Western Animation: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is, well, a movie based on the Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. And as expected for a movie based on one of Nickelodeon's programs, it's a big damn one.

In the film, Mr. Krabs opens up a second Krusty Krab restaurant, and SpongeBob is heavily anticipating being promoted to manager of the new restaurant. But to his dismay, Squidward gets the job instead because SpongeBob is supposedly not mature enough for the job. Meanwhile, Plankton finally stops fooling around and enacts his greatest plan to steal the secret Krabby Patty formula — he steals King Neptune's crown, sends it to the dangerous Shell City, and frames Mr. Krabs for it. When Neptune finds his crown missing, he crashes the Krusty Krab 2 and charges Krabs for the theft, but SpongeBob is willing to travel to Shell City to retrieve the crown, so Neptune gives him six days to find it, during which he has Krabs frozen.

While SpongeBob and Patrick head off on their adventure, Plankton makes it past the frozen Krabs and successfully steals the Krabby Patty formula. He then gives away bucket-helmets with all the Krabby Patties he sells, which then turn his customers into his monument-building slaves. Can SpongeBob and Patrick successfully retrieve Neptune's crown and save Bikini Bottom...?

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg intended for the movie to serve as a Grand Finale to the series, but Executive Meddling got in the way of that. Many fans widely accept it and consider it a spectacular love letter to the original series. It also received positive critical reception, earning a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which may not sound like much, but it's pretty damn good for a Nick movie. A sequel has been greenlit for release on February 7, 2015, titled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. The writers from Kung Fu Panda 2 are coming on board to pen the screenplay, and current showrunner Paul Tibbitt is set to direct the animated sequences, while Sky High director Mike Mitchell is on board to direct the live-action sequences.

Shares a Character Sheet with the series.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Bright Light: off King Neptune's bald head
  • Adam Westing: David Hasselhoff as a super-swimming lifeguard. "I'm David Hasselhoff!"
    • "Hooray!"
  • An Aesop: Lampshaded in the following dialog:
    SpongeBob: I guess you're right, Plankton. I am just a kid. And you know, I've been through a lot in the last six days, five minutes, twenty-seven-and-a-half seconds, and if I've learned anything during that time, it's that you are who you are. And no amount of mermaid magic, or managerial promotion, or some other third thing can make me any more than what I really am inside: a kid.
    Plankton: Very impressive. Now, back against the wall...
    SpongeBob: [on microphone] But that's okay! Because I did all the things they said a kid couldn't do! I made it to Shell City, and I beat the cyclops, and I rode the Hasselhoff, and I brought the crown BACK! So, yeah, I'm a kid! And I'm also a goofball, and a wingnut, and a Knucklehead McSpazatron! But most of all, I'm... I'm... I'm... I'm a Goofy Goober! [rock music starts]
    • And later subverted in the end of the movie:
      Mr. Krabs: Mr. Squidward, front and center! I think we all know who rightfully deserves to wear that badge.
      Squidward: I couldn't agree more, sir.
      [Crowd cheers]
      SpongeBob: Wait a second, everybody. There's something I need to say first. But I just don't know how to put it.
      Squidward: I think I know what it is. After going on your life-changing journey, you now realize that you don't want what you thought you wanted. What you really wanted was inside you all along.
      SpongeBob: Are you crazy?! I was just going to tell you that your fly is down. Manager! This is the greatest day of my liiiiiiife!
    • King Neptune also gets an aesop on how important it is to show/have love and compassion when you're in a position of leadership.
  • Always a Bigger Boot: Just as Dennis is about to stomp on Spongebob and Patrick with hugely spiked boots, a larger boot stomps on him, seemingly killing him. Unfortunately, it's the diver's boot...
    • Also played straight when the giant fish charging at Spongebob and Patrick misses them, charges off a cliff, and a huge freakin' eel eats it in one gulp. Spongebob and Patrick justifiably just sit there, mouth agape.
  • And I Must Scream: The people controlled by Plankton's bucket helmets apparently know full well they're being controlled, since after Spongebob destroys the first one, the fish says "I'm free" instead of something like "What happened?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Squidward says he's going to report Plankton to King Neptune because he "made one fatal mistake — you messed with my paycheck!"
