The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run Review: It’s another Spongebob thing
Spongebob Squarepants returns for another animated cinematic misadventure with The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run and it’s basically what you’d expect.
The plot is oddly a mix between the first movie’s plot and the beloved Have You Seen This Snail? Spongebob special. Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence) is once again looking to snag the Krabby Patty secret formula but needs to get rid of Spongebob (voiced by Tom Kenny) since he realizes that he is always the reason that his plans fall apart. So, after seeing a decree from Poseidon (voiced by Matt Berry) to bring him a snail so that their slime can keep his skin nice and youthful, Plankton decides to kidnap Spongebob’s iconic pet snail Gary (also voiced by Kenny) and send him to Poseidon to forever be his face moisturizer. Thus, Spongebob and his best bud Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) embark on a road trip to retrieve Gary and come across some strange characters along the way.
In terms of story, there’s not a whole lot to say. It’s certainly not all that ambitious and plays like an extended episode special. It’s nowhere close to being as great, heartfelt, or slightly remarkable as the classic 2004 film. Essentially, it’s just the Spongebob formula on autopilot, but that’s not totally a bad thing. With the plot having a combining reminiscence of two great entries that are beloved by fans, there’s a bit of nostalgic quality outside of Spongebob himself that’s kind of nice to see. There’s a good amount of fun to be had in seeing a self-absorbed Poseidon, Spongebob read a story to the grill at the Krustry Krab, and watching all of the antics of Spongebob and Patrick.
Spongebob and Patrick have incredibly hilarious banter and get into some great shenanigans, but did you really expect anything less? These two have been the heart of this series from the start and that doesn’t change here. It’s super fun to see them run around in a Western world, have a wild and crazy night at the casino, and get into ridiculous little spats that showcase Patrick as the lovable buffoon we know him as. There’re even some moments at Camp Coral, which is the setting for the new animated series that this film is obviously a vehicle for, that are a lot of fun and create some cool first meetings for these characters. Now, is it annoying that most of the other characters don’t have much to do here? A little bit. Is it more annoying that this film is really trying to sell you on this Camp Coral series in a very blatant fashion? Definitely. However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t succeed in doing so and works as maybe the start of a new era for Spongebob – especially with this new kind of animation.
We’ve seen plenty of old, hand-drawn characters move to being 3-D and not exactly work out. This look is actually kind of interesting though as all of these classic characters are not only in 3-D, but also come with more detailed textures. Admittedly, it’s a little odd to see Sandy (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) have more realistic fur, but as a whole this a really cool look for Spongebob. It’s almost like computer generated Claymation and it creates some nice movement and some hilarious animation that still evokes the timing and style of Spongebob’s hilarity. It also works when Spongebob and Patrick work alongside some live-action cameos that are pretty bland outside of Keanu Reeves as a philosophical tumbleweed called Sage. The moments between Sage and Spongebob and Patrick are great and feel like everything you’d want to see between these two.
Sponge on the Run is far from being original or wildly ambitious and truly resides in the shadows of vastly superior Spongebob films and specials. Really, it’s just a long-winded advertisement for that new Camp Coral show on Paramount+ and it’s pretty lame to see that. However, anyone looking for something new from their favorite sponge under the sea will find something to enjoy here and maybe even a reason to check out that Camp Coral show.