Review: Nautical nonsense punctuates fun 'Sponge On The Run'
Courtesy of Paramount+
There’s plenty of nautical hijinks and crustation filled mayhem happening in Bikini Bottom where notable sea critters SpongeBob SquarePants, Squidward Tentacles and Patrick Star live out their daily lives either working for Mr. Krabs down at the Krusty Krab, playing their clarinet or living under a rock. Written and directed by ”Spongebob Squarepants” series staple Tim Hill – and dedicated to the late Stephen Hillenburg, a former marine biologist turned cartoonist who created these characters – “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run” has a little something for everyone: Keanu Reeves as a tumbleweed sensi, adult humor that’ll fly over kiddos heads, and tons of heart despite a narrative that basically serves as a 90-minute teaser for “Kamp Koral” (a “SpongeBob” prequel set to launch on Paramount+).
The first SpongeBob movie to forgo traditional 2D animation in favor of CGI, “Sponge on the Run” doesn’t lose the charisma or buoyancy of these characters, bottling the essences of why children and adults have cherished their time in Bikini Bottom. Saddling-up for a brand-new feature-length adventure that includes everyone from Snoop Dogg to Danny Trejo as well as poppy, extravagant musical numbers performed by Weezer, Cyndi Lauper, and one called “Krabby Step” sung by Tyga, Swae Lee and Lil Mosey, “Sponge on the Run” isn’t short on energy.
Essentially a road-trip buddy comedy – as Patrick dutifully proclaims – “Sponge on the Run” is set in motion via an uptight King Poseidon (voiced by British comic Matt Berry from “What We Do In The Shadows”) whose endless supply of beautification snails are running out. Worried about his complexion – a royal leader is only as powerful as his skincare regime – he sends a chancellor from his headquarters in Atlantic Ciry to collect fresh bait.
In Bikini Bottom, Plankton’s hellbent persistence on stealing the elusive Krabby Patty formula hits a snag and kidnaps (or would it be snailnap?) SpongeBob’s pet snail Gary, hoping his and Patrick’s brief removal from the scene can net him the goods. Traveling with Otto (voiced by Awkwafina), one of many robotic creations engineered by Sandy Cheecks (Carolyn Lawrence) SpongeBob and Patrick take a cross-sea odyssey to save Gary before he becomes Poseidon’s slave. The chaotic and often irrelevant plot makes as much sense as it sounds with a steady stream of silly gags and vibrant, colorful animated sequences populating the background.
The original voice cast returns for the movie: Tom Kenny’s infectious SpongeBob cackle can be heard for miles and Bill Fagerbakke’s Patrick Star remains the perfect balance of buffoonery and charm. Rodger Bumpass’s moody Squidward Tentacles, Clancy Brown’s money-loving Mr. Krabs, and Mr. Lawrence’s pint-sized Plankton are all accounted for. Together they create another memorable undersea adventure where any young tyke who fancies themselves a SpongeBob fan shouldn’t be disappointed, and parents won’t hate themselves for tagging along.
THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN debuts on Paramount+ and premium VOD Thursday, March 4th