SpongeBob Movie (The): Sponge Out of Water (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (26th June 2015).
The Film

Mad Max-level post-apocalyptic anarchy ("I hope you like leather!") hits the denizens of undersea township Bikini Bottom when the secret formula for Mr. Krabs' (Clancy Brown) Krabby Patties disappears; quite literally in a seemingly act of "molecular deconstruction" during a struggle between line cook Spongebob (Tom Kenny) and "Chum Bucket" rival restauranteur Plankton (Mr. Lawrence). When Mr. Krabs and the hopelessly addicted mob try to torture the location of the formula out of Plankton, Spongebob helps him escape and is accused of pulling a long con on his former friends. Now outlaws, Spongebob tries to teach Plankton the necessity of teamwork in finding the formula; but first he has to teach him the pronunciation and definition of "team". After burrowing into Spongebob's Cotton Candy brains for the formula and discovering nothing but sickeningly sweet thoughts of kittens and rainbows, Plankton can see no value in relying on Spongebob until he makes the offhand suggestion of building a time machine and going back before the formula disappeared. Despite successfully traveling back in time with a machine designed and powered by Plankton's computer wife Karen (Jill Talley) – with an unfortunate side trip to the future where they meet "The One Who Watches" also known as the dolphin Bubbles (Matt Berry), whose ancient race have protected the Earth for ten thousand years, just in time for a cataclysm – they are unsuccessful at retrieving the formula. When Sandy Cheeks (Carolyn Lawrence) – a conspiracy theorist squirrel who inexplicably lives in Bikini Bottom – divines that the Krabby Patties formula has disappeared because they angered the sandwich gods and can only mollify them with a sacrifice, Spongebob demonstrates his selflessness by offering to take one for the team. He is saved from sacrifice, however, when he scents the aroma of Krabby Patties. Unfortunately, their exodus from Bikini Bottom leads them to the surface. Fortunately, Bubbles shows up and vaults the group – consisting of Spongebob, Krabs, Sandy, cashier Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), and dim-witted Krabby Patty junkie Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) – to the surface where, after several treacherous adventures just getting across the beach, they discover that greedy pirate Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) is selling the delicacy out of his food truck/ship (even more shockingly to Mr. Krabs, he's selling them for $8.99/piece). After they discover the metafictional way in which Burger Beard was able to steal the formula, they attempt to get it back using the same means; but their happy ending is further threatened by Plankton, who has stowed away in Spongebob's gym sock and is out for himself.

Although obviously not intended for mature audiences or even the stoner audience of the Cartoon Network, despite a few in-joke nods like Shining-esque conjoined popsicle twins glimpsed during Plankton's hallucinatory exploration of Spongebob's brain, Nickelodeon Movies' The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is just this side of inane to hold interest amidst lowbrow laughs of ink-farting squids and wise-cracking seagulls (anonymously voiced by Tim Conway and Reno 911's Carlos Alazraqui among others) having the crap scared out of them. Although Banderas seems to enjoy doing kids moves, he is picking up a check here mugging for the camera and rolling his Rs while it seems some familiarity with the television series is required to determine if the roundabout plotting of the film is a carryover from the series or a way of stretching the story to feature-length; as it is, the film ends at about eighty minutes and outstays its welcome with a rap battle between Bubbles and the seagulls before a nine minute end crawl. The CGI versions of the characters blend well with the live action settings (in 3D in theaters and an alternate Blu-ray release of the film), but the stop-motion animation of Bubbles is deliberately artificial while the CGI is employed more impressively to give the appearance of stop-motion with a Harryhausen-esque skeleton during the opening sequence. The Pharrell Williams-penned theme song "Squeeze Me" is shoehorned awkwardly into the film with snippets during the time travel sequences and then as part of the nine minute closing credits sequence (the film actually ends at roughly eighty-three minutes). The easily entertained will be… well, easily entertained, but their parents or older siblings should find it a painless ninety-odd minutes.
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Video

Paramount's BD50 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 widescreen encoding of the film's 2D version (the 3D version is available in a separate three disc combo edition that features both 2D and 3D versions on separate Blu-ray discs and a DVD) looks consistently spectacular during the animated and live action sequences (shot by Phil Meheux), although the saturation is deliberately dialed up to a degree that gives it a certain cartoonishness.
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Audio

The primary audio option is an emphatic and enveloping English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that gives nice directionality to the sound effects (evident early on during Burger Beard's Indiana Jones-esque exploration of a booby-trapped island) and depth to the music (including a superfluous sampling of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly). Also included are an English Descriptive Audio 5.1 track and lossy 5.1 dubs in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as optional English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitle tracks (all of the extras have subtitles in these languages, minus the SDH track).
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Extras

Extras are plentiful, and divided evenly between those of interest to those curious about the behind the scenes aspects, and those to further entertain the target audience. The "On the Surface" featurettes discuss the differences between the film and the previous film and the television series in terms of scope, visual effects, and the mix of CGI versions of the characters and live action. We also get to meet the voice actors who discuss the characters and their reasoning for their vocal choices (as well as what they have to do physically to achieve the effects). The "Becoming Burger Beard" (6:06) featurette focuses not only on Banderas' characterization but also the design and make-up elements that went into creating his look. The look at the climactic chase sequence is a concise look at the choreography of the live action and CGI elements (including enhancements to live action elements). We also glimpse a low-fi animated version of the sequence used as a guide to recreate the live and computer elements on the set and in post.
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The "Underwater Awesomeness" featurettes are hosted by marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle who educates viewers on the real life equivalents of the environs and sea life of Bikini Bottom. Interesting but superfluous is the featurette "Meeting Bubbles" (2:58) and "The Speech" (1:15) which contain sequences from the film with the audio track toggling through the various dubs from Mandarin to Icelandic to Ukranian, and so on. The "SpongeBob Sing-Alongs" include the unused song "Thank Gosh It's Monday" (2:44) as well as "Teamwork" (1:23) and the end sequence "Theme Song/Rap Battle" (1:51), but the N.E.R.D. music video for the theme song "Squeeze Me" (2:35) is not transcribed. The various Deleted/Extended/Alternate/Test Scenes are fascinating for showing the steps from doodles to storyboards to various drafts, and the ways in which computer technology has allowed even the preliminary concepts to be animated (with the earliest drawings looking like digital flipbooks) to give a clearer idea of the final product. The included DVD includes the feature and a few previews but none of the BD extras.

Overall

 


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