It’s about time we talked about an animated movie again! If you exclude the wrapping up of The Disneyathon and a few animation side projects, I haven’t reviewed a new animated movie since the 5th of March 2020 for that forgettable Pokémon: the First Movie remake. There were noteworthy 2020 animated movies since then like Onward and Scoob, but I just never got around to reviewing them. Luckily earlier this week I saw a name pop-up on Netflix that started with Sponge and on the poster it featured a bright yellow absorbable bob, wearing a pair of trusty square pants and I knew I needed to cover that!
Its true, I am a die hard Spongebob fan, more so of the Stephen Hillenburg era of Spongebob which spans the first three seasons and the 2004 movie which, I feel so alone in saying, is a bloody masterpiece! Old Spongebob is like Pixar in the 2000’s where they just get better with age. This is nothing against the later stuff, as there are some rare gems here and there, but as the series went on it just lost it’s edge, and it lost me too. So with Sponge on the Run I guess I was more concerned as to how this franchise would go forward as this is the first movie where Hillenburg had little to no involvement because of his tragic untimely death a few years back.
So the third Spongebob Squarepants movie: Sponge on the Run was about what I expected, a fun subdued time. For a long time fan of the series the plot felt pretty predictable. I clued into the writers taking one of the Gary goes missing episodes and rearranging the plot of the first movie and boom, that’s our new Spongebob adventure. I don’t really have a problem with that, as South Park did this too and its a good way to reel in newcomers, so they know who the main characters are and the roles they play in the show. I’m just going to skip the story as I found the main appeal of the movie is the journey and not the destination. I preferred watching Spongebob and Patrick’s small misadventures more than the rescuing of Gary from the evil king merman. It was like revisiting the classic 2004 flick, but without the urgency of Mr Krabs’ life on the line and the character growth of Spongebob and Patrick needing to man-up!
Seriously, modern Spongebob just isn’t for me. The humour isn’t as clever or weird enough to even earn a slight nod from me. This is due to the fact that this movie is clearly targeted towards young children, who crave super basic jokes, so they don’t get bored and want to bail out. I say this because the film is littered with easy and referential humour that’s too on the nose for my liking and yes I’m getting that I’m too old for this! The most prevalent example that Spongebob is now only for babies is that Nickelodeon inserted an advertisement for their new Spongebob spin-off show, in the big emotional tear jerking scene of the movie. This show, Kamp Koral, will reveal the origins of how little kiddie Spongebob met all his Bikini Bottom pals and how meeting Spongebob was the best thing that ever happened to them. Just ignore the fact that we’re retconning the explanation of how they met back in the the earlier seasons, but look, now they’re meeting as cute adorable children! Knowing that this show was in the works was quite distracting, but other than that I have nothing else to say.
Before I wrap this up, I want to remind everyone that I did find this movie pretty fun. Mainly for the nostalgia of seeing Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr Krabs and Plankton just doing their normal shtick. Also spotting those Easter eggs to my favourite era of Spongebob, was quite gratifying. What this movie does exceptionally well is it was made as if we’re watching a big epic Spongebob TV episode, which is also helped by the amazing animation. It felt like the 2015 Peanuts movie where they transformed the 2D characters into 3D computer generated models, but they also gave the characters their cartoony expressions and mannerisms from the show. It really sells, except for Sandy and her fur, this was not easy to get used to looking at that.
Overall, not much to hate about this one, unless if you want me to pointlessly reminisce and rant about how back in my day cartoons were the bomb! Thanks to the pandemic, Paramount put it on Netflix for everyone to watch, except for Canada and the US, because they got to see it early in cinemas, so now they have to wait for next year to see it at home. It’s harmless so if you really have an hour and a half to kill, watch it.