    • Also, when Plankton reads over his final plan to steal the Krabby Patty formula. "It's evil, it's diabolical, *sniffs* it's lemon-scented!"
  • Assumed Win: Mr Krabs announces that the new manager of the Krusty Krab 2 has "a name you all know, it starts with an S!". SpongeBob assumes that he's the new manager (even though Mr Krabs just announced that it was Squidward, revealing a giant portrait of his face to top it off), and has to humiliate himself three times over microphone before realising that the new manager is actually Squidward.
  • Big Bad: Plankton
  • Big "NEVER!": During the battle on David Hasselhoff's back, Dennis states to SpongeBob that he "always gets his man", prompting the latter to jump out of the way just as Dennis is about to grab him, letting out a very long, epic "NEVEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRR!!" as he jumps across to Hasselhoff's other leg in slow-motion.
  • Badass Mustache: Princess Mindy makes a pair of these out of seaweed to convince SpongeBob and Patrick that they have become men.
    • Then used in a throwaway gag courtesy of Dennis; he notes the obviously fake mustaches, pulls them off the pair's faces, and then shows them what a real mustache looks like. He pulls down his bandana, revealing his clean-shaven face. He then proceeds to grow a particularly bushy one through sheer force of will in an instant.
  • Badass Bystander: The female cinema janitor in The Stinger. Even when threatened at swordpoint by pirates she still calmly asks them to leave the theater. They reluctantly do so.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Thug Tug. Inevitably devolves into a Bar Brawl.
  • Big Damn Movie: A six-day adventure to the ends of the Earth as Plankton takes over Bikini Bottom with mind control devices.
  • Bastard In Sheep's Clothing: Plankton
  • Blowing a Raspberry: This is the extent of SpongeBob telling off Mr. Krabs for thinking he's still a kid.
  • Break the Haughty: The two fish at the gas station get this...they crack a joke to Dennis and he pulls their mouths off their face.
  • Broad Strokes: The film was well known for this, especially in recent years. It has been criticized that the film links a alternate canon in the series, because after the film does not show specific changes they had during the course of the film.
  • The Caligula: King Neptune shows signs of this.
  • Call Back: Patrick gets into an argument with King Neptune over how many days SpongeBob needs to find the crown. This is similar to the argument Patrick had with the previous Neptune in Neptune's Spatula over how many challenges SpongeBob can do.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Zig-Zagged. There are some pretty heavy themes addressed over the course of the movie, such as depression, alcoholism, and murder. In fact, the particular scene of Patrick and Spongebob at shell city is so emotional it literally causes the audience to break out into tears. Which is all totally at odds with the TV show. The writers of course always manage to put a fairly comedic spin on things anyways, leading to several a Mood Whiplash.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A minor example, but King Neptune's embarrassment over his bald spot later prevents him from stopping Plankton and saving Bikini Bottom, as he is too distracted with finding a way to grow hair.
  • Comically Small Bribe: SpongeBob attempts to bribe Dennis with five "Goober Dollars". He isn't impressed.
  • Cool Car: The Patty Wagon, as seen in the page image.
  • Credits Montage: The credits show pictures of SpongeBob in his new life as the manager of the Krusty Krab 2. The credits make it obvious that the job is horrible, but since SpongeBob loves to work, he's having the time of his life. And it's all set to Ween's "Ocean Man".
  • Dark Reprise: SpongeBob and Patrick's tearful rendition of the Goofy Goober theme song as they dry out.
  • Darker and Edgier: Yes, of course. Unlike the rest of the series, this movie is considerably a lot darker and has plenty of horror elements. Plankton is more depraved and vicious than in the series, to the point that he sadistically shows excitement and joy when King Neptune is about to kill Mr. Krabs, not to mention the monsters that abound in the way of SpongeBob and Patrick and the mercenary Dennis sent by Plankton to kill the duo.
  • Demoted to Extra: Any character from the show who isn't SpongeBob, Patrick and Plankton. Squidward and Sandy only show up a few times, and Mr Krabs spends the movie frozen.
