It's true that trailers usually lie to get people to see a movie in a theater. The trailer for this one did lie a bit too, but in a way I never seen before: the CGI characters interacting with a live-action beach town and battling Burger Beard actually takes up only the last FOURTH of the movie! The rest is a showcase of nearly all the kinds of animation styles on the planet, with the hand-drawn style from the TV show taking up most of the run time. That's right… against all odds, the 2nd most successful February opening of all time is a mostly HAND-DRAWN ANIMATED movie, and USA audiences were essentially tricked into seeing one! This makes a fan of the old traditional ways like me happy.
Sadly, the story was kinda WORSE than I expected. Because the meat of the action really takes place at the end, the rest is comprised of the more usual comedic/talky antics seen in the TV show with story points that are either grossly exaggerated or come out of nowhere, which many may not be prepared for when wanting something more conventional. It DID feel like some scenes ruined the pace. How would the loss of a recipe for a fast food restaurant and no Krabby Pattys put a peaceful town into an apocalyptic Mad Max-like riot in a second? The time machine side plot was included to introduce Bubbles who would help them all out later, and give Plankton more time to learn teamwork, but it was otherwise an unnecessary addition- the goal they were both trying to achieve with the machine was ruined by Spongebob by around the hour point, putting the characters back to square one. You can tell the TV writers were struggling to find a way to make a new story to fill a 90-minute runtime.
Antonio Banderas is one of the few actors who can act seamlessly on a set to cartoon characters who do not exist, right up there with Brendan Frasier, and he carries all his scenes with ease. One other thing the trailers didn't tell us was that the seagulls that Beard narrates part of the story to can TALK, which I was initially against seeing as how they're clearly elements of the "real" world, …. until I discovered they are voiced by some of the best Los Angeles cartoon voice actors working today like Rob Paulsen, Kevin Michael Richardson, Eric Bauza, Cree Summer, Billy West, and more, which made up for it! They take up a lot of the humor in Banderas' scenes and I warmed up to them eventually, even though I understand how they can be annoying.
Overall, this was a hilarious, harmless, film that captures the random humor of the 1920's cartoons, but doesn't really get going until the third act. Haters of the more recent seasons can REST EASY! grin emoticon I'm glad that this time, Squidward and Sandy got to be supporting roles instead of ancillary characters in the first Spongebob movie. I appreciated the subtle nods to even the first season (Plankton exploring Spongebob's brain is something he did early on, the "Teamwork" song is near identical to the "Friendship" song, Squidward reprises his creative "interpretive dance" animation that he hasn't done in about 15 years!), which only the returning writers from the first season can bring back. The story could use work, but everything else is worth admission!
I'm heading a series called TidBits With Norm & Cory over on YouTube and my Patreon account! Look out for a new episode of #tidbits with #normandcory this month! And starting in February, my patrons will be listed in the end credits! Be sure to support me or spread the word about my Patreon account today!
Episode 1: [link]
Episode 2: [link]
Episode 3: [link]
Episode 4: [link]
- www.vimeo.com/andrewkaiko/norm… See my short Norm & Cory in full!
- Orbis Park won a 2012 ASIFA East Award for Excellence in Design in the Independent Film category. It tied with an SVA thesis called The Girl And The Fox. Congratulations to all the winners! And as always, my short can be watched in its entirety here: fav.me/d4hu4xq !