SpongeBob: You don't need a license to drive a sandwich.
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 Mr. Krabs feels that SpongeBob isn't 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 Finale Movie 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 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, which may not sound like much, but it's pretty damn good for a Nick movie.
A second movie titled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water was released on February 6, 2015. The writers from Kung Fu Panda 2 were put on board for screenwriting, and had then-series showrunner Paul Tibbitt directing the animated sequences, while Sky High (2005) director Mike Mitchell directed the live-action sequences. Its second sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, released digitally in 2021, was fully computer-animated.
This first film was released to theaters on November 19, 2004 to commercial and critical acclaim, and quickly became a blockbuster, despite being out-grossed by The Polar Express.
Shares a Character Sheet with the series.
Oh, I'm a goofy troper, yeah! You're a goofy troper, yeah! We're all goofy tropers, yeah! Goofy, goofy, troper troper, yeah!
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Assuming Spongebob's employee of the month streak started in 1997 (the year "Help Wanted" was first produced) the movie takes place from March 7 to 14 of 2028.
- Absurdly Bright Light: Off King Neptune's bald head."MY EYES!"
- Actor Allusion: David Hasselhoff's part in this movie directly parodies his role in Baywatch, being a lifeguard who runs in slow-motion to rescue SpongeBob and Patrick.
- Adaptational Intelligence: SpongeBob is much more proficient in driving in the movie than in the series, where he's portrayed as a reckless driver. Mentioned by Patrick, to which SpongeBob replies, "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich."
- Adaptational Jerkass: While the series' King Neptune was always a self-centered asshole, he's still a well-meaning monarch who treats his subjects far more pleasantly, at the very least. This incarnation of Neptune, on the other hand, is an ill-tempered, brutish, and tyrannical king prone to angry outbursts over the slightest of wrongdoings and obsessed with sentencing people to the dungeon for harsh reasons, much to the dismay of his daughter Mindy. Luckily, despite being a hotheaded and tyrannical king, he does finally learn his lesson in leadership at the end by finally accepting Mindy's advice in being a loving and compassionate ruler, even after his crown was brought back by SpongeBob and Patrick and he saved the town from Plankton's reign of terror.
- Adam Westing: David Hasselhoff as a super-swimming lifeguard. "I'm David Hasselhoff!"
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Mr. Krabs literally begs King Neptune not to freeze him. King Neptune won’t listen to it.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: More like "Ice Cream-Induced Idiocy"; SpongeBob and Patrick eat several orders of ice cream that cause them to develop drunk-like symptoms, with the former landing Mr. Krabs in hot water when he prioritizes insulting his boss for denying him promotion to manager of the Krusty Krab 2 rather than clearing his name when King Neptune is threatening Krabs' life over the disappearance of his crown.
- All for Nothing: After SpongeBob and Patrick spend most of the movie looking for the crown and bringing it back to Neptune in the end, Plankton simply backs this up with a King-Sized bucket helmet for Neptune. Not that it discourages SpongeBob from claiming he's proud of accomplishing this feat.
- Alternate Catchphrase Inflection: Usually, SpongeBob says his catchphrase "I'm ready!" in a very enthusiastic tone, but when he learns that he didn't get the job of manager for the Krusty Krab 2, he says it dejectedly.
- Always a Bigger Fish:
- 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 Cyclops'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.
- It’s the main reason King Neptune is afraid of the "Cyclops". He towers over Mindy and the other sea creatures, but is only knee-high to a human.
- An Aesop:
- Lampshaded in the following dialogue: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 anything more than what I really am inside: a kid.
Plankton: That's great. Now get back against the wall—
SpongeBob: [on microphone] But that's okay! [...] 'Cause I did what everyone 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...
Plankton: Okay, settle down! Take it easy!
SpongeBob: I'm... I'm...
Plankton: WHAT THE SCALLOP?!
I'm a Goofy Goober! [rock music starts]
- Later subverted in the end of the movie, where everyone is cheering SpongeBob for saving the day and becoming the new manager: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: (grabs manager pin from Squidward) 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.
- Lampshaded in the following dialogue:
- And I Must Scream:
- The people controlled by Plankton's bucket helmets apparently know to an extent they're being controlled, since after SpongeBob destroys the first one, the fish says "I'm free" instead of something like "What happened?"
- Mr. Krabs is shown to be aware of what's happening while he is frozen.
- Animation Bump: More like a shove! While the show normally hides its Limited Animation with strong layouts, the movie relishes in incredibly fluid and insane, expressive animation, the likes of which could never be done on a TV budget.