  • Deranged Animation: Ho boy! The show's animation was already pretty bizarre-looking, but it was never this fluid!
  • Destination Defenestration: In the beginning of the movie, Squidward catches Spongebob in the shower with him, and after a small conversation with Spongebob, Squidward kicks Spongebob out of his window.
  • Deus ex Machina: The film writes itself into a corner that can only be rectified by a wonderfully ridiculous parody of Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock. The villain's plans are undone by the explosive power of rock music. Once the smoke clears, SpongeBob is left dangling on the end of a rope suspended above the stage in a neat reference to the literal Greek tragedy deus ex machina.
    • Also: They got the crown, but manage to lose the bag of winds. They have very little time to get home, and all is hopeless...cue David Hasselhoff showing up out of nowhere to take Spongebob and Patrick home.
  • Disney Death: SpongeBob and Patrick are killed via drying out in Shell City, then revived thanks to their Swiss Army Tears.
  • The Dragon: Dennis, to Plankton.
  • Dream Sequence: The opening scene.
  • Drunk on Milk: In this case, a milk product rather than liquid milk; specifically, ice cream.
    • Moderately justified in that Spongebob is also sleep-deprived.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: What Plankton does to Bikini Bottom.
  • Egopolis: After enslaving all of Bikini Bottom with his mind controlling helmets, Plankton converted it into Planktopolis, complete with giant stone statues of himself.
  • Eye Scream: "Bald! Bald! Bald! Bald! MY EYES!!"
  • Faux Affably Evil: Plankton.
  • Flat Character: Princess Mindy. If you think about it, she's really not much more than a plot device. Her only contributions to the story were to be a love interest for Patrick, stop her father from killing Mr. Krabs, give SpongeBob and Patrick their "mustaches", and stall her father long enough for SpongeBob to come back with the crown.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Plankton sends a hitman named Dennis after SpongeBob and Patrick.
  • Framing Device: A band of pirates go to a movie theater to see the movie.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: As far as SpongeBob and Patrick are concerned The Monster Frog fish that tries to eat them after luring them into its death trap with "FREE ICECREAM!" came out of no where. The audience knew it was a trap though because of all the piles of fish skulls and bones. The Frog fish also serves as one of their first real threats on their quest to get King Neptune's Crown and save Mr. Krabs. It can also be considered a Disc One Final Boss because an even bigger monster eel eats it.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Spongebob and Patrick. They got better.
  • Grand Finale: According to Word of God, all episodes made after the movie take place before it, so it's still (chronologically) the Grand Finale.
  • Hand Wave: The reason that SpongeBob is able to drive the Patty Wagon even though he doesn't have his license?
    SpongeBob: You don't need a license to drive a sandwich.
  • Harmless Freezing: Although he can't stop Plankton from stealing the formula in his frozen state, Krabs still manages to show reaction to things going on.
  • Heroic BSOD: When our two protagonists reach the deep, dark, dangerous, hazardous, monster-infested trench that will lead them to Shell City, SpongeBob, of all people, just flat-out gives up, turns back to go home, and tearfully tells Patrick that they're "just kids" who will die if they carry on with this journey.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: SpongeBob and Patrick. And how.
    • The "heterosexual" part is pretty debatable, given what Spongebob thinks about Patrick in fishnets...
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Plankton mind-controls King Neptune near the end.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu:
    • The "Cyclops" (actually a deep-sea diver). He just wants to collect sea creatures to sell as souvenirs - but that includes SpongeBob and Patrick, much to their horror.
      • Although he apparently has a green glowing face and laughs maniacally when his specimens start to panic and NEVER takes off his diving suit.
    • David Hasselhoff, however, is an aversion.
  • Insistent Terminology: A classic example. King Neptune is not bald, he is thinning.
  • Ironic Echo: "Sorry about the calendar."
  • Jerkass: King Neptune. But Plankton is much more of a jerk.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: King Neptune becomes this at the end, when he realizes how his daughter was right about having love and compassion when you're a ruler, and he thanks Spongebob for his help and apologizes to Mr. Krabs for freezing him.
