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The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (U)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: The Absorbing Tale Behind The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. Case of The Spongebob. Saving The Surf. Animatics. Teaser trailer.

SPONGEBOB SquarePants has rapidly emerged as one of Nickelodeon's most popular TV animated heroes, so it's little wonder to find him now venturing onto the big screen given the marketing potential such an outing offers.

What is surprising, however, is just how shamelessly enjoyable the subsequent movie is.

SpongeBob doesn't boast any groundbreaking innovations, or aspire to any great life-altering philosophies; he just wants to entertain and does so in spades.

Hence, fans of the TV cartoons will lap up his big screen adventure, while the uninitiated might just find themselves chanting the Spongebob anthem come the end as well.

The adventure in question picks up as SpongeBob prepares to accept the managerial position at the underwater Krusty Krab 2 restaurant he longs for, only to discover that it has been gifted to someone else.

Distraught and desperate to become an adult, SpongeBob and his best friend, Patrick (the loyal starfish) seek solace in ice-cream sundaes, unaware that redemption is just around the corner.

For SpongeBob's boss, Mr Krab, is about to be set-up by his nearest rival, Plankton, who steals vain King Neptune's crown and plants the evidence in the restaurant.

Hence, with Mr Krab's life in the balance, SpongeBob volunteers to retrieve the crown and save the day, thereby attracting the attentions of Neptune's mermaid daughter, while fending off all manner of hitmen, strange venues and real-life David Hasselhoffs into the bargain.

Given the big screen nature of the outing, several big names have been drafted in to voice new characters, such as Scarlett Johanssen (as Neptune's daughter) and Alec Baldwin, not to mention Hasselhoff's appearance late on.

But crucially director, Stephen Hillenburg, doesn't betray its roots and all of the central characters are voiced by the same people as on the TV, bringing a welcome sense of familiarity to all fans of the series.

There are probably heaps of in-jokes that newcomers won't get, but they are nicely mixed with some really good stand-alone set pieces and some juvenile humour that succeeds in putting a smile on the face.

As a result, kids will be easily pleased, while the child inside every adult will also find something to amuse them. Hurrah for SpongeBob and his pineapple under the sea!





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