- Answer Cut: After Plankton unleashes the final phase of Plan Z, turning all of the citizens of Bikini Bottom into his mind-controlled slaves and captures Squidward, who was the only one who figured out what he was up to:Plankton: Who can stop me now?! [Evil Laugh] WHO?!
[Cut to SpongeBob and Patrick driving in the Patty Wagon while laughing silly.]
- Anti-Interference Lock Up: Inverted during the climax- Mindy tries to stall King Neptune from frying Mr. Krabs with an extended discussion about stalling. When he finally loses his patience, Neptune throws her out of the Krusty Krab and magically wraps the place in chains and padlocks.
- Arc Words: The lyrics to the Goofy Goober theme song show up five times over the course of the movie: when SpongeBob and Patrick excitedly anticipate the former's promotion to manager, in a Goofy Goober restaurant while SpongeBob is drowning his sorrows, at the Thug Tug as a way to weed out the patron who blew a bubble in the building, as SpongeBob and Patrick's dying words in Shell City, and as the chorus to "Goofy Goober Rock". Each time the song appears, it represents a new landmark in SpongeBob's journey, in terms of both recovering Neptune's crown and coming to terms with his immaturity.
- Argument of Contradictions: Neptune initially gives SpongeBob and Patrick ten days to get the crown back, but Patrick argues it down to six.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Plankton reads over his final plan to steal the Krabby Patty formula. "It's evil, it's diabolical, *sniffs* it's lemon-scented!"
- Art Shift: While not a complete makeover, the characters do look a bit different than they do in the show. The movie also uses more Off-Model animation, something they didn't use so much at the time (until later seasons where they would use it a lot more).
- Asshole Victim:
- Victor, the Thug Tug's owner, when Dennis kills him by punching him so hard he gets knocked into the air, then lands into the Thug Tug which then sinks down with Victor in it.
- The Cyclops gets beaten up by all the sea creatures he abducted for his gift shop.
- Dennis is pummeled by an incoming boat and presumably dies just as Victor did.
- Although not killed, Plankton gets repeatedly stomped on by the now freed people he enslaved and sent to jail for his crimes.
- 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 the microphone before realizing that the new manager is actually Squidward.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: "Oh your highness, I'm sure it's not that noticeabaaaaAAAAAALD!! BALD, BALD, BALD!!!"
- As You Know: "Oh Karen, my computer wife..."
- Attentive Shade Lowering: SpongeBob lowers his glasses when looking at Patrick, dressed rather suggestively in the end heroic music sequence.
- Authority in Name Only: The credits show that the manager position at the Krusty Krab 2 essentially amounts to doing all of the same, if not even more of the demeaning work that SpongeBob already did as a fry cook, except with a bigger hat with the word "Manager" written on it. He also does not appear to have any other employees to supervise, so whatever potential authority he could have as manager is rendered moot. Despite all this, SpongeBob is clearly ecstatic about it regardless, and does all of his work with an enormous smile on his face.
- "Awkward Silence" Entrance: Happens twice in succession. Once when Patrick goes into the Thug Tug and asks to go to the bathroom, and again when one of the bubbles he and SpongeBob made in said bathroom wanders out into the bar.
- Badass Bystander: The usher in The Stinger. Even when threatened at swordpoint by pirates, she still calmly asks them to leave the theater. They reluctantly do so.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: Gary is shown to be mind-controlled by Plankton into pulling a very large stone column, despite him visibly sweating over it (and it's implied that he's well aware of this).
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Thug Tug. Inevitably devolves into a Bar Brawl.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Plankton, for much of the movie, succeeded in taking over Bikini Bottom and enslaving its population that all started with stealing the Krabby Patty formula, his primary goal in the series. Of course, SpongeBob and Patrick return to foil his plan.
- Bait-and-Switch: As SpongeBob goes to order some ice-cream from what turns out to be a frogfish, Patrick notices the bones all around them and appears to come to a grim realization. And then...Patrick: Wait a minute. Wait a minute! SpongeBob!
Patrick: Make mine a chocolate!
- Bait-and-Switch Compassion: Squidward discovers that Mr. Krabs has been frozen by Neptune.Squidward: Oh, no! This is terrible! Who's gonna sign my paycheck?
- Bait-and-Switch Sentiment: The final scene. After his adventures, SpongeBob gets promoted to manager and this exchange occurs:SpongeBob: Wait a second, everybody. There's something I need to say first. 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 you don't want what you thought you wanted. What you really wanted was inside you all along.
SpongeBob: Are you crazy? [grabs manager pin] I was just gonna say that your fly is down! [Squidward's eyes widen] Manager! This is the greatest day of my life!