  • Just a Kid: SpongeBob gets this from nearly everyone in the movie. He later becomes proud of being a "kid", because he managed to get King Neptune's crown back despite nobody believing he could do it for this reason.
    SpongeBob: So yeah, I'm a kid! And I'm also a goofball! And a wingnut! And a Knucklehead McSpazatron! But most of all... I'M A GOOFY GOOBER! ROCK!
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: As the Thug Tug owner tells Dennis the rules around there, he is uppercutted, falling into the Tug and sinking it!
  • Kill It with Fire: King Neptune tries to do this to Mr. Krabs
  • Knight of Cerebus: Dennis.
    • Surprisingly enough, Plankton manages to become one as well.
    • And The Cyclops.
  • Love at First Sight: Patrick is infatuated with Neptune's daughter Mindy.
  • Lower Deck Episode: A Nickelodeon Magazine special promoting the film included a comic story showing Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy trying (and failing) to stop Plankton during the events of the movie.
  • Ludicrous Precision: SpongeBob: "I've been through a lot in the past six days, five minutes, twenty-seven-and-a-half seconds..."
  • Magic Feather: the seaweed moustaches.
  • Meganekko: Mindy.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The improperly made sandwich opening scene had a few things that ended up being cut from the final product.
  • Mood Whiplash: "MEOW PLANKTON."
    • Before that; the scene at the Goofy Goober bar. Said peanut comes out dancing and singing. Then the camera pans to a sobbing Spongebob who isn't joining in the fun at all because he didn't get a promotion to manager for the Krusty Krab 2.
    • Towards the end of the proud and triumphant They've Come So Far Song "Now That We're Men," Spongebob and Patrick see a sign that says "Shell City Dead Ahead", and Spongebob happily says, "Well, Patrick, we should be there in one more verse!" and begin to finish the song, but then out of nowhere the music and happy atmosphere are cut off by the arrival of Psycho for Hire Dennis, who has finally caught up with them and intends to kill them both.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The opening scene features a dramatic scene based around the "crisis" of a customer being given a Krabby Patty without cheese, complete with a slow-motion sequence of SpongeBob putting some cheese into the patty, played in the same manner as an action hero disarming a bomb. It's a Dream Sequence, but still...
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. The words "kill" and "die" are used several times. The scene in Shell City has Spongebob stress the words "dead" and "killed" as if to tell the audience "Yes we're defying this trope and using the actual word in a movie for kids."
  • Not Quite Dead: Dennis gets crushed by the Cyclops when he first catches up with Spongebob and Patrick. He comes back afterwards for the final showdown.
  • Ocular Gushers: During Spongebob's and Patrick's Despair Event Horizon, they spray tears EVERYWHERE. Mindy is visibly squicked when they squirt their tears like high-pressure hoses into each other's mouths.
  • Off Model: But in a good way; the film seems to follow the John Kricfalusi method of staying less on-model and more in-character.
  • Oh, Crap: The "Cyclops" has this reaction when the animals in his shop begin to revive and he realizes they're about to beat the tar out of him.
  • Older Than They Look: According to SpongeBob, he has won the Employee of the Month Award 376 times in a row. This means he has been working for over 31 years. Assuming that he started work at age 16, this means he could be 47 years old or older!
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Plankton vows to destroy everyone.
  • Parental Bonus: Done rather blatantly. Plankton's Plan Z opens up like a centerfold as suggestive jazz plays.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Neptune's bald head is so reflective that it threatens to blind the mere mortals.
  • The Power of Rock: SpongeBob breaks Plankton's hypnosis with a rock remix of the Goofy Goober song.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dennis outright says that he's a hitman because he loves his job.
  • Recurring Riff: The Goofy Goober song. At first, it's a fun and goofy song, then it becomes a massive Tear Jerker as a dying Spongebob and Patrick sing it together, then it gets turned into a hella awesome rock song.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The sequence between the "Cyclops" (a maniacal diver) capturing SpongeBob and Patrick, and them returning to Bikini Bottom.
  • Sadist: Plankton is extremely sadistic in the movie. He shows great excitement, enthusiasm and joy when Mr. Krabs is going to be executed.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Plankton after SpongeBob and Patrick make it back.
