This first of all: The marketing campaign emphasizing CGI versions of the beloved denizens of Bikini Bottom—SpongeBob (Tom Kenny), Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), et. al.—out in the live-action world is somewhat misleading, since only the final 20 minutes or so employ that approach. The rest is more or less an expanded episode of the long-running Nickelodeon animated series, and yet another plot involving the dastardly Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) trying to steal the secret recipe for Krabby Patties, though this one is narrated by a pirate played by Antonio Banderas. The familiar stuff is actually what works best, providing the show’s familiar mix of smarts and silliness, like an omniscient dolphin who wears a cape and shoots lasers out his blowhole. But it kind of falls apart once the characters hit dry land, and the efforts to make something pumped-up for the big screen result in a loud and frantic bunch of action set pieces that feel cribbed from every Marvel Comics movie. So the problem isn’t not enough CGI SpongeBob; it’s the realization that it would have been better with none at all.
Director: Paul Tibbitt and Mike Mitchell
Producer: Paul Tibbitt, Mary Parent, Stephen Hillenburg and Cale Boyter
Cast: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, Antonio Banderas, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Slash and Christopher Backus
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water