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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
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Genre: Animation
Adventure
Comedy-drama
Family
Directed By: Tim Hill
Produced By: Ryan Harris
Written By: Tim Hill
Based On: SpongeBob SquarePants by Stephen Hillenburg
Starring: Tom Kenny
Awkwafina
Clancy Brown
Rodger Bumpass
Bill Fagerbakke
Mr. Lawrence
Jill Talley
Carolyn Lawrence
Matt Berry
Reggie Watts
Keanu Reeves
Snoop Dogg
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Peter Lyons Collister
Distributed By: Paramount+
(United States)
Paramount Pictures
(Canada & China)
Netflix
(International)
Release Date: August 14, 2020 (Canada)
November 5, 2020 (worldwide)
March 4, 2021 (United States)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $60 million
Box Office: $4.8 million
Franchise: SpongeBob SquarePants
Prequel: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Playing with Fire (by Nickelodeon Movies' filmography release)
Sequel: Paw Patrol: The Movie (by Nickelodeon Movies' filmography release)
Saving Bikini Bottom (spin-off movie, by release date)
Untitled fourth theatrical SpongeBob movie


"Some people had mixed thoughts on the new SpongeBob movie, "Sponge on the Run", setting aside the shoehorned in Kamp Koral advertisments. I liked a lot of parts of this, inculding the new animation style. And I certainly enjoyed the guest appearances."
PhantomStrider


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a 2020 American live-action/computer-animated adventure comedy film and the third theatrically-released film based on the animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. It was theatrically released in Canada on August 14, 2020, and was released worldwide on Netflix on November 5, 2020. In this movie, SpongeBob and Patrick go on a rescue mission to save Gary, who's been snailnapped by King Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City. It is the third SpongeBob SquarePants film in the franchise, released on March 4, 2021 on premium video-on-demand and Paramount+ in the United States. On July 15, 2020, Netflix acquired international distribution rights to the film, excluding the United States, Canada, and China. On July 30, 2020, Paramount Pictures Canada announced that the film would be released in Canadian theaters on August 14, 2020. The website for the movie also lists this airdate, but automatically redirects to the SpongeBobMovie Facebook page for viewers in the United States. The film was released internationally on Netflix on November 5, 2020.

Plot

When SpongeBob SquarePants' beloved pet snail Gary goes missing, a path of clues leads SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick to the powerful King Poseidon, who has Gary held captive in the Lost City of Atlantic City. On their mission to save Gary, SpongeBob and the Bikini Bottom gang team up for a heroic and hilarious journey, where they discover nothing is stronger than the power of friendship.

