The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (3 stars)

The Spongebob Movie

Fun cinematic return for the animated TV star, featuring Antonio Banderas

Life in Bikini Bottom is chugging along as usual for our animated hero SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny). Plankton (Mr Lawrence) is still determined to steal the secret recipe for the delicious Krabby Patties, launching a major attack on the Krusty Krab. However, at the same time in the live-action world, a sneaky pirate named Burger-Beard (Antonio Banderas) has stolen a book which affects life under the sea. His greedy actions cause apocalyptic mayhem, which leads to SpongeBob teaming up with his arch-enemy Plankton to save the day.

Director Paul Tibbitt delivers a fish-out-of-water, post-apocalyptic, buddy, road flick with a heavy sprinkle of time-travel. Turning Bikini Bottom into a Mad Max-style dystopia, where everyone wears leather, is just one of the gleefully silly highlights on offer here.

In keeping with the original Nickelodeon cartoon, which has been going since 1999, SpongeBob's second cinematic outing (following 2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie) is highly surreal and very funny. It's a shame then that in the final act the filmmakers appear to run out of steam and opt for a lazy superhero plot twist. In the same tradition as the aforementioned fantasy films, an elongated chase sequence plays out, comprising something of an unsatisfying conclusion.

However, the attention to detail – including some brilliant music choices, such as Ennio Morricone’s 'The Ecstasy of Gold' and original music from NERD – adds lots of manic energy and humour. Trippy moments such as Plankton literally entering SpongeBob’s gooey centred, candy coloured brain to find nothing but sweetness, and the pair meeting a talking dolphin named Bubbles (voiced wonderfully by The IT Crowd's Matt Berry) successfully replicate the snappy, off-kilter charm of the TV show.

For the most part, Sponge Out of Water provides decent-sized doses of wacky animated fun; it's packed full of hilarious one-liners, pop culture references and colourful characters that should keep both adults and kids entertained.

General release from Fri 27 Mar.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water | Official International Trailer

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

  • 3 stars
  • 2015
  • US
  • 1h 32min
  • U
  • Directed by: Paul Tibbitt
  • Cast: Antonio Banderas, Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence, Matt Berry, Jill Talley, Mary Jo Catlett, Lori Alan, Tom Kenny, Dee Bradley Baker, Riki Lindhome, Kate Micucci
  • UK release: 27 March 2015

Life goes on at usual in Bikini Bottom until real-life pirate Burger-Beard (Banderas) causes apocalyptic mayhem; SpongeBob and arch-nemesis Plankton must team up to defeat him. Despite a lazy superhero plot twist in the final act, it has enough colourful characters and hilarious one-liners to keep both kids and adults…