Soaking up the competition

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By Griffith Fuller

By Griffith Fuller

In 1999 Nickelodeon introduced a cartoon character that was a yellow sponge who lived in the sea.

The idea may have sounded funny five years ago, but Spongebob Squarepants has become a phenomenon since its debut.

Spongebob merchandise can be purchased almost anywhere, and teenagers and adults make up for at least half of Spongebob’s fan base.

America’s favorite talking sponge was promoted to the big screen in “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie,” released Nov. 19.

Paramount Films and Nickelodeon Films collaborated to make a film that Spongebob fans have been waiting patiently for. The film is directed by Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg, and Sherm Cohen.

The movie opens with pirates who find tickets to the film in a treasure chest. They then run into a movie and theater and take their seats as the movie starts.

The story develops from the introduction of Krusty Krabs 2, Mr. Krabs’ new restaurant. Ironically, Mr. Krabs set up Krusty Krabs 2 right next to Krusty Krabs 1. He plans to hire a new manager, which makes Spongebob (voiced by Tom Kenny) very optimistic, but Spongebob is disappointed when he finds out that the position has been passed to Spongebob’s neighbor and co-worker Squidward instead.

What infuriates Spongebob even more is that he was passed up because he is “just a kid, and not a man” according to Mr. Krabs.

There are several villains in the film, but the most evil of them all is the infamous Plankton.

Plankton steals the crown of King Neptune (voiced by Alec Baldwin,) ruler of the sea, so he can get the secret ingredients to the Krabby Patty (something he has tried to do relentlessly in the series). The Krabby Patty is the popular well-loved burger of the sea, made at Krusty Krabs.

Plankton frames Mr. Krabs and King Neptune jumps at the chance to execute him. Although still upset with Mr. Krabs, Spongebob is the only person to defend his life. In order to do that, he must travel to Shell City (a very dangerous place for sea creatures) to find the king’s crown.

This kicks off the journey of Spongebob and best friend Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) who joins him on the mission.

Plankton steals the “secret recipe” for Krabby Patties for his restaurant “Chum Bucket.” Plankton passes out free bucket hats to customers with the purchase of a Krabby Patty.

The buckets turn out to be a device that falls over the victim’s heads and turns them into Plankton praising automatons. Eventually, almost everyone in Bikini Bottom are slaves.

Mindy (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), King Neptune’s daughter, uses a placebo to turn Spongebob and Patrick into “men” to give them confidence. Meanwhile, Plankton is determined to stop Spongebob and Patrick, so he sends a hardcore western rebel by the name of Dennis to “take care” of them.

To misfortune and mishaps, Spongebob and Patrick end up on land, but are returned to Bikini Bottom by guest star David Hasselhoff who plays himself.

The movie makes several references to pop culture with Peter Gabriel and David Lee Roth spoofs. The most entertaining one was Spongebob’s larger-than-life guitar solo to Goofy Goober’s version of the Twisted Sister classic “I Wanna Rock.”

“The Spongebob Squarepants Movie” is funny and well thought out. Those who love the 30-minute episodes on Nickelodeon will love the extended one hour, 40-minute film. The character of Spongebob Squarepants is unique and original as well as the theme and supporting characters of Bikini Bottom. Spongebob has been questioned by people before, “Why is there a beach under water?” or “How could fish eat burgers?” But with imagination and an open mind, Spongebob can become just as addicting as Friends or Sex and the City.

This film takes things to the next level for the talking yellow square.

The only complaints about the film are there weren’t enough jelly fish, and key characters like Sandy Cheeks the squirrel and Miss Puff didn’t get many lines.

Nonetheless, Spongebob will make you laugh, cry, and buy more of his merchandise.

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