*NEW* THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER REVIEW *NEW*

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Two stars for the toonsters.

When a diabolical pirate (Antonio Banderas) above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.

Yeah, I know. How old are you?! Grow up! After watching this shambolic sequel, I think I will.

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I loved Spongebob Squarepants when it first came out in 1999 (That’s right, 19 years ago!). It was random, funny and utterly bonkers. I saw the movie when I was 15.

I always loved the hidden innuendos and stupid gags and still watch the film every once in a while. Hell, I still quote it to my work colleagues (All surprisingly secret SS fans. Wait, hang on. Best not make that reference).

When I heard a sequel was in the pipeline, the silly teen nerd in me giggled like our spongey hero BUT once the opening sequence began with Banderas prancing around Sinbad style (with the mad energy that voiced the feisty feline Puss in Boots), I knew I was in deep trouble.

This really was one for the little ‘uns. The innuendos GONE. The humour silly and stupid. Banderas did his best BUT he was annoying. Narrating the dull and lifeless plot to the best of his ability. BUT thankfully he was nowhere near as irritating as the poorly CGI’d seagulls.

Normally I’m a fan of Alan Carr BUT his voice grated against me as the lead seagull. Apparently we couldn’t get anybody better to voice the rest of the lot. Or they read the script and scarpered. Instead we had YouTube sensations (Apparently) Joe Suggs/Thatcher Joe, Caspar Lee and X Factor/TV presenter Stacey Solomon. Greeeatttttt.

We had to endure the same old guff as Plankton makes his umpteenth attempt on stealing the Krabby Patty formula. However, this time the formula is successfully stolen.

BUT NOT by the minuscule megalomaniac. With the town going crazy and looking for someone to flog, SpongeBob helps Plankton prove his innocence. Leading to a dreadfully mediocre movie.

The pace took too long to get going. The time travel machine subplot was an extended gag sequence that delivered more misses than hits. SpongeBob and Plankton’s partnership should have been better than it was and left us Patrick-lite. The songs didn’t help either. The bland Pharrell Williams backing track and that T-E-A-M song was just plain cringe.

At least the first one had Goofie Gober Rock (I’m a Goofie Gober . . . ROCK!)

The post-apocalyptic Mad Max future sequence was a good touch; “Welcome to the apocalypse, Squidward. I hope you like leather”.

Some of the old gags worked. BUT the underwhelming supporting cast didn’t help lift things. With the original movie, we had Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Scarlett Johansson (Avengers), Alec Baldwin (BT adverts. I’m kidding!). Hell, it even had the Hoff!

The whole thing was just so ridiculously far-fetched. Out of desperation if anything else! I know. How can you say far-fetched? It’s a talking sponge causing havoc underwater. The film had David Hasselhoff acting as a Knight Rider speed boat hybrid that jettisoned our dim-witted duo back to Bikini Bottom with his chest (Told you I watched it!)

Instead we had Matt Berry (The IT Crowd) delivering his vocal gravitas to an interstellar galaxy protecting dolphin overlord. You read that, right?

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Shooting lasers out of his blowhole! Donning a cape and floating in the air with toilet roll hanging off his dorsal fin. I really thought I was trippin’ on acid after that rather odd segment.

I wanted more of Karen (Jill Talley). Plankton’s computer wife. She was funny. “My hero. You obviously want something or else you wouldn’t be freeing me”.

The lack of double entendres was extremely disappointing BUT the silly puns had their moments: “You’ll be safe in this . . . safe”, “Is he an enemy or plankton?” BUT it just wasn’t enough. There were laughs to be had in the mental finale with our loveable gang bulked up to the max with superpowers BUT it was a case of too little, too late.

I was ready to leave the screen before the singing seagulls and Antonio Banderas could destroy the theme song. And the auto-tuning cameo from Berry was bloody dreadful.

Yeah . . .

This was definitely for the sprogs. I felt like a sponge out of water watching this.