- Baldness Angst: The main reason why King Neptune is so enraged about his crown being stolen is because it exposes his "thinning" head.
- Baldness Mockery: King Neptune is shown to be very insecure about the bald spot on his head, to the point of threatening to imprison or even kill people who tamper with the crown he uses to cover it up. Indeed, his issues are not exactly unfounded, as when he shows his bald spot in public while confronting Mr. Krabs, everyone in the room freaks out and chants "Bald!" at him, with one bystander's eyes burning from the glare coming off it.
- Bathroom Search Excuse: Subverted by Patrick in the Thug Tug when he gets everybody's attention only to says that he needs to use the bathroom. When one of the thugs points it out SpongeBob chides Patrick for a weak distraction but Patrick says he really needed to go.
- Be Yourself: SpongeBob learns that "you are who you are."
- Big Bad: Plankton, as usual, though he's much more threatening than he actually is in the cartoon because his Plan Z called for manipulating others more powerful and deadlier than he is to be doing his dirty work (King Neptune to freeze Krabs and the Cyclops and Dennis to impede SpongeBob and Patrick's quest for the king's crown).
- Big Budget Beef-Up: Everything about the show, the animation, the music, and the special effects, is vastly improved on here.
- Big Damn Heroes: SpongeBob and Patrick bursting into the Krusty Krab with the crown, thus protecting Mr. Krabs from getting killed by the scepter's fire and reflecting it through the roof instead, which unintentionally chars David Hasslehoff non-fatally.
- Big Damn Movie: According to series creator Stephen Hillenburg in a New York Times interview, the idea of simply making a feature-length SpongeBob episode didn't sit right with him. Instead, he sought out a higher-stakes plot that could only work as a movie. Thus, the film depicts SpongeBob and Patrick going on a six-day adventure to the ends of the Earth as Plankton takes over Bikini Bottom with mind control devices."To do a 75-minute movie about SpongeBob wanting to make some jellyfish jelly would be a mistake, I think this had to be SpongeBob in a great adventure. That's where the comedy's coming from, having these two naïve characters, SpongeBob and Patrick, a doofus and an idiot, on this incredibly dangerous heroic odyssey with all the odds against them."
- 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.
- Big "NO!":
- SpongeBob does one when he rushes in front of Mr. Krabs when King Neptune tries to kill him.SpongeBob: NO! I won't let you!
- Plankton does one in horror when he realizes that SpongeBob's rock and roll of all things is destroying his mind-control bucket helmets and thus undoing his plans.
- Earlier, Mindy also does this three times when King Neptune prepares to fry Mr. Krabs to death, with Plankton doing the inversion.
- Mr. Krabs lets out one as he prepares to face a fiery fate, just before SpongeBob and Patrick burst in to save him.
- She also does this when Plankton puts a mind-control helmet on King Neptune.Mindy: Daddy, no!
Plankton: Daddy, yes!
- SpongeBob does one when he rushes in front of Mr. Krabs when King Neptune tries to kill him.
- Big Rock Ending: "Goofy Goober Rock" ends with a prolonged, almost 2-minute guitar outro, which SpongeBob uses to undo Plankton's mind control.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Plankton pretends to be upset about Mr. Krabs being frozen by Neptune during his interview with Perch Perkins when he actually stole the Krabby Patty formula while Krabs was frozen and decides to take over Bikini Bottom.
- Bond One-Liner: Patrick delivers one after Dennis is defeated for good.Patrick: See ya.
- Book Ends:
- The film was originally intended to be the series finale before the show's renewal, and indeed it ended up being the last installment with the original writing team. As such, it features its share of parallels with the show's origins:
- The pilot episode, "Help Wanted", opens with SpongeBob waking up, getting ready, and rushing to the Krusty Krab, eager to join them as their new fry cook; the episode ends with him getting hired after saving the Krusty Krab from a crisis. The movie, following a dream sequence, begins with SpongeBob waking up, getting ready, and rushing to the Krusty Krab 2, eager to be promoted to the establishment's manager. The film ends with him receiving and accepting the promotion after saving not only the Krusty Krab, but all of Bikini Bottom from a crisis. Both of SpongeBob's rescues even involve songs by real-world artists (Tiny Tim's Cover Version of "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" for "Help Wanted"; a parody of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" for the movie).
- "Tea at the Treedome", which was one of two episodes paired with the broadcast version of the pilot, features SpongeBob and Patrick drying out in Sandy's treedome thanks to the lack of water before being revitalized by Sandy's fishbowl helmets. In the movie, SpongeBob and Patrick dry out in Shell City from the Cyclops' heat lamp before being revitalized by the water from the sprinklers.
