Everyone’s favourite yellow sponge returns for his third movie debut alongside the usual cast of ocean-dwelling misfits in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. After the kidnapping of his beloved pet snail Gary, SpongeBob sets off on a rescue mission with his best friend Patrick and a robot named Otto (Awkwafina). Headed for The Lost City of Atlantic City to confront the self-obsessed King Poseidon (Matt Berry) who is using Gary’s slime as a beauty treatment, the duo must undertake a series of increasingly bizarre challenges before they can reach Poseidon’s palace and save Gary.
The writers of this film leaned heavily into the absurdist humour that made the TV series so popular and, while they did manage to capture the spirit of the original, SpongeBob and friends flit from one weird situation to another so randomly that it’s almost confusing. A dream sequence involving a sentient tumbleweed (Keanu Reeves), a saloon full of zombie pirate cowboys, El Diablo (Danny Trejo) and a musical sequence starring Snoop Dogg is just one of many surreal segues that somehow manage to elicit a laugh despite making absolutely no sense.
Although Sponge on the Run’s fairly basic plot makes it the weakest in the trilogy, it does manage to stand on its own two feet. The unique humour coupled with heart-warming scenes of love and friendship will bring multiple kinds of tear to your eye, and the soundtrack featuring original songs by Weezer, Snoop Dogg, J Balvin and others will leave you tapping your foot long after the movie is over. The combination of live-action and CG animation also makes for a visually interesting and often hilarious watch, and its super-star cast and all-ages punchlines make this a movie that the whole family will enjoy. I’d give it four out of five stars!