If you are not already a fan of the guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea, stop reading. The character of SpongeBob is one that audiences have really gravitated towards ever since the franchise began in 1999. There was a comfort in his innocence and naivety that everyone needs. Even in his cinematic portrayals, the movies kept that insatiable innocence that just made all of us feel good. Now we're back to a 3D adventure with everyone's favorite titular sponge and his friends. After his beloved pet snail Gary is kidnapped, SpongeBob and Patrick go to The Lost City of Atlantic City to get him back.
There's a trust garnered between him and audiences to always be fun and ridiculous with this character. "Sponge on the Run" acknowledges that very thing by cranking the ridiculousness up a notch. Director Tim Hill applies the 3D aesthetic to this familiar world by letting the animation speak for itself. The heightened effects are so odd and surreal that you can't look away from them. If you're a fan of the show or not, there's just so much to take in visually that you'll never be bored. This is largely what makes the film so effective since it clocks in at 91 minutes, but so much is crammed in. It's these sorts of narrative choices that might also be a detriment to the enjoyment you could have.
The film is premiering on the newly retitled streaming service Paramount+. Along with the film, a new television series, "Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years," is also on the service. With moments from the show in the film, they feel out of place in the film's story. These sequences feel entirely out of place in SpongeBob's central story trying to get Gary back. This sort of shameless marketing doesn't seem to have a purpose and feels entirely unnecessary. It just feels like an excuse to sell toys and subscriptions to the Paramount+. Besides that, it's set at a rental process of $19.99 that feels nothing more than a schtick to sell a service.
Being a fan of SpongeBob my entire life definitely made me more forgiving of the ridiculousness on display. Having cameo's that vary from Danny Trejo to Keanu Reeves gives the story the feeling of a sugar rush. The trick is that they're in on the joke of being over the top adventure for kids. At the end of the day, both cast and crew clearly defined and created the film they wanted. Unlike the typical children's film that aims for the lowest common denominator, here they go for a sight gag. There's nothing here that's trying to be more than what it wants to be. For something for kids premiering on streaming, you can do a lot worse.
"Sponge on The Run" is a welcome addition to the lineage of this beloved character. It doesn't necessarily offer us anything new about this world, but it's a fresh take that gave me some laughs. The 3D animation is gorgeous and gives both young and old audiences something new to latch onto. While not all the gags land, there's still a clear understanding of pushing this over-the-top story to its limits. It's not enough to warrant getting a subscription to the service, but it has its moments. When you have a chance to see the film, adult or child, I have to recommend it from just how much there is to take in. Certainly nothing new, but a fun enough ride on its own merits.
Watch Trailer Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2cowVH03Xo