- The film opens with a live-action sequence where a pirate crew finds tickets to the movie inside a treasure chest, rushing over to a nearby movie theater and crowding into their seats in excitement. The Stinger depicts the same pirates still in their seats and chatting about the movie well after the curtain call, only leaving the theater when ordered to by an usher.
- The film was originally intended to be the series finale before the show's renewal, and indeed it ended up being the last installment with the original writing team. As such, it features its share of parallels with the show's origins:
- Both Sides Have a Point: SpongeBob ends up in this position when Mr. Krabs denies him promotion to manager of the Krusty Krab 2, claiming he's too immature for the responsibility. Seeing as SpongeBob spends his days goofing off with Patrick, annoying Squidward to no end, and doesn't even have a boating license, he is right in some way—only a few scenes later is this proven true when SpongeBob, Drunk on Milk from spending his night crushed at getting passed over, almost gets Mr. Krabs deep fried by King Neptune by immaturely telling him off. However, SpongeBob, immature or not, has proven to be managerial material, seeing as his cooking has made The Krusty Krab the premier eatery in town in spite of Krabs' own greediness hampering business, and puts his heart and soul into keeping things ship-shape. The one who got the job, Squidward, is a miserable Burger Fool who utterly despises working at the Krusty Krab, has tried and failed repeatedly to leave, and is practically hated in town. In the end, while SpongeBob does acknowledge his immaturity and saves the town from Plankton's control, Mr. Krabs acknowledges he was wrong and happily makes SpongeBob the manager.
- There was a children's book adaptation of the movie that changed it so that instead of beating them senseless, the patrons of the Thug Tug punished "bubble-blowing babies" by laughing at them.
- Whenever Nickelodeon airs the movie, Mr. Krabs' whispering to SpongeBob is reversed (in the unedited whispering, he appears to say "Jackass" three times in succession).
- The soundtrack version of "Goofy Goober Rock" changes the verse "No, no freakin' way" from the film version to "No, no, no-no way".
- Blowing a Raspberry: This is the extent of SpongeBob telling off Mr. Krabs for thinking he's still a kid.SpongeBob: ["hungover" from an ice-cream bender] Well, I am 100% MAN! And this MAN has got something to say to yooouuu! (blows a very long raspberry There! I think I made my point!
- Bravado Song: After Mindy gives SpongeBob and Patrick seaweed "mustaches" to convince them that she's magically matured them, the duo (to her chagrin) bust out into a chorus of "Now That We're Men", a military march style song about how unstoppable they are now that they're (allegedly) grown, casually disregarding the natural hazards and monsters they come across in the midst of it.
- 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 an alternate canon in the series, because episodes that aired after the film do not show specific changes they had during the course of the film (Word of God says that the movie is meant to be the end of the series). Granted, this isn't the kind of show that adheres to continuity.
- Broken Aesop: Discussed In-Universe by SpongeBob and Patrick after their escape from the Thug Tug.Patrick: You know, SpongeBob, there's a lesson to be learned from all this.
SpongeBob: What's that, Patrick?
Patrick: A bubble-blowing double baby doesn't belong out here in man's country.
SpongeBob: Yeah. (then realizes) Wait. We blew that bubble. Doesn't that make us a bubble-blowing double baby?
- The Caligula: King Neptune shows signs of this.
- 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.
- The movie's plot bears some similarity to "Neptune's Spatula", as both are about SpongeBob convincing King Neptune that he underestimates the former's abilities and wisdom.
- In "Hooky", Mr. Krabs warns SpongeBob and Patrick that if they get successfully pulled up to the surface, they may potentially get turned into products in gift shops. In the film, the Cyclops does exactly that with his captives, drying them out under a heat lamp to turn them into kitschy knickknacks at Shell City, which turns out to be a beachside gift shop.
- In "Krusty Love", SpongeBob mentions that Mrs. Puff doesn't like talking about what happened to her husband, with a Cutaway Gag implying that he was caught by fishermen and turned into a kitschy lampshade. In Shell City, one of the knickknacks that gets revived by the sprinkler system is an identical-looking porcupinefish lampshade.
- The scene of SpongeBob and Patrick drying out is reminiscent of the first full episode, "Tea at the Treedome", only this time it's not Played for Laughs.
- SpongeBob crying out his tears just to drink it back up is similar to what he did in "Karate Choppers".
- We have a mariachi band playing in the background as a live-action man is squirming helplessly. Sound familiar?
- Inside the Thug Tug, we see a thug eating a bowl of nails (without any milk!).
