Friday, March 09, 2007

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004).

The Scoop:
It's notoriously difficult for TV series to make the successful jump to the big screen. So, when they are used to creating tightly structured 10-minute episodes, you'd think the creators of "Spongebob Squarepants" would be seriously in over their heads trying to fill a 90-minutes feature film. Well, you'd be wrong, because the "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie" delivers, big time.

This time around, Plankton sets in motion another complicated plan to steal the Krabby Patty formula (thereby taking over the world) which involves stealing King Neptune's crown. So, it's up to Spongebob and Patrick to retrieve the crown from the dreaded Shell City and save the day. The story is tight and briskly paced, the jokes keep coming, and there's plenty of great music. (While the characters sing most of the songs during the movie, the soundtrack also features nifty tracks by the likes of the Flaming Lips, Ween, Wilco and even Motorhead, most of which can be heard over the end credits.)

The regular cast of voice talent turn in their usual good performances, but so do the celebrity guest voices -- Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor and Alec Baldwin.

And as if all that wasn't enough, the film even has The Best David Hasselhoff Cameo Ever. That alone is worth the price of admission.

There aren't many drawbacks to the movie, except that some of the regular characters (particularly Sandy Cheeks and Gary the Snail) have been reduced to little more than walk-on parts. Even Squidward to horribly under-utilized. But in their place we get huge slabs of Plankton (not necessarily a bad thing at all) and we also get to see a lot more of the undersea world outside Bikini Bottom.

"Spongebob" is one of those rare animated series that appeal just as much to adults as to kids, but if you're new to the show and unfamiliar with the characters, you might want to start with some TV episodes just to learn who everyone is. But it's worth it to get the most out of this thoroughly enjoyable movie.

Best Line:
"You may have hoodwinked everyone else in this backwater town, but you can't fool me. I listen to public radio!"

Best Bit:
The “Goofy Goober Rock” number. Raise those devil’s horns!

Side Note:
If "Goofy Goober Rock" sounds familiar, that's because it's simply Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" with new lyrics.

Companion Viewing:
Why, the TV episodes, of course!

Official Site.
Bright Lights Film Journal: "Bikini Bottom Babylon". (Warning: some spoilers. Beyond that, an excellent critique of the movie.)

Take a Look:
The fine folks at Viacom seem to have scoured the Net clean of all clips from the movie, so you'll have to make do with these trailers from the official site. There do seem to be about 10 gajillion fan-made videos for "Goofy Goober Rock" over on YouTube, so you can check those out as well.

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