The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Blu-ray review
Disclaimer: This reviewer has never seen the Nickelodeon series SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, nor has this reviewer seen the first theatrical adaptation, 2004’s THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE. This reviewer is only aware that the character lives in a pineapple under the sea.
As this sequel opens, a pirate named Burger-Beard (Antonio Banderas, showing a playful side audiences haven’t seen since the SPY KIDS movies) lands on a booby-trapped island, where he comes across a book (way overdue at the library) about none other than SpongeBob Squarepants (Tom Kenny, who recently won an Annie Award for his work on Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME). SpongeBob works as a cook at The Krusty Krab, the most popular restaurant in Bikini Bottom (how’s that for innuendo?). Their most popular item, the Krabby Patty, has all but put out the rival burger joint, The Chum Bucket, out of business, leaving its owner, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence, who also voiced Filbert on Nickelodeon’s ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE), jealous and determined.
Bent on getting the secret recipe, Plankton launches war. Following an altercation between SpongeBob and Plankton, the recipe suddenly disappears, leaving Bikini Bottom in an apocalyptic state. To put this in perspective, imagine the world now if Pizza Hut’s Hot Dog Bites Pizza were just ripped from our hands. For the sake of burgers and the sanity of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob and Plankton team up to track down the recipe. (No need to worry, die-hards, fan favorites Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs turn up; those seeking David Hasselhoff will be greatly disappointed.)
If the rest of the SpongeBob canon—which includes hundreds of TV show episodes, two movies, comic books and who-knows-how-much-else—is as off-the-wall, over-the-top, trippy and confusing as this (an intergalactic dolphin who watches over the universe?), then fans (whatever age they may be) will be pleased with the outcome of THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER. At the same time, so long as the general heart of the franchise is there, this sequel (directed by Paul Tibbitt, who served as screenwriter and storyboard artist on THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE) will be a success.
The animation is quite nice and has a much crisper look than the TV series. The colors alone will delight a younger audience, although they might wonder how they, too, can vomit up a rainbow. One of the bigger draws, though, is what was featured prominently in the trailer and poster: the live-action sequence, which does indeed put sponge out of water. Mixing animation and live-action is decades old, but it still works here. The sequence, directed by Mike Mitchell (ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED, SHREK FOREVER AFTER), is a seamless blend and will surely tickle anyone who has wondered what sort of chaos SpongeBob and company could cause in the real world.
THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER won’t likely garner an entirely new fanbase, but it will suffice while the series is on hiatus. It might also make you wonder what exactly was in your popcorn.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The traditional animation, CGI and live-action sequences all look crisp and colorful, and the latter two mesh together nicely in this high-definition transfer.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The audio is also without any detectable flaws, with clean dialogue, pristine music (both the score and the songs) and sharp sound effects.
On the Surface: Housed here are six featurettes: SpongeBob Squarepants: Out of His World (7:40), When I Grow Up: I Want to Make Funny Sounds (9:41), Becoming Burger Beard (6:06), Making the Burger Mobile Chase Sequence (5:40), It’s Hip to be Squarepants (3:31) and A Day in the Life of a Sponge (2:32). Topics covered throughout these featurettes include the storyline, the characters, the live-action/animation portions, the voice work, Antonio Banderas’ transformation into the villainous Burger Beard, creating certain key sequences and square fashions (presented in a tongue-in-cheek manner).
Underwater Awesomeness houses three featurettes: Plankton Rules the World! (6:21), Bikini Bottom Confidential: Rock Stars of the Sea (9:28) and International Sponge of Mystery (2:58; 1:17). In this pieces, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle goes to the bottom of the sea to explore plankton, submarines, diving and more are highlighted and some scenes are featured in various languages.
Bikini Bottom Boogie collects a handful of music-related pieces: Thank Gosh It’s Monday (2:39), in which SpongeBob is pleased with Mondays, SpongeBob Sing-Alongs, which includes “Thank Gosh It’s Monday,” “Teamwork” and “Theme Song/Rap Battle” and the “Squeeze Me” Music Video by N.E.R.D.
Deleted/Extended/Alternate/Test Scenes (25:53): There are 14 here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Thank Gosh It’s Monday,” “Thank Gosh It’s Monday Storyboard Extended Version,” “Making Krabby Patties,” “Erasing SpongeBob’s Memory,” “Experimenting with a New Formula,” “Hunger Hypothesis,” “It’s Alive,” “Burger Beard Flashback,” “Teamwork Extended Storyboard Version,” “Teamwork Original Version,” “When We Are,” “Too Far Back,” “Mad Chase” and “Guitar Case Backstroke.”