THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN Review; "Worth Watching For Keanu Reeves' Wonderfully Weird Sage"

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN Review; "Worth Watching For Keanu Reeves' Wonderfully Weird Sage"

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run doesn't arrive in the U.S. until early 2021, but it's now on Netflix internationally, and you can find our take on what to expect from the animated adventure here.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is among the many 2020 blockbusters which was announced for a delayed 2021 release, though it's subsequently rolled out much differently than expected. After receiving a theatrical run in Canada over the summer, it's now arrived on Netflix in the UK and other international territories. In the U.S., it's set to hit PVOD services sometime in 2021, with a debut on CBS All Access/Paramount+ shortly after. It's an unorthadox approach, but no one can blame Paramount Pictures for trying to make the best of what's proved to be a totally unprecedented situation. So, is Sponge on the Run worth the wait? It doesn't necessarily break the mould, but for Spongebob fans, it's definitely a fun diversion from the madness of 2020. 

The most frustrating thing about the movie is that it feels more like a handful of episodes sandwiched together rather than a true feature. There are randomly inserted flashbacks to a young Spongebob meeting his friends for the first time, an admittedly enjoyable, but weird, live-action diversion, and a mostly straightforward adventure revolving around Spongebob and Patrick trying to save Gary from King Poseidon at its core. This is a movie which is often all over the place, and that could make it a confusing experience for younger viewers. Individually, these elements work, but together, it's something of a muddle! 
 


On the plus side, the animation is superb from start to finish, and this is a colourful, vibrant movie which gives Bikini Bottom a contemporary overhaul and helps ensure the visuals pop off the screen. It's gorgeous to look at, but never forgets its roots (there are tonnes of nods to the TV series fans of all ages will appreciate). It's hard to fault from that standpoint, and it never feels like anything other than "classic" Spongebob. 

The same can be said about the terrific voice cast, with Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick Star), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy Cheeks), and the rest of the returning favourites on top form. Matt Berry's take on King Poseidon is fine, while Awkwafina is extremely entertaining as the robotic Otto. However, the true scene stealer has to be Keanu Reeves as Sage, a bizarre addition to Sponge on the Run, but one you'll get an endless amount of enjoyment from.

Sponge on the Run boasts a simple, but enjoyable, story, a great soundtrack, and solid direction from Tim Hill. In other hands, there's a chance the movie would have felt a little more cohesive and gone some way in doing something new with Spongebob and company. However, it hits all the right beats for fans, and there are a few touching moments which go a long way in reminding you how important friendship is, a good message for today's difficult times. A tribute to Spongebob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg is appreciated, but there's nothing beyond that to wait for at the end of the crediits. 

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run isn't greater than the sum of its parts, but it's still a fun adventure for fans of all-ages, and worth watching for Keanu Reeves' wonderfully weird Sage.
 

Ke1

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