While I didn’t grow up with the series due to not having cable, SpongeBob SquarePants is an animated series that I quite enjoy. I love the characters, the humor, and the underwater setting of the Nickelodeon show. A major success, it wouldn’t be long before the franchise spawned theatrical feature films.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was released in 2004 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was released in 2015. I haven’t seen both recently, but I think I enjoyed them fine and especially admired the richer animation shown therein due to a higher budget!
In 2020, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (another SpongeBob movie, but this time utilizing CG animation) was released. What did I think of this third offering? Read on to find out!
Also, there will be spoilers!
Directed by Tim Hill, the film takes place underwater in Bikini Bottom where we see our favorite characters living their usual lives. SpongeBob and Patrick (voiced by Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke, respectively) are best friends and enjoy being goofy together. Their neighbor, Squidward (voiced by Rodger Bumpass), is perpetually annoyed by the duo.
Money-loving Mr. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown) runs the famous eatery, the Krusty Krab, where SpongeBob and Squidward work. And Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence) schemes up new ways to steal Mr. Krabs’ secret formula for his Krabby Patties.
However King Poseidon of Atlantic City (voiced by Matt Berry) has a bit of personal trouble. He uses sea snails to keep his skin looking perfect, but soon runs out of his supply. He offers a reward of providing a boon to anybody who can provide him with a sea snail.
Plankton sees this and decides to kidnap SpongeBob’s snail, Gary (voiced by Tom Kenny), and offer him to the King. When SpongeBob notices Gary missing, it’s up to him and Patrick to go on a quest to find and rescue Gary!
That’s pretty much the plot of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. And honestly, I had a really good time with this film! I would say that it’s probably my favorite of the trilogy!
While the plot is pretty simple, I admired the dedication shown in portraying the characters as accurately as possible and staying true to the series. It was nice seeing SpongeBob display anger instead of just being perpetually happy as well as to see Patrick be helpful and not perpetually idiotic. However there were some character choices that felt off such as Sandy (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) attacking Mr. Krabs and Squidward when she can’t find SpongeBob or Mr. Krabs giving the formula to Plankton because he misses SpongeBob.
At the end of the film, SpongeBob is put on trial by King Poseidon and there is a segment wherein SpongeBob’s friends defend his character and mention how he met them when they were at summer camp as kids. I really admired this scene of defending SpongeBob, although I wasn’t fond of the retconning of the origins of how SpongeBob and the gang met.
There also were some missed opportunities in the film. For example, after Plankton receives the secret formula from Mr. Krabs, he doesn’t feel overjoyed as he thought he would. So he decides to help Mr. Krabs and Squidward find SpongeBob. But he never apologizes for or admits to kidnapping Gary. I feel if he’s going through such a personality change to assist Mr. Krabs and Squidward in finding SpongeBob, he should have at least admitted to the Gary-napping!
Also later in the film there is a musician who looks exactly like Squidward. I honestly thought they were going to have the gang replace Squidward with the musician to sneak into King Poseidon’s palace; I felt that joke wrote itself!
There also were things left unexplained. For example, what exactly was the boon that Plankton sought from the King? It’s never mentioned which I find puzzling.
Besides those issues with the plot, I still enjoyed the film overall. I loved the CG animation and felt that it really meshed well with the show! I also loved Keanu Reeves’ appearance as a tumbling sage. Awkwafina had a voice role as a defective robot named Otto which although a fun character, I don’t fully get why they had her voice the character and not a regular voice actress. And I don’t really get the whole scene with Danny Trejo’s character, but I’m not upset about it.
All in all, this film granted me what I was expecting and I would definitely be down for another SpongeBob film!