The Film (4/5)
The first Spongebob Squarepants movie was released in 2004, that is over a decade between that film, and it's sequel The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water which sees it's Blu-ray release in this first week of June 2015. The creative team behind Spongebob have kept the undersea sponge busy since his first cinematic outing, as the show has continued to air with new episodes regularly on Nickelodeon. It appears that they were biding their time waiting for a story and style to open itself up to the continued big screen adventures of Spongebob.
I remember seeing the first Spongebob Squarepants movie during it's theatrical run, and was impressed by the transition the show made to the big screen. It did suffer a bit from feeling as if it were an episode extended and made for theaters, but overall it was an hour and a half of solid hijinks, and I can't think of anything else a Spongebob fan would want.
Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water plays thematically and stylistically in the TV series ball park at the beginning of the film. It sets up a typical Spongebob premise, Plankton attempting to steal Mr. Krab's Krabby Patty formula. However, almost as soon as this sequence starts the curtains peel back, and they begin to treat the scenario like a Hollywood action sequence out of a war film. Things begin to get further subverted from the typical Spongebob formula, when on the verge of actually securing the formula it disappears. This sets Spongebob and Plankton on a quest to retrieve the formula, to put things back to normal (within days of the formulas disappearance Bikini Bottom, Spongebob's hometown, looks like something out of post-apocalyptic cinema). This takes the pair through time, space, other dimensions, and across the sea to retrieve the Krabby Patty secret formula from the man (a pirate played by Antonio Banderas) who stole it for his own nefarious scheme (OK, for his food truck).
Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water is an excellent return cinematic outing for Spongebob and company. The film feels more cinematic in it's approach this time around, and it is just a wonderful off-the-wall, anything goes animated film experience. The humor in the film is written to work at multiple levels from the dialogue to the visual, and will have something for viewers young and old. The film begins in a traditional, but sharper version of the Spongebob animated style, before transitioning in the third act to stop motion, and a mix of live action and 3D computer animation as well. These transitions flow seamlessly into the film, as the whole affair feels more like a wildly funny cinematic roller coaster than a traditional cinematic narrative.
Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water has been presented in a splendid 1:78:1 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer. It really is no shock that an animated film from 2015 get such high marks, but the Spongebob Blu-ray is simply gorgeous. Colors pop from the screen, detail is excellent throughout, and I could find nothing to complain about.
The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English. The track like the video is excellent with dialogue, score, and effects coming through nicely, and no problems to report.
The Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water Blu-ray comes loaded with extras. The disc has multiple sections. The On the Surface Section concentrates on the making of the film, interviews with the cast, behind the scenes docs, and some parody material detailing Spongebob's daily life and wardrobe. The second segment Underwater Awesomeness, does something I wish more family films did with their releases, and detail some of the real world aspects of the fiction. In this case we get interviews and documentaries about the sea, the critters who live there, especially those that pertain to the world of Spongebob. The rest of the disc is packed with trailers, musical numbers, sing a longs, and deleted and extended scenes.
It look 11 years to get Spongebob back to the big screen, and the wait was absolutely worth it. Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water is a fun, funny, and frantic outing for everyone's favorite animated Sponge. The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing, and is packed with extra features. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.