Sunday, 13 September 2009

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie


The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie; animated fantasy comedy, USA, 2004; D: Stephen Hillenburg, S: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakle, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Doug Lawrence, Jeffrey Tambor, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff

SpongeBob SquarePants dreams of becoming the manager of the new Krusty Krab restaurant, but his boss Eugene Krabs gives it to cashier Squidward tentacles, saying SpongeBob is "just a kid". But when the rival Plankton steals the crown of King Neptune and frames it on Krabs, SpongeBob and his friend Patrick have to find the crown in a few days or their boss will be executed. Neptune's daughter Mindy is helping them. They manage to find the crown and, thanks to David Hasselhof's assistance, bring it back in time, saving Krabs and punishing Plankton.

The big screen adaptation of the shrill television series with the same title, "SpongeBob SquarePants" could have suffered from the same syndrome as many TV adaptations who forgot their original tone and tried to cheaply attract the wider audience with populism and silliness, but the authors here managed to swiftly avoid such a scenario and present an amusing film. Truth be told, some of those tiresome populism and silliness elements can be found even here, in the middle part of the film which is pure garbage, relaying too much on SpongeBob and Patrick monkeying around and screaming than to offer anything substantive, but in the first 25 minutes and the last 25 minutes of the film, the authors displayed their integrity potentials with good creative humor.

One of the most hilarious jokes comes in such a childish way that it has universal appeal - when King Neptune wants to punish Krabs for allegedly stealing his crown, SpongeBob intervenes and ask why the crown is so special. Neptune then admits its solely there to hide his bald spot, but Spongebob tells him it "can't be that bad". Neptune then takes the paper bag from his head - and dozens of fishes in the restaurant start instantly shouting: "Bald! Bald! Bald! Bald!" while one even screams: "My eyes!", which causes him to put the bag back on his head again. The joke where SpongeBob and Patrick pass the county line and a robber instantly steals their car is a legend whereas the finale where David Hasselhoff spoofs "Baywatch" and helps the two heroes get to their destination has cult potential. The character of Mindy, voiced gently by Scarlett Johansson, is also wonderfully charming and alive, which is why, despite the sometimes too goofy tone and an occasional bad joke, the movie has sense and just enough genius to please.

Grade:++

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