2/5

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The Monuments Men Review

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Not a monument that will stand the lengths of time in the huge backlog of war classics we’ve had before. It checked all the boxes but failed to deliver anything new or interesting. Hardly a bomb site, but it lacked the right execution for this operation.

George Clooney takes the helm yet again in an ambitious war effort that just fails to hit the mark. The Monuments Men is based on a real operation that was approved by President Roosevelt himself to help retrieve stolen art and relics from the Nazis and return them to their rightful owners. However, as World War Two is coming to a close, Hitler issues an order to destroy all the art, making it a race against the clock. Now, an intriguing premise that suggested a treasure hunt with a dash of Indiana Jones and a hint of Dad’s Army for good measure. Not at all, old sport. What came was a well acted, if meandering drawn out crusade that if not for a couple of twists, would have been dead in the water. It is difficult to criticize when this is based on a true story, but it still can’t be excused as it raised too many questions.

It reeked of the war movies of old. The sort of maritime viewing you get on a Sunday afternoon. A nice melancholic feel but the problem was that it felt dated before it had even begun. It does start off quite easy going and watchable. The cheeky winking and lighthearted pace as Clooney assembles a talented ensemble of retired veterans and soldiers consisting of Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and the underrated Bob Balaban (who has always stood out for me after his turn in The Lady in the Lake with his speech on characters. One for the writers, that). And of course, not forgetting the regular Clooney collaborators, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett.

It’s always going to be hard to make a war film after so many classics but looking at this as a sole text, the tone is all over the place. It has the cheeky twinkle that suggests a Dad’s Army and Allo Allo vibe, especially with Damon’s badly spoken French. A reverse twist that had the odd chuckle, with the French begging him to speak English. There is the occasional titter but the material fails to bring a lot of humour and the partnership between Balaban and Murray could have been so much more. We know Murray is funny, so why not let him apply a little bit of his spiel? He seemed restricted. Well, if we’re honest, they all seem restricted. There was potential with Dujardin and Bonneville, especially in an exchange as to why Hitler only bombs places with no art or culture. Bonneville retorts, “Well they bombed London”. Dujardin smiles, “Yes, I know”. A little bit harsh but there could have been a little rivalry or banter exchange between them, but the two get paired up with the wrong actors, to be honest.

That is also the main problem, the gang inevitably have to split up to cover more ground, which is more miss than hit. Damon aimlessly wonders around the beautiful French countryside before he finally meets his contact, Cate Blanchett. Clooney just drives around, barking orders and taking inventory with young recruit Dmitri Leonidas (you may remember him from the fantasy dud of a TV reboot, Sinbad).  Goodman and Dujardin do have the more interesting adventures with snipers and concluding battle scenes as the Germans were being pushed out. Murray and Balaban bring the odd chuckle and are a good pairing but their adventures are a little nothingy. When Damon meets Blanchett, it does pick up and there is some great chemistry between them but it all gets quite corny and hints at a needless and unnecessary romance. 

There are sobering moments that do bring it back home with some unexpected twists that did surprise, without spoiling, and once the group reunite, the film picks up after a drawn out hour. The land mine scene may have been corny, but was funny and suspenseful. There is a harrowing little touch when the group come across more than they bargained for, when they discover barrels of gold wedding rings and teeth. Clooney’s cigarette speech with the head German officer in charge of disposing the art was brilliant. We finally got to see Clooney come back to the fore and act well, after being quite absent. The pace quickens as the gang have to race against the clock to retrieve all the art before the Russians arrive. There is also a nice aside at the end with a fitting tribute. 

However, The Monuments Men felt more like an extension of the Points episode in Band of Brothers and unfortunately that got the point across a lot better and a lot more riveting in a condensed hour. I couldn’t help feel that in a time of death, loss and destruction, who would care about some pieces of art? Understandably, it is true that by removing the history and culture, you are truly removing the people but it seems less important to the lives that were already lost. A watchable, if drawn out, corny and predictable affair that may get lost like the art in the plethora of war classics before it. 2.5/5

Currently ranks #86 out of 142!