Good Qualities

  1. Just like the first and second movies, it stays completely faithful to the TV series.
  2. Gorgeous CGI animation that is just as good as that of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, if not better. It also manages to capture the feel of the 2D animation of the series, and the animation looks like it replicates stop-motion animation. It even feels like it was from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse or a video game by Hisashi Nogami.
  3. Great voice acting as usual. What's interesting is that SpongeBob, Squidward, Patrick, and Sandy have all been given kid actors during the flashbacks to when they were at a summer camp called Camp Coral.
    • Just like the 2nd movie, SpongeBob's voice sounds so good like the first 3 seasons and seasons 8-present, sounding much better than the first movie again.
  4. Decent cameo appearances from Awkwafina, and Keanu Reeves, despite their appearances doing very little for the story. Their respective characters, Otto and Sage, are enjoyable and their respective scenes stand out in comparison to others.
  5. Easter eggs throughout the movie which reference specific episodes of the series, notably in one shot where one can see a robot version of SpongeBob, referencing "Welcome to the Chum Bucket". There is also one shot in which concept art of an early design for SpongeBob himself is shown on a sticky note.
    • The Patty Wagon from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie returns in this film.
    • The Electronics Outhouse from "Hello Bikini Bottom!" also makes a small cameo in the scene where SpongeBob is spreading flyers about Gary across Bikini Bottom.
  6. Some heartwarming moments here and there, including Patrick's backstory as well as the tribute to series creator Stephen Hillenburg.
  7. It has very very sad moments, such as the scene where Mr. Krabs gives up and gives Plankton the secret formula and the scene where SpongeBob's friends make a long speech about friendship and love, thus making it the most emotional SpongeBob movie ever.
  8. Much like the first two movies, the characters are still likable.
  9. Excellent and beautiful musical score by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro, with the best part being the intro theme.
  10. The character designs for the Camp Koral SpongeBob characters are cute except for Sandy.
  11. The film has plenty of funny moments, and it at least retains the series' goofy and absurd tone.
  12. The musical numbers thrown in are pretty catchy and fun, especially with "Secret to the Formula" feeling like it came straight out of The SpongeBob Musical.
    • The number with Snoop Dogg, while not spectacular, is very well-choreographed.
  13. Nice direction from Tim Hill (who was instrumental in the series' development), making this the best movie in his filmography in recent years.
  14. The characters are lovable as usual. Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs and even Plankton are nice in this movie since they try to save SpongeBob and Patrick.
  15. A nice little montage of SpongeBob spending some time with his pet snail (Gary).
  16. Funny jokes and gags existed in this film, an example is a scene where Sandy created Otto for Mr. Krabs and he thought Otto would be helpful, but eventually, Mr. Krabs and Otto keep yelling out "You're fired!" at each other.
  17. The flashbacks from Camp Coral actually shows how likable SpongeBob is as a character when it comes to friendships such when he proved that Sandy can do anything and follow her dreams and the scene where SpongeBob and Patrick got their reward but when they saw Squidward cry, they eventually gave up their rewards and then gave it to Squidward.
  18. Kenny G's Titanic song "My Heart Will Go On" made it into the movie giving the movie an even more extra touching moment, considering the fact the song is mostly known for sad moments.
  19. The start of the film where SpongeBob pulls out the lever and then shows the brand new "Nickelodeon Movies" logo is a nice way to start off the new Nickelodeon movie series, it's pretty similar to like Pixar's intros only with the main character being shown at the start of the intro of the movie.
    • And as of this movie, SpongeBob is now the official mascot of Nickelodeon Movies. All films from Nickelodeon Movies after this (including movies like the mixed to positively-received The Loud House Movie and the non Nickelodeon Movies Rumble, which ditched a fake custom variant) also use this logo.
  20. Plankton actually wants SpongeBob back despite getting SpongeBob to lose proving he's actually likable in this film despite being enemies for a long time in the franchise.

