Review by Camden Ferrell
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the third full length feature film about everyone’s favorite sea sponge and his friends. Tim Hill, a frequent writer for the SpongeBob franchise, both wrote and directed this film. Even though it tries to shake up its style, this film is a repetitive mess that doesn’t live up to the standards of the franchise.
When a plot finds SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary abducted, he must go on a journey with his friends to the Lost City of Atlantic City in order to find his lost friend. This story is simple, but it rehashes very similar plot points that have been used elsewhere in the character’s history.
Unfortunately, the jokes and visual gags from this film are just as repetitive and recycled as its premise. Most of the humor in this movie is limited to purely slapstick that gets old very quickly. Otherwise, many of the jokes and punchlines are unearned and lazy. There are a handful of genuinely funny moments, but it’s severely outweighed by the less stellar parts of the film.
The voice cast is adequate as always. However, there does seem to be a subtle lack of enthusiasm from a cast that has been in these roles for multiple decades now. It’s not too distracting, but it lacks a lot of the charisma of its glory days. There are some really interesting celebrity cameos, but they don’t factor prominently into the film.
The animation style is also an aspect that weighs down the film. This new 3-D style of animation is interesting, but it’s a little gratuitous and flashy. It’s harder to take in certain scenes due to this style, and it feels like the movie could have been less visually distracting if they stuck to their typical 2-D animation.
A lot of the movie feels very inconsequential which makes it hard to care about the characters and their journeys. It’s first act is decent and charming, but it’s final two acts, don’t do much to build on its foundation to tell an emotional story. It’s shallow, and a lot of the film seems to serve as an appetizer to the new series for the Paramount+ streaming service.
In addition to this movie, they are also releasing a new show, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years. This show is alluded to significantly in the movie; but sadly, it’s less engaging than the film. Its 22-minute episodes feel too long for the lazy writing and storytelling. It may appeal to die-hard fans, but it’s a disappointing endeavor into a spin-off show for SpongeBob.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run may be a great film to keep the kids occupied during the weekend, but it will underwhelm fans looking for a movie that lives up to the standards of the series. It feels lazy and repetitive, and it pales in comparison to the other films.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will be streaming on Paramount+ and will also be available on VOD March 4.