    Plankton: Oh yes. Well done, SpongeBOOB.
  • Saving The World With Art: Plankton's Mind-Control Device has taken control of the entire town, but becomes overloaded when Spongebob dons a guitar and sings "Goofy Goober Rock" complete with flashy music video effects.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Dennis, who among other things deduces SpongeBob and Patrick were at the Thug Tug from nothing more than a small puddle of bubble fluid.
  • Series Fauxnale: This film was meant to serve as the closing to the show, but Nickelodeon insisted on putting the series back in production.
  • Shout-Out: The "nut bar" at Goofy Goober's has pictures of Pogo and Popeye comics.
    • Also, When Neptune unfreezes Mr. Krabs, he accidentally has his trident on the "Real Boy" setting, turning Mr. Krabs into a Pinocchio lookalike, before just turning him back to normal.
    • And let's not forget the frogfish scene.
    • The Art Shift to hard shadows and sepia tone during Plankton's takeover are chillingly similar to those found in Triumph of the Will.
  • Sinister Shades: Dennis has a pair.
  • The Sociopath: Plankton is this in the same movie. He did not seem to feel any remorse for what he did do, worse, undertakes to destroy everyone when was arrested.
  • Surreal Humour: "Hooray! Bubble Party!"
  • Swiss Army Tears: What ultimately saves SpongeBob and Patrick from their Disney Death.
  • Team Rocket Wins: After an endless amount of failures in the TV series, Plankton at last gets his hand on the secret formula and begins selling Krabby Patties at the Chum Bucket.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Lots of examples.
    • The "Now That We're Men" song.
    • Dennis growing his Badass Mustache in an instant to prove how much manlier he was than SpongeBob and Patrick.
    • Every scene with David Hasselhoff. Every. Single. Scene.
  • They've Come So Far Song: "Now That We're Men," with SpongeBob and Patrick finally passing through the monster-filled trench... and the monsters are singing with them.
  • Tired of Running: Parodied. When Dennis confronts them for the final time, Spongebob tells Patrick to run, but Patrick steps forward saying, "No. I'm tired of running. If we run now we'll never stop - " Dennis then slaps Patrick, sending him flying back to Hasselhoff's heel, where he screams, "RUN, SPONGEBOB!"
  • Tom the Dark Lord: We have a vile, dangerous bounty hunter, and his name is... Dennis.
  • Took a Level in Badass: SpongeBob and Patrick.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Goofy Goober Rock". Good Lord. Made especially triumphant since the last time the Goofy Goober song was used was in a massive Tear Jerker moment.
  • Uncertain Doom: The movie never makes it clear if Dennis was killed or simply knocked out when he gets struck by catamaran. The scene itself plays out like a usual death scene would, but Patrick's innocent "See ya!" gives the tone that he didn't die.
  • The Unreveal: Plankton finally finds out the Krabby Patty formula, but we don't.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Plankton himself, Dennis and The Cyclops.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dennis is a lot more calm and cool when chasing after SpongeBob and Patrick, as well as during his first encounter with him, then he is after being crushed by the boot and encountering them on top of David Hasselhoff. He's a lot more aggressive and prone to anger at the point—notably, he lost his glasses and bandana, so we can now see his expressions.
  • Welcome to the Big City
  • Wham Line: "My parade shall be quite dry, under my UMBRELLA."
  • The Worf Effect: The Thug Tug owner looks scary and intimidating, and naturally the strongest guy at the bar. Until he tried to pick a fight with Dennis...
  • "YEAH!" Shot: The movie ends with SpongeBob leaping in the air in complete joy after FINALLY getting his well-deserved promotion to manager of the Krusty Krab 2.
  • You Got Spunk: Dennis to Spongebob: "You've got guts, kid. Too bad I gotta rip 'em out of you."
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Spongebob and Patrick get Neptune's crown back and seemingly save the day... Then Plankton reveals he had a backup plan and just takes control of Neptune.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing: A subversion:
    Dennis: Don't worry, this'll only hurt a lot!