth within the characters, no feeling of comrade or anything besides what you'd expect to see from a particularly elongated episode. This doesn't seem like it should be an issue, but the fact is, the film doesn't have heart, unlike the last film, this one feels like it is simply going through the waves and splashes. The shtick is there, but the fact is, the shtick isn't enough for a feature film. They realized that in 2004. They realized they had to offer something else, and that's what they did. They made a feature film adaptation instead of a bloated out episode with a much more expensive budget.
The humor isn't anything that makes me laugh, and I don't believe I chuckled very much throughout the whole film, but there was some enjoyability. There has always been this assumption about who watches these films. People say that the fans of this show are stoners and children. Besides the fact that it's about a talking sponge that lives in a pineapple, I never really found the humor to be all that bizarre or haphazard at most times. In this film, it's completely all over the map and completely incoherent. Some of it is amusing, but none of it is particularly sharp or witty, none of it really oozes charm or even the bliss from early episodes of the show. There's a surrealism there, but nothing is contributed to it. The material seems weird for the sake of being weird which is never something that I found myself thinking before.
Even still, the biggest flaw is the story itself. It feels forced and like it's trying to make something work that doesn't. The magic isn't there and from a completely disconnected perspective, it can be said that it's completely anticlimactic. Antonio Banderas isn't notable, and there isn't any character that I can particularly say stood out above it all. As I write this, I don't even feel inspired and feel like I am just doing it for the sake of doing it, which is the best way I can summarize this film. It's bloated and disproportionate, it's amusing but not much else, it's surreal but not in the same way I hoped, and it fails at following the 2004 film.
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Rating: Below Average