Thursday, 5 November 2020

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Movie Review)

I've been a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants for as long as I can remember, from its early days on Nickelodeon, to its previous two forays onto the big screen. So you should understand my excitement for its third feature film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. The movie was originally slated for a global theatrical debut earlier this year, but then COVID happened and international distribution rights were sold off to Netflix, where it finally debuted earlier today.

In Sponge on the Run, life is going great for the eponymous SpongeBob, who is up to his usual shenanigans working at The Krusty Krab. But after his pet snail, Gary, goes missing, he and his good friend Patrick are forced to journey to the Lost City of Atlantic City, where Gary is being held prisoner. Lucky for them, they get some help from a sentient tumbleweed named Sage (Keanu Reeves), except his wise words are not enough to prevent them from getting distracted by the glitz and glamor of the city.

There is plenty to love about Sponge on the Run. First there's the beautiful 3D animation, which employed a stop-motion animation style that manages to capture the look and feel of the cartoon show while still looking fresh and modern. This is actually the first SpongeBob movie to be completely rendered in CGI and I can easily see why they'd opted to forgo the traditional hand-drawn 2D art style for this one.

But aside from looking great, the movie also had a lot to offer in the comedy department. The show is known for its over-the-top gags, and all of that is well represented in this new movie. The jokes were some of the funniest I'd seen in a while, and I found myself laughing more times than I could count. The film also serves as an origin story of sorts, with several flashbacks to a younger SpongeBob, which learnt the movie most of its emotional core. 

With all that out of the way, I must admit that the movie is clearly geared towards existing fans of the show, as it doesn't really do anything that might draw in casuals, aside from including a number of celebrity cameos. But even that is not enough to prevent me from recommending Sponge on the Run, another solid entry in a franchise that never seems to get old.

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