Bad Qualities

  1. A lot of episodes are contradicted such as some parts from "Truth or Square", and that can make mostly a couple things easy to tell this movie is non-canon to the show itself. Examples include:
    • SpongeBob and Sandy meeting as children, even though they met as adults in "Tea at the Treedome".
    • SpongeBob and Patrick meeting as 10 year old kids, even though they were babies when they met as shown in "The Secret Box".
    • It was previously shown that SpongeBob's first visit to the Krusty Krab was when SpongeBob was a fetus, but here it is shown that a 10-year-old SpongeBob met Mr. Krabs at Camp Koral prior to the Krusty Krab's opening, where he was older when he got the job.
    • "Truth or Square" even showed black and white animations of the Krusty Krab in the old days before Krabs himself was even born.
    • SpongeBob meeting Garry in Kamp Koral, but in the animated series in one episode from Season 8 (that one being "Treats"), it was shown on a picture that he met Gary in a pet store.
      • On the subject of the Krusty Krab, it was SpongeBob that motivated Mr. Krabs to create his own restaurant, whereas in the episode "Friend or Foe", Krabs was the one who decided to have the Krusty Krab as his own restaurant after ending his friendship with Plankton.
    • In "Treats!", SpongeBob was shown to have taken Gary from the pound upon buying him, but in this movie he is shown to have met Gary in Camp Coral. This was thankfully explained properly by Tom Kenny before Kamp Koral's release.
    • At one Camp Coral flashback, Squidward looks younger than SpongeBob despite most likely being older than him, and much taller than him. If that doesn't show that his CGI render for his younger self looked off, then no one knows what made it look off or uncanny.
  2. Even though a few of the cameos are decent, they can also feel useless to the movie and are only there for the sake of it.
    • The cameo from Snoop Dogg felt like a music video shoehorned in to the movie and Danny Trejo’s cameo felt very out of place.
      • Speaking of Danny Trejo, his character might be too scary for children that are sensitive, especially since his name El Diablo is Spanish for "the devil".
    • Unlike the first SpongeBob movie, the cameo with David Hasselhoff was fitting because he was the star of Baywatch and given the show's aquatic theme, it makes sense and relates to the SpongeBob universe and that he was placed in during the final half of the story and as a result, he doesn't intrude the story at all. But here, these other celebrities chosen didn't exactly fit or work with the source material, having Keanu Reeves himself (who is known for action/thriller films) feels out of place and he appears occasionally in to remind the duo, which can intrude the story.
  3. Some lackluster jokes such as SpongeBob and Patrick saying good morning to each other while yelling at the top of their lungs in the beginning and the infamous scene where Plankton gets sucked inside Patrick's butt.
  4. Very sluggish filler and pacing is placed in the movie itself, with many scenes feeling like they have been extended for a long period of time when they didn't need to be that long to begin with. For example:
    • The Inferno Saloon sequence is purely filler and doesn't contribute a whole lot to the film as the western live-action setting was also intrusive to the film's cartoony and nautical theme. It was set up very abruptly and then easily resolved as the duo defeated El Diablo without any effort at all. It's also pointless because it doesn't contribute to the storyline as it's not established exactly what defeating El Diablo and freeing the Saloon souls have any sort of relevance with the main quest apart from to gain a coin.
    • There is this subplot with the Tumbleweed Sage and a Challenge Coin, but it was barely even useful to the plot as when SpongeBob and Patrick were thrown in the dungeon, the Sage was withdrawn in favour of the Kamp Koral memories and SpongeBob's friends saving him. The Sage's only contribution to the heroes were to remind them about their mission, that's it. And if you removed the Sage from the story, the story would be the same.
    • The Kamp Koral flashbacks also felt like they dragged on for a while than needed making them look like they're only there just to set up the spin off Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years.
    • The story also tries to create another subplot with Spongebob and Patrick having arguments in their journey which could have been setting up for greater conflict but the end result is quite half-baked. In these scenes, Spongebob argues with Patrick over but it feels rather forced and off character for them to initiate this conversation, and right after those scenes end the duo appear to still be friendly with no further mentions of the incidents at all or any resolution.
  5. While the animation is gorgeous, it can be uncanny at times like Sandy having so much fur and her tiny pupils, or SpongeBob screaming on the top of his lungs after finding out that Gary is missing.
  6. The film rehashes and even steals some certain elements from other works, including The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie itself, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, the episodes "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?", "Have You Seen This Snail?" and even Finding Nemo.
    • As a result, it makes this film feel like a movie adaptation of the episode "Have You Seen This Snail", rather than having a completely original story.
    • Another example is that King Poseidon while still an entertaining villain with a fair motivation, does feel similar at times to King Neptune in the first movie as both wants an item to get rid of their imperfection. Neptune wants their crown back to hide a bald spot and similarly, Poseidon wants a snail to moisturize pores on his face.
  7. Unlike the previous movies, it doesn’t have a major final battle between the characters and the antagonist (King Poseidon). Additionally, the way that they convince him to become good is fairly cliché.
    • Plankton's redemption seems much too forced and far-fetched, this is because he only accompanies the band to only rescue SpongeBob which does not feel justifiable for what he did, not to mention that he does not feel a sense of guilt, remorse or regret from him. Unlike the majority of episodes where Plankton gets his comeuppance or has felt remorse ("Plankton's Pet" for example), the first two movies included, Plankton also receives no repercussions for his actions. He got away with sending Gary to Poseidon scot free making him a Karma Houdini.
  8. Mrs. Puff, and Karen Plankton still are not main characters in this film, despite it being the third film in the franchise. Thankfully, Karen does have a bigger role in this film, though still not a main character. The film has a missed opportunity to have the main characters in the film (other than SpongeBob and Patrick) go to the Lost City of Alantic City and save Gary. In addition, Pearl does not even appear in this film, only appearing in a deleted scene at the beginning where she has a speaking role.
  9. While emotional, the scene where Mr. Krabs gives up and hands Plankton the secret formula feels very underwhelming, especially for fans of the SpongeBob SquarePants TV series.
  10. The worst issue with the film was that within the loss of Hillenburg and while the film was in the early stages of development, the film may not have turned out exactly as he would have wanted.

