University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

A Goofy Goober review of ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’
Photo courtesy of Viacom
“The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” released Nov. 14, 2004 follows SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) on an heroic odyssey to retrieve Neptune’s (Jeffery Tambor) crown and save Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) and the sea as we know it.

The wheel, space travel, vaccines, the atomic bomb, the internet and language are all magnificent achievements of human creation, but none of these creations stand as tall as “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.”

“The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” released Nov. 14, 2004, is an American animated comedy based on the animated television series “SpongeBob SquarePants.” It was written and directed by Stephen Hillenburg and features the regular voice actors from the television show, consisting of Tom Kenny as SpongeBob, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs and Rodger Bumpass as Squidward.

In the film, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) puts in yet another plan to steal the Krabby Patty formula from his business rival Mr. Krabs, which is the key to the immense success of his business. Plankton plans to steal the secret formula and take over the sea by stealing King Neptune’s (Jeffrey Tambor) crown and framing Mr. Krabs for the crime. SpongeBob and Patrick team up to retrieve the crown from Shell City to save Mr. Krabs from Neptune’s wrath and their world from Plankton’s rule.

The curtains open on the grand opening of Krusty Krab 2, a chain extension of the Krusty Krab and an announcement of a promotion as manager of the franchise. SpongeBob spends all day excited to be promoted, but at the opening ceremony, Krabs gives the Promotion to Squidward. 

It is at this point that SpongeBob faces a true ego death. How is it possible that his entire career as a fry cook could be dismantled for “just being a kid?” His track record was glowing. Having been an employee of the month for 374 consecutive months, insinuating over thirty years of labor, having only missed work on two occasions, having a terminal case of the suds and an extreme mental breakdown. When he goes to confront Krabs, he is given a mission to prove his manhood.

SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) are “ice cream wasted” at Goofy Goobers Ice Cream Party Boat after they eat two tripple gooberberry sunrise ice creams. (Photo courtesy of Viacom)

A lot went into the production of this masterpiece. Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures approached the creator of the show for a film adaptation, but Hillenburg refused for more than a year as he did not see how he could maintain the cadence of the show while making something inspirational and “cinematically consequential.” 

So the film couldn’t be about just another day in jellyfish fields or SpongeBob’s typical adventures. It had to be a heroic odyssey with the odds stacked against the doofuses we all know and love. Something especially interesting about this movie is that, canonically, “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” is the last episode of “SpongeBob SquarePants.” 

Hillenburg also wished to end the show following the film so as to not “jump the shark” when it came to the show reaching its peak; however, Nickelodeon executives wanted more episodes, so the film marked the end of Hillenburg’s career as the series’ showrunner. 

With all of this being said, it is safe to say that the plot of this film is truly seamless. We get the full range of the hero’s journey. SpongeBob sets out on a six-day epic adventure to Shell City to retrieve King Neptune’s crown with his confidant best friend Patrick Star in “The Patty Wagon” while being hunted by Dennis (Alec Baldwin), a bounty hunter hired by Plankton. 

SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) encounter two country fish on their way to Shell City. This leads to one of the most iconic comedic scenes in the whole movie. (Photo courtesy of Viacom International)

This film is an unlikely but tremendous representation of internal growth and self-acceptance. SpongeBob thinks that the solution is to prove to the world that he is not just a kid. He thinks that the solution is to act manly by going on a fearless journey, but the fact of the matter is that it was his goofy and childlike wonder that helped him solve all of his problems. It is at the end that SquarePants makes this realization and shows himself and the viewer that it’s possible to be mature and a goofy goober. 

For generations and generations to come, the legacy of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” franchise will reign supreme over all animated cinema. I believe the poster says it best:

 “Hero. Legend. Sponge.”

What do you think of ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie?’


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