Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie


Five and a half years after the Nickelodeon cartoon series started SpongeBob (Tom Kenny), Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) and the rest of Bikini Bottom make their big screen debut in this cracking cartoon comedy.

Desperate for the recipe for the krabby patty so that he can make The Chum Bucket a success Plankton (Doug Lawrence) frames Mr Krabs (Clancy Brown) for the theft of King Neptune's (Jeffrey Tambor) crown. Krabs is frozen solid and sentenced to death, however, Neptune agrees to free Krabs on condition that SpongeBob and Patrick return from Shell City in six days time with the crown, resulting in the pair embarking on a long, dangerous, treacherous treck over the ocean.

A lot of critics and viewers had doubts initially as a children's cartoon often fails to make a good film (look at all those direct-to-VHS/DVD feature-length Scooby-Doo cartoons). However, there was little reason to worry. The screenplay is witty, farcical and full of very good verbal and physical gags, which the voice cast use to bring their characters successfully to glorious, humanesque/anthropomorphic life. It does, however, like most screenplays, have its flaws. Supporting characters such as Krabs, Squidward and Neptune have comical moments and are enjoyable, although they don't feature enough, while some of the gags are quite over the top and bland, which would fail to engage the older half of the audience, even if they are amusing.

SpongeBob's and Patrick's hyperactive, dim-witted childishness is much more heartwarmingly funny than ever before thanks to their very developed roles in the screenplay, and their development over the course of the film into much more mature men is well-written. Plankton is a deliciously cunning villain, which is made funnier by the fact he's about 1/80 the size of the other characters. Krabs's and Squidward's (Rodger Bumpass) respective personalities of money-hungry and grumpy are as entertaining as ever, although the the running gag of Neptune's baldness does get a little repetitive and predictable. Arguably, however, the show is stolen by Dennis (Alec Baldwin), a hitman hired by Plankton to stop SpongeBob and Patrick. His strong, intimidating personality is well created by Baldwin's top-notch vocal performance, which makes the character attention-grabbing and powerful.

In short, this is a good quality, well-written cartoon, carried from start to finish by the entertaining screenplay and a good ensemble of characters, brought to great life by an strong voice cast.

Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Doug Lawrence, Clancy Brown, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor, Rodger Bumpass, Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff, Jill Talley, Neil Ross, Carlos Alazraqui, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett, Lori Alan.

Annie nominations: Best Animated Feature (Peanut Worm Productions), Directing in an Animated Feature Production (Stephen Hillenburg), Music in an Animated Feature Production (Gregor Narholz).

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