The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Take a walk down Silly Street, dump your brain in the bucket, forget Finding Nemo, Pixar and sophisticated CGI, this is anarchic animation in the pants-down tradition of Rugrats.

SpongeBob and Patrick are heroes from a nursery bathroom. One is a square sponge, with Ken Dodd teeth and spindly legs. The other is a pink, star-shaped blob, which appears a bit slow on the uptake.

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Despite these character defects, they become your friends. SpongeBob is optimistic, full of himself, cheeky and easily scared. There is one thing he hates, being called a kid. And there's one thing he loves, driving his hamburger bun faster than The Bad Things, of which there are many.

You are in Undersea, a cut-price version of Shark Tale - there are no sharks, for starters; too expensive on bit players - where the villain is called Sheldon J Plankton, who looks like a small green peapod with one eye. "I'm an evil genius," he informs SpongeBob. "And you're just a stupid kid." Arrr!!

The plot overrides intelligence and lets rip in a vat of molten imagination. King Neptune's crown has been stolen and, being fishy-tailed and subject to royal bouts of irrational rage, he freezes Krabs, a fast food operative, believing him to be the culprit. SpongeBob and Patrick are determined to travel to Shell City, expose the true thief, thaw Krabs and be rewarded with a position of responsibility, like grownups have.

Sheldon hires a black leathered motorbike assassin, with double-barrelled shades, called Dennis, to exterminate these pesky interlopers, while, with the artificial mind power of his wife, a talking computer, he brainwashes the gullible inhabitants of Shell City to become his slaves.

What lifts SpongeBob into the elite exclusivity of Andy's Room is the script, which is as daft as a brush and consistently funny. It will appeal to the baby in you, not the cool adolescent. SpongeBob has no aspirations in that department. He is unapologetic about his square yellowness, which may offend celebrity sea creatures. It's his personality that is irresistible, as well as his idiotic courage.

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2005
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An animated sponge and his starfish pal embark on an adventure.
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Director: Stephen Hillenburg

Writer: Derek Drymon, Tim Hill, Stephen Hillenburg, Kent Osborne, Aaron Springer, Paul Tibbitt

Starring: voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Mr Lawrence, Alec Baldwin, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor, Jill Talley, Roger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett

Year: 2004

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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