The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water movie full length review - A satisfying second outing,...if not a little too outrageous
There are a couple of factors that come into play when TV cartoon characters have their big screen appearances. The biggest one being that the cartoon became so popular, a movie needed to be made.
Sometimes it also signals the end of the series. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) was originally creator's Stephen Hillenburg's finale to the TV series. However, after exceeding box office predictions, Spongebob was renewed for several seasons later. One would think after that showing would also warrant another big movie to be made soon after. Well it came,...surprisingly really late compared to how well received movies get a green lit sequel so quickly afterward. Sometimes, though the time is worth the wait and this can be said for Spongebob's 2nd big screen entry with some of the usual flaws (most obvious being continuity).
Like many other Spongebob episodes and the movie before this, Plankton is up to his old tricks again; attempting to steal Mr. Krabs' secret Krabby Patty formula. Except this time, there's more going on involving the secret formula than even Plankton knows. Out of nowhere, Krabs' secret recipe vanishes among the city of Bikini Bottom when a mysterious individual named Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) enters the picture. With that, the city of Bikini Bottom descends into chaos, so Spongebob decides he needs to find a way of getting the recipe back in order to restore his hometown into a tranquil society. The writing headed by Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel who were also the brains behind Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Monsters Vs Aliens (2009) accomplished what most fans of the series should enjoy. And although Stephen Hillenburg is not directing this time, his right hand man Paul Tibbitt is.
As an overall presentation there aren't many issues with this production. One of the most notably different things about this movie is that it doesn't exactly stay in line with the previous story of the last film. It's really difficult whether to classify this is a sequel or not. It feels like more of a reboot (for those who are debating). Nonetheless this is a minor flub. All the memorable voice-actors from the TV show return once again to voice their undersea counterparts and that's always important. Antonio Banderas as Burger Beard was certainly an interesting choice only because who could've thought Banderas could play such a convincing pirate? He proved himself of that and for his age, he still gets around quite well (which was also proved in The Expendables 3 (2014)). The dialog also leads to number of funny moments, all of which each main character gets even screen time to make a funny. Many of which these moments break the 4th wall.
This also can be a weak point unfortunately in the screenplay because being silly is fun, but the comedy sometimes goes a bit overboard. What the first film has that this one doesn't is a sense of realism. Here, some scenes get a bit nonsensical to where it denies the universe that The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) established. The reasons behind these frivolous events are explained, which is appreciated, but this is what detaches this entry from its last and what makes it questionable to whether it is a sequel or not. Then again, with these outlandish ideas come alternative animation visuals. For Spongebob's traditional animation sequences, the scenes are perhaps even more honed than the first entry; it looks crisp, clear and bright. Yet, what stands out even more is the live-action animation (also directed by Mike Mitchell, best known for directing Sky High (2005)). The character textures and 3D renderings look very well unified in their own right. Spongebob and friends almost look touchable and that's awesome.
Next in line with that are some very entertaining action sequences. This is more of the focus when the story hits its third act but it's worth the wait. Honestly for a Spongebob feature, seeing this much action never seemed like a possibility or interest the producers would ever want. Case in point, that was an incorrect assumption. A number of action sequences actually become quite inventive with how the conflict ensues. Well done. Phil Meheux's cinematography for the live-action scenes are also well constructed. Seeing that he was also the guy with the eye in The Mask of Zorro (1998),...which also had Antonio Banderas, seems only fitting. Much of the camera shots are well lit and wide enough to get a clear view of the scenery. John Debney, a composer who has previously scored multiple family comedy and action related films maintains his style by making the scenes appropriate where they need to be while including the Spongebob theme. Although there is one scene that doesn't belong to Debney which is where the film crew directly takes a snippet of Ennio Morricone's music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). This is still fun though.
Spongebob's second big screen outing is rightfully made bigger and more profound. The animation is more spot on, the returning voice-actors / live-action performance from Banderas, action and comedy all work hand in hand to make a fun ride. Occasionally though, it does go out into left field a bit more than its predecessor.