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SpongeBob Movie, The: Sponge Out of Water (3D/2D)

9/10

Stars: Antonio Banderas

Voices: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Jill Talley, Mr. Lawrence, Clancy Brown, Dee Bradley Baker, Carolyn Lawrence, Matt Berry

Director: Paul Tibbitt. Mike Mitchell (live-action)

The majority of TV animation series stars firmly belong on the small screen that generated them.

No so daffy undersea dweller SpongeBob SquarePants whose second cinema venture is funny, imaginative, immensely likeable and, perhaps best of all, should entertain adults who accompany their kids to the cinema.

This time the sometimes-idiotic undersea dwelling invertebrate is forced to venture onto dry land with his aquatic allies to try and recover the stolen
secret recipe for Krabbie Patties on which the marine diner Krusty Krab where SpongeBob works relies for its success.

There’s plenty of plot, more than enough to sustain the infectious silliness that explodes above and below water as SpongeBob, unexpectedly allied with his usual enemy Plankton, sets out to save the day, on a deliciously daft odyssey that ingeniously involves the animated heroes venturing boldly onto dry land when their quest pits them against a loony live-action pirate in whose possession is a magical book that can solve every problem and bring peace back to the fast-turning-into-chaos undersea world of Bikini Bottom…

A gag-packed, often zanily surreal screenplay (Glenn Berger, Jonathan Aibel, from a story by Stephen Hillenburg and animation director Paul Tibbitt) owes more to invention than logic and is all the funnier for it, especially when the animated characters clash in live-action lunacy with live-action pirate Burger Beard, heartily hammed up by Antonio Banderas, who sensibly hides behind a beard.

SpongeBob and pals’ pursuit of Burger Beard raises plenty of laughs – think of the saga as Fast and Fatuous – and few lacunae. Lines like “Unleash the condiments!” - answered appropriately with “With relish!” - decorate a daft but exciting storyline that features time travel, peanut spitting and an inevitable sugar rush brought on by too much Cotton Candy, to add to a well-paced fun show that also features a pickle gun and singing and dancing seagulls.

And it’s enjoyable enough to entertain when screened ‘flat’ as well as in 3D.

Alan Frank

USA/India/Malaysia/Canada/Australia 2015. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 Apr 2015