Friday, June 15, 2012
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (Stephen Hillenburg and Mark Osborne, 2004) Review
After a fantastically out of place and therefore hilarious dream scene, Spongebob (Tom Kenny) is set to arrive at the opening of the brand new Krusty Krab 2...right next to the first one. Upon arrival at the grand opening, he learns that his boss, Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), hasn't made him the manager instead making Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) the new manager. Krab's reason: Spongebob is too immature (surprising, I know). After a night out at Goofy Goober's Ice Cream...place...with his best friends Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), Spongebob shows up at work to find that King Neptune (Jeffrey Tambor) has had his crown stolen and blames Krabs. Neptune gives Spongebob and Patrick three days to return Neptune's crown from the hellish Shell City.
The cast is surprising. I was actually amazed and impressed at who they got to feature in this film. Now obviously the regular cast of the show perform the voices for their characters as always but there are some guest stars that really are surprising. I already mentioned Jeffrey Tambor as Neptune but his daughter, Mindy, is played by none other than Scarlett Johannson! Wha-? And there's also Alec Baldwin as the hitman Dennis and David Hasslehoff as...David Hasslehoff. Really. He isn't animated. It's just the Hoff! I really have no idea what they were thinking but IT WAS A DAAAMN GOOD IDEA!!! Their idea, not mine...you know, since I had no idea.
If I had any problem, I think the biggest would be the lack of Spongebob characters. Now what I mean is, while Spongebob and Patrick are present throughout, other characters aren't in it as much as you'd think. Mr. Krabs and Squidward feature quite a bit and my favourite character, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence/Doug Lawrence/whatever), acts as the main antagonist but it's the other main characters that are either absent or make a cameo. Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence) and Mrs. Puff (Mary Jo Catlett) appear briefly. The new characters make up for it so I guess it isn't a huge problem...more of a slight complication.
The most notable technique used is the blend of animation and real life. Once the narrative reaches a certain plot point, Spongebob and Patrick are taken to the shore which is captured with a video camera and the animated characters placed on top akin to the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I looks fantastic and the upgraded animation works well (not CGI, thank God) with the real life footage.
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie brings forward some ideas that, while not really new, are reinvented and looks great. The voice acting is top notch and has a fantastic soundtrack (I'm not kidding, it's really good!). The plot is inventive and epic for a Spongebob film and the new and existing characters are great fun. It might not be to everyone's taste but if you like the show or are just a big kid, you'll get a lot out of this film.
A surprisingly good leap to the big screen for a cartoon. A great cast and some fantastic voice acting makes this a delight.