Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass
Director: Tim Hill
Running Time: 91 mins
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run is an American film following SpongeBob and Patrick as they journey to the lost city of Atlantic City to save Gary the snail from the vain sea king Poseidon.
This is the third SpongeBob movie, and amazingly, the third great SpongeBob movie. Though perhaps not as epic as The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie or as off-the-wall as Sponge Out Of Water, Sponge On The Run is still full of laughs, zany characters and even gorgeous animation that departs from the style of the original series.
There are very few third instalments of franchises taking kids’ TV shows and putting them on the big screen which work quite as well as Sponge On The Run, and there are two main reasons for that.
Firstly, this film has almost nothing to do with the previous two movies. It’s just another fun-filled adventure that doesn’t try to get bogged down in overly complex storytelling, instead focusing all of its energy on giving you the funniest movie possible.
Secondly, Sponge On The Run is incredibly faithful to the original series, retaining almost all of its legendarily zany energy. Apart from the difference in animation style, this movie unfolds at times just like a feature-length episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, with the same frenetic pacing, non-stop humour and family-friendly heart and sense of adventure.
If you grew up watching SpongeBob like I did, then I can assure you that you’ll really enjoy this third movie. As I said, it isn’t quite the same epic adventure as the first movie, and its comedy isn’t as insane as the first sequel, but it plays out in very similar fashion to episodes of the original show, only with a few added big-screen bonuses.
When it comes to the animation, I can remember having strong reservations about the use of 3D-style animation in Sponge Out Of Water, only for the movie to still largely be traditionally animated.
This film, however, is entirely 3D-animated, but it’s done in a style which finds a really nice middleground between modern and traditional animation. It’s very similar to The Peanuts Movie and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, both of which were visually gorgeous and managed to bring 3D animation to a traditionally 2D property really nicely.
Believe me, I’m a massive gatekeeper of traditional animation, but of all the modernised, CGI-ified animated movies out there today, this style is without doubt the best alternative to good old traditional animation.
Finally, a word on the movie’s use of celebrity cameos, pop music and cultural references. Normally, kids’ movies which go down this route are almost always destined to fail (just look at Scoob! from this year), but Sponge On The Run pulls another miracle out of the hat and makes it all work brilliantly.
On the whole, that’s because this movie never takes itself too seriously, first and foremost delivering a fun-loving story that brings us back to Bikini Bottom, and never tries too hard to bring Bikini Bottom into the real world.
It’s fast-paced, brilliantly zany, visually gorgeous and full of laughs from beginning to end. It’s delightful to see the return of the full voice cast from the original series, and Sponge On The Run does a great job of being faithful to Steven Hillenburg’s classic cartoon. So, that’s why I’m giving The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run a 7.5 overall.