Hello, Spongey here.
It’s finally time for our first general review of the year. Last year, I did not get do too many for…obvious reasons. Hopefully this year there will be able to be more. Honestly, I’ve gotten so used to not doing as many of these that it’s be annoying having to work more into my schedule. But whatever, we’ll see.
To start, we’ve got something I should have reviewed last year. Seriously, I need to vent for a bit. This was released on Netflix late last year for literally every other country except for America. They saved the American release for this year, basically just as a way to promote Paramount+. I suppose it makes sense under that lens, but it is very annoying. Plus, it was put in theaters in Canada in August of last year, and only that country. I realize movie releases are getting weirder due to the circumstances but Paramount was really weird wit this one.
But whatever, we finally have it. With this, we have our third Spongebob film. It’s interesitng following these movies over time. I’ve talked quite a bit about them, especially that first one. I still hold it pretty high regard, but the second one is still fun. The above links have more details on all that.
This third one has quite the odd production history. It was originally announced as “It’s a Wonderful Sponge”, implying it would be a It’s a Wonderful Life kind of story. Then later it was announced it would be part origin story, and done totally in CGI, and eventually we got the name change.
But it turned out the story line changed was bigger than expected, as apparently the original story involved alien cat people. Yes. It sounded like…something but I get why they changed it to be less out there. And ontop of all that, the origin part was announced to be spinoff into a whole series, Kamp Koral.
That is all I will say because frankly that can of worms is not worth getting into, I think you all understand why.
So yeah, this movie is an interesting and yet, from what I hear, all this is more interesting than the actual movie but we’ll about that. Our director is Tim Hill, who has actually worked on the show before, even going all the way back to Help Wanted. But of course now he’s best known for gems like Hop and Alvin and the Chipmunks. And also War With Grandpa which somehow had a smoother release than this.
He is also a writer, and the story is credited to the credited writers of the second one. Granted, those have a mixed record, going from Kung Fu Panda 2 to Chipwrecked in the same damn year.
So with how all that said, how will this one fare? My expectations have been lowered by this point so I’ll likely enjoy it. But let’s see if that is the case.
This, is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
When Gary is snailnaped, SpongeBob and Patrick must journey to the lost city of Atlantic City to rescue him.
This movie was…eh. Yeah, I have to bow down a bit to the people who weren’t too keen on it. The reception is weird as I’ve seen some enjoy it well enough, a few deride it merely due to the Kamp Koral stuff I will not get into, and most are in the same camp as me. It’s got some good stuff going for it, but it ultimately just felt kind of forgettable to me and is a big step down from the other movies.
First, the positive3s. The animation is really good. It’s done by Mkros, who also did the animation for Captain Underpants. They really know how to bring cartoon-y ness to CGi and that shows here. This being CGI didn’t feel as jarring since they managed to keep the same sort of feel as the other movies had. The characters move pretty well and visuals overall just look very nice.
There are a fair amount of decent laughs here. There’s this robot voiced by Awkafina that was pretty amusing. So there was some fun bits here and there that made it not boring or anything like that, for the most part anyway.
But sadly, it wasn’t quite enough. I was with it for the first act, as it was introducing everything and mostly focusing on the laughs. Then the plot kicked and that’s the biggest weakest of the movie. See, the reason Gary gets taken is that King Posisiden needs snail slime to clear his skin or something and he used all of his snails up. Plankton hears about this and takes Gary there so that SpongeBob will have to leave.
Yeah, we got an egoistical ruler and Plankton taking something and sending it elsewhere, leaving SpongeBob to go there to get it. I know the second movie reused a few plot elements here and there but this is pretty lame. Using similar elements if fine, but some of this is way too specific for me,
The story as a whole just wasn’t that great. For a road trip plot, they only to go to one place and it’s in a dream…sort of. There’s a whole section with them in an old west town that was just…weird. I know, criticizing SpongeBob for being weird is silly but this just felt weird for the sake of it and even by SpongeBob logic standards it just very forced. Granted, it did bring Keanu Reeves into it which is a plus.
There’s a bit where Patrick and SpongeBob argue over if their journey is a buddy movie or that or a soul hero’s journey. It was pretty funny, especially the bit where Patrick lampshaded that they’ll likely argue over something dumb and split up. But the actual movie isn’t really sure which it is. You’d think it would more about Gary but oddly enough, not really. (Also, the two do have a fight at one point but they get over it quickly and it doesn’t matter because the story is weak)
The climax is basically the others testifying for him and going on about how good of a friend he is. That’s all fine and good, but that wasn’t really a big theme beforehand so it just feels a bit weird. This is also where we get the bulk of the Kamp Koral stuff. There’s a bit with it earlier but it’s just a quick bit.
Here we get a bunch in a row and I sort of like how they made the climax more of a emotion based one, it just dragged. Although the one with Squidward was sweet. Speaking of, there’s a scene where Plankton visits Krabs that ended being nice. I don’t know, the story just got all jumbled at a certain point.
That’s not the biggest deal with a comedy like this, but it just sort of lost me by the midway point. That and the laughs were a bit fewer later on to be honest. Things like eventually did add up , and it ended I was like…eh.
There’s not a whole more to say, really. I think my point regarding the pros and cons. There’s some decent humor, as well great animation and a few nice moments. But it’s dragged down by a weak story that rehashes the first movie and isn’t what it wants to be about. It kind of feels like a rushed first draft, to be honest. It had some promise but didn’t feel as satisfying as the previous movies
There’s plenty to can nitpick with the others, of course. It’s just that their high points made up for it, while this doesn’t hit hit as hard for me. It’s not as nice as the first was, or quite as delightfully weird as the second. It tries, but does kind of feel like a throwaway, leaving the animators to pick up the slack.
Still, it’s perfectly watchable. There’s nothing too horrible here and at worst I was just a bit bored or confused at certain points. In other words, generally not worth getting mad at. It sucks that a SpongeBob movie is just sort of there, but eh, life goes on. It had its moments and I’ve seen worse from the franchise in generally anyway.
If you are a filthy American who hasn’t seen it, you should precede with caution. It has enough to like but is nothing super memorable. It won;’t hurt to check it out but isn’t one totally worth going out of your way for. Thankfully it’s general VOD services for cheap so you don’t need to pay for Paramount+ anyway. At the end of the day, Sponge on the Run (in which SpongeBob is not on the run) is just…okay.
But hey, at least we got a Kelpy G appearance.
Well, it was fun to get back into this. Was it worth the long wait? ….Well anyway, next time, I finally get back to theaters with….another movie with Awkwafina. Huh.