Reception

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run received mixed to positive reviews, with praise for the animation and loyalty to the series, through many considered it to be the weakest film of the franchise. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of 48 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Although its story may leave fans on the surface, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a wondrously wacky visit to Bikini Bottom that retains the charm of the original series.". According to Metacritic, which assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 based on 18 critics, the film received "generally favorable reviews".

Trivia

  • In the first trailer, SpongeBob finds green slime in Gary's playpen, but in the final cut, it is blue instead.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the movie got delayed twice to the point that the movie's theatrical release was changed to a streaming release except for Canada, which is the only country to be played in theaters.
  • This is the first SpongeBob film to exclusively use CGI animation. The first film used 2D animation exclusively and the second film used a mix of 2D and CGI animation.
  • Unlike the previous SpongeBob films, this marks the first SpongeBob movie to not have a post-credits scene.
  • Ironically, the mobile game based on the previous film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) was named "SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge on the Run" as a coincidence).
  • The international Netflix version makes the opening logos shorter and adds in "NETFLIX PRESENTS" to the opening credits, which is what The Loud House Movie used due to no involvement with Paramount Pictures whatsoever.
  • "Secret to the Formula" is considered PhantomStrider's favorite SpongeBob song in his "🎵 5 Worst/Best Spongebob Songs 🎶" list, and even considered the movie good there.
  • This film was originally named SpongeBob SquarePants 3 (which was the film's working title), and the next one was The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge (a obvious parody of the Christmas movie It's A Wonderful Life.
  • As of this film and onward, the Paramount Animation logo is now replaced with a CGI-animated one featuring a character nicknamed "Star Skipper". In addition, the Nickelodeon Movies logo is now a new one with SpongeBob in it, ditching both the one used on their only two Paramount Players movies and the unused The Loud House Movie custom variant, the latter logo of which was fake.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 2, 2021 in Canada. In the United States, the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 13, 2021.
  • Pearl is also the only one of the main characters from the main show to not appear in this movie. However, she was originally meant to appear in the film, but her scene was deleted.


Nickelodeon Movies
Feature films:

Harriet the Spy - Good Burger - The Rugrats Movie - Snow Day - Rugrats in Paris: The Movie - Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius - Clockstoppers - Hey Arnold!: The Movie - The Wild Thornberrys Movie - Rugrats Go Wild - The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie - Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - Mad Hot Ballroom - Yours, Mine & Ours - Nacho Libre - Barnyard - Charlotte's Web - The Spiderwick Chronicles - Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging - Hotel for Dogs - Imagine That - The Last Airbender - Rango - The Adventures of Tintin - Fun Size - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - Monster Trucks - Wonder Park - Dora and the Lost City of Gold - Playing with Fire - The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run - Paw Patrol: The Movie* - Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Chapter - Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie*

Steaming films: The Loud House Movie - The J Team - Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

*: Unlike previous films from Nickelodeon Movies, PAW Patrol: The Movie and its sequel was produced in Canada, and the film's copyright is owned by Spin Master rather than Paramount. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies only presented the film internationally, and did not produce it outright.

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