Review – A Real Fish, er, Sponge Out Of Water Tale (“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water”)

Yes, kiddies, he’s back! The terminally happy TV cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants of Bikini Bottom is back in another wacky adventure with his nutty friends and cohorts, and this time he’s CGI’d in the third act!
We start off with a live-action pirate named Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas having WAY too much fun here) obtaining a magical book that tells the tale of SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kennedy), his BFF starfish, Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) and his Bikini Bottom world and friends. He narrates this story to bunch of inquisitive CGI seagulls, BTW. But this magical book can also make whatever is written in it come true! His goal? Adding his own words that will harness the book’s power and steal the formula to a secret recipe… Bikini Bottom’s #1 consumed pleasure food: the greasy, but delicious Krabby Patty burger!
Meanwhile, under the sea (in 2D cartoon land), the diminutive, but altogether nefarious Sheldon J. Plankton (Douglas Lawrence) hatches yet another bizarre scheme to steal the secret recipe so his restaurant, the Chum Bucket, will have some customers. The laid back and sarcastic cashier, Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass), tries to seek cover as Plankton wages war on the Krabby Shack. But SpongeBob’s boss, the cantankerous and greedy Eugene H. Krabs (Clancy Brown), isn’t worried because he has the secret formula locked safely away in a safe. . . until it mysteriously disappears right in front of SpongeBob and Plankton. How did that happen?

No more Krabby Patties turns Bikini Bottom into an apocalyptic nightmare within seconds (with nods to Mad Max Beyond ThunderDome) and it’s up to enemies SpongeBob and Plankton to team up and save their home. After consulting Sandy Cheeks (Carol Lawrence), the only squirrel that lives in an undersea home, the two decide to build a time machine and stop the formula from being stolen. After a few wild side-trips and a brief visit with a futuristic talking intergalactic space-dolphin named Bubbles (Matt Berry), they discover the formula in the safe was faked! But how did… ?

Back to square one, SpongeBob’s keen nose sniff’s out Krabby Patties in the distant and his close friends travel to find the source. Thanks to Bubbles, SpongeBob, Plankton, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, and Mr. Krabs leave the 2D animation world, and become CGI’d, entering the REAL world! They discover, much to their horror, that Burger Beard has converted his mini pirate ship into a make-shift food truck and is selling the coveted burgers! He used the magic book to steal and switch formulas and, using it again, sends (writes) them all away to a far away island.

Undaunted, the gang finds they have a single page from the book and SpongeBob writes themselves back… as 6-ft tall mega-superheroes! The crazy war that ensues in the streets of Georgia is just plain wild and zany as Beard is defeated and everyone goes home to enjoy another tasty burger. Yum. Yum. Yum.

A terrific screenplay by Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel (Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2) and is for the SpongeBob fans out there. After the 2004 SpongeBob movie, the producers said that no other movie would be done, but this is a rare gem; a sequel that is better than the first. Funny for both kids and adults, with a lean running time of only an hour and a half, you don’t have any lag time in story. Thanks to director’s Mike Mitchell and Paul Tibbitt, this movie caters to the fan of the series with it’s outrageous puns, gags, visual humor, and when it moves into the live-action with the super-hero CGI characters, it raises the bar even higher. I was laughing along with the kids.

All the original voice-actors are back, the 2D animation is crisp and clean and even reminiscent of early Ren & Stimpy days, and then you have Antonio Banderas looking like he’s having more fun here than he’s had in any film lately. It’s that fine line between brilliant comedy and tired goofiness that this movie straddles and manages to pull off with such aplomb. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Krabby Patty with my name on it…

Mickey, Goofy, Donald: The Three Musketeers (2004)

A direct-to-DVD that really shouldn’t have been, this hysterical and well written re-telling of the classic Dumas tale, features the terrific trio of a mouse, a duck, and. . . whatever the hell Goofy is (a dog?) as inept swashbuckling swordsmen.

Disneyland’s icons, Mickey Mouse (Wayne Allwine voiced), Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo), Goofy (Bill Farmer), and Mickey’s dog, Pluto are street urchins in old France and are being robbed by masked bandits. But they’re saved by the Royal Musketeers, Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and D’artagnan. Afterward, Athos gives his hat to Mickey as a souvenir and the boys are inspired to become musketeers some day. Years later, the three are working as janitors in the palace, still dreaming of becoming musketeers, despite their flaws: Donald is a coward, Goofy is a “doofus” (no, duh!), and Mickey is “just too small”, according to Captain Pegleg Pete (Jim Cummings).

This leaves the three downhearted, but little do they know that down the hall, Princess Minnie Mouse (Russi Taylor) and her lady-in-waiting, Daisy Duck (Tress MacNeille), are discussing Minnie’s obsession with finding her “one true love”. Daisy says that, being a princess, she must marry someone who is of royal blood, but Minnie insists that she can’t marry someone she doesn’t love. Minnie says she will know that he is “the one” when he makes her laugh. Gee, I wonder who THAT will be? Hmmmm. . .

Capt. Pete, in a plan to kill the princess, hires the three janitors as the new Musketeers, thinking they’ll fail in protecting Minnie. But his dastardly plans backfire as each steps up and comically foils his doomsday deeds by sheer audacity, cunning, and gile. No, actually, they just wing it and silly stuff happens and it all works out in the end.

Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Nutty Professor), you couldn’t lose in the story and the dialoge. Snappy, fun, and full of inside jokes, puns, gags, and your standard Disney songs that make this a cut above some lame kid’s video you buy your 8-year-old to shut them up for an hour and a half. Directed by Donovan Cook with a flair for the funny, this movie was SO entertaining, I forgot I was watching a kid’s video as I was laughing out loud.

Example: Donald, knowing vital information, tells Mickey what he heard in a minute’s worth of exited duck-speech. Mickey just stares at him and says, “Donald, I can’t understand a word your saying!”. Do yourself a treat and rent this or go to YouTube and watch it for free.  

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