Spongebob: Sponge on The Run Movie Review

Ohhhhhhhhhh~~~~ you know how the rest of the song goes. Spongebob Squarepants recently saw worldwide distribution for its third theatrical release, Sponge on The Run, on Netflix. The movie is set to release in the US On Demand and via the CBS streaming service some time in 2021.

Don’t expect too much from this movie.

Sponge on The Run doesn’t stray from the usual formula of a Spongebob episode. Spongebob does something routine and something unique happens. In the case of the film, Spongebob goes to work as usual and he reminisces about meeting Gary and then Gary gets kidnapped by Plankton. A bunch of random, unrelated events occur and everything is back to normal.

Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge on The Run

Directed by: Tim Hill

Running Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Animation

I’m sorry. I have a love-hate relationship with this film. On one hand, I love the animation style used in Spongebob 3. The characters look like they were drawn in Blue Sky Animation’s The Peanuts Movie. We got a fusion of the classic 2D Spongebob design even in the fused Three-Dimensional and Two-Dimensional animation of the film.

Mr. Krabs being his usual self. (Screenshot from the move now on Netflix International)

I don’t have enough words to describe how beautiful the details are. The first movie had its charm when 2D Spongebob and Patrick went to the surface and rode on top of David Hasselhoff’s back for a ride back to the bottom of the ocean. The second movie gave us a glimpse into the current style being used for the third film.

Overall, I have nothing bad to say about the way the animation was created for the film. I’m not familiar with technical terms so all I can say is that the animation was wasted on a thin plot for old and new fans of Spongebob.

The Story

Wow. I have never been more disappointed with a Spongebob plot since the show started Season 5. The fourth season still had a few gems, such as Krusty Towers, but the quality of the series trended downwards by the fifth season. We didn’t get a high quality Spongebob episode until the episode “What’s Eating, Patrick”? That was such a good episode for the insanity it produced during a Krabby Patty Eating Contest.

High Quality Stuff

On the other hand, the plot of the film felt so forced. We had a dream sequence where Keanu Reeves appears as a sage to guide Spongebob and Patrick on their journey to save Gary from his kidnappers. What I did not like was the forced cameo to squeeze in Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo. No offense to the D-O-Double G and one of the toughest men in Hollywood, but their scenes were so unnecessary. It’s as if they were just snuck into the film for no reason. Danny Trejo was wasted as the “El Diablo” character. He was only there for a few minutes just like Snoop Dogg.

The scene could have easily been something else because it contributed nothing to the plot. Let me explain the scene. So Spongebob and Patrick hitch a ride with one of Plankton’s robots to save Gary in Atlantis…I mean Atlantic City. Keanu Reeves’ sage character requires Spongebob and Patrick to save the souls of ghosts from El Diablo played by Danny Trejo. A pointless dance sequence ensures featuring Snoop Dogg and a few minutes later, the soul of Danny Trejo’s character is free.

Pointless and disappointing. The movie had two major stars in the scene and all they could do was place them in a scene that had no correlation to the rest of the film.

I loved seeing Keanu Reeves give advice to Spongebob and Patrick though. I only wish he was more involved than just being a long cameo.

The rest of the film felt odd. Scenes involving Kamp Koral felt so forced in. You could tell the film is being used as a transition to the Kamp Koral series. I love Spongebob as much as any other person, but a Spongebob spin-off just doesn’t feel right.

I would like to believe that the crew making this film originally wanted a sign-off on the movie to mark the end of the franchise. Nickelodeon is a wonderful animation studio that has given us tons of memories, but they can’t keep on relying on the Sponge.

Numerous Nicktoons failed to gather momentum because Nick was looking for the next Spongebob. It doesn’t have to be like that. Look at a show like The Loud House. The show didn’t try to be like Spongebob in any way and had the opportunity to grow a following. Even Spongebob itself took 1 or 2 seasons before it gained its footing. Instead of cutting off shows before they even got a grip of the viewer’s eyes, let Nicktoons do their own thing like what the studio did in the 90s. Each Nicktoon was different but had an opportunity to develop a following.

Numerous Inconsistencies

The way that Spongebob 3 was written felt like the film would end the franchise as a whole but instead we’re getting a spin-off series that just doesn’t sit right with me. No offense to the crew working on the show, but the Kamp Koral idea feels like it had no part being in the movie.

The film introduces a spin-off series called Kamp Koral.

The concept of Kamp Koral even introduced a few plot holes such as Spongebob and Sandy meeting as children. It was clear from the first season that the two met as adults. I don’t know why they had to change the continuity of the show.

Spongebob and Sandy met in the first season episode Tea at The Treedome

There’s one last thing I need to add. Where the heck were Spongebob’s parents? Where was Pearl? Wouldn’t the relatives of the main characters be wondering where their family went to?

I know, I know. I’m overreacting to a show that doesn’t necessarily have a solid continuity, but changing everyone’s origins was so off-putting. Don’t even get me started on the random narrator at the beginning of the film who never appears again.

I thought the narrator would be a special character of some kind but we got Tom Kenny’s French Narrator return in the middle of the movie. What was the point of having a different narrator at the beginning? Why didn’t we just get Tom Kenny’s French Narrator from the beginning?

The numerous inconsistencies the film were so disappointing as a long-time fan of Spongebob.

The Acting

Tom Kenny stars as Spongebob Squarepants (Screenshot from the Vanity Fair YouTube Chanel)

No problems here. Everyone did their part. Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence and Carolyn Lawrence all played their parts excellently. They have been playing these characters for a little over two decades now.

The celebrity cameos did their part too. Whether it was Keanu Reeves as the Sage, Awkwafina as the robot or even Tiffany Haddish as an entertainer fish in Atlantic City, everyone was enthusiastic playing their roles. However, I feel like the move suffers from having too many celebrity cameos. Yes. I love the big time movie stars in the film but they take away from the people who should be the stars of the film and it’s the voice actors.

That’s why I love the celebrity cameos in the tv series more than the films. We only get one or two appearances in spurts.

Voice Actors are the stars of the show and the movies. Celebrity cameos are fine as long as they don’t take up too much time on the film and overshadow the voice actors.

Closing Thoughts

Honestly, this whole film felt like a money grab. I love the Spongebob franchise but Sponge on The Run as a whole doesn’t feel right. There’s just something off. What felt like a book-ender to the entire franchise felt like a disappointing ride filled with cameos that were wasted or even unnecessary.

The animation and acting were top notch, but the plot was all over the place. I love the Spongebob franchise as a whole but this movie sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s time to give other Nicktoons a chance to shine.

Final Score: ⭐⭐/5

Steven is an e-commerce employee by day and podcaster/blogger by night and co-founder of The Geeky Juans. He loves reading comics, watching pro-wrestling and cartoons. You can find him on Twitter @steviesaidyup where he shares his thoughts on the latest comics and cartoons.

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