- "I ain't a crook! Ask anyone, they'll vouch for me!"
- 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.
- Character Development:
- SpongeBob and Patrick learn what it means to be a responsible, reliable adult without renouncing to the stuff they like (ice cream, jellyfish hunting, bubbles, etc.) or their key personality traits. More the former than the latter, since SpongeBob gets promoted to manager at the end of the movie.
- The Cynic Squidward also improves as a person. All of the misfortunes he suffers throughout the movie and the fact it's SpongeBob who saves the day lead Squidward to graciously recognize the sponge's contribution and proudly relinquish the position of Krusty Krab's general manager to him. For context, he was lording said position over SpongeBob at the beginning.
- Chekhov's Gun: Played for laughs with King Neptune's embarrassment over his bald spot, which 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.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" was originally a standard Glam Metal rocker with Heavy Meta lyrics about how awesome rocking your barnacles off is. "Goofy Goober Rock", meanwhile, is about SpongeBob embracing his immaturity and breaking free from the shackles of societal expectations for adulthood.
- Cover Version:
- "Now That We're Men" is a vocal rendition of Will Schaeffer's "Fight! Fight! Fight!", a piece of incidental music previously used in the show.
- "Goofy Goober Rock" is Jim Wise and Tom Rothrock's take on "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister, based around the Goofy Goober theme heard three other times in the film.
- Creator Cameo:
- Stephen Hillenburg provides the voice of one of the pirates' parrots, essentially reusing his "Potty the Parrot" voice from the series.
- The show's storyboard artist Mike Bell appears in the movie as the fisherman knocked over by Hasselhoff.
- Co-writers Aaron Springer and Derek Drymon both cameo as the laughing bubble from the "Thug Tug" and "the screamer character" respectively.
- Creator In-Joke: Roger Bumpass, like Squidward, rides a recumbent bicycle. The storyboard artists added it as an inside joke.
- 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".
- Creepy Old-Fashioned Diving Suit: The Cyclops is a wicked human diver only ever seen wearing an ominous, green-glowing old-fashioned SCUBA gear who captures sea creatures to dry them so he can sell sea-themed souvenirs in his shop.
- Crocodile Tears: Plankton sheds these to Perch Perkins when he explains how he was able to sell Krabby Patties.
- Cue O'Clock: The clock seen in the Goofy Goober Steamboat has the 12 numbers in scrambled order.
- Dark Reprise: SpongeBob and Patrick sing a tearful rendition of the Goofy Goober theme song as they dry out.
- Darker and Edgier: 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 (somewhat foreshadowed in the episode "FUN" where Plankton has an Imagine Spot of destroying Bikini Bottom with a giant Jellyfish robot), 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, the ruthless mercenary (Dennis) sent by Plankton to kill the duo, and how the heroes die at the hand of the Cyclops.
- Darkest Hour: Plankton has conquered Bikini Bottom and enslaved the population, Mr. Krabs is set to be executed, and SpongeBob and Patrick are "killed" in Shell City. Luckily, things get better.
- Death Song: After realizing they did make it to Shell City after all, SpongeBob and Patrick sing the Goofy Goober theme song just before they dry out.
- Decon-Recon Switch: The movie deconstructs SpongeBob and Patrick's Manchild behavior, showing that while its a major part of their characters and a source of good laughs for the viewers, their immaturity and naivety can be a major hindrance, as shown when SpongeBob gets rejected for a major job promotion over the more mature Squidward, most people not taking them seriously due to their antics, and the two being easily endangered by bullies, carjackers, undersea predators, hardened criminals, and sadistic humans due to their lack of common sense. Still, while the chips are down, SpongeBob and Patrick are shown to be more than capable of facing all the dangers on the way to Shell City, defying everybody's exceptions, and ultimately get the crown back and defeat Plankton.
- Demoted to Extra: Any character from the show who isn't SpongeBob, Patrick and Plankton. Mrs. Puff and Sandy only show up a few times (despite all being credited in the film's "Main Cast"), Mr. Krabs spends most of the movie frozen, and Squidward only plays a minor role in the story at best and is brushed aside at the halfway point after getting captured and brainwashed by Plankton. Pearl and Gary make cameos. Karen plays a pivotal role, telling Plankton about Plan Z and activating the mind control helmets, but after the latter scene she pretty much disappears from the story. It's not too surprising that the creators decided not to make the next SpongeBob movie a buddy film.
- Denser and Wackier: The movie takes the goofy silliness of the show to new heights! Story elements contain mind-control bucket helmets, singing trench monsters, a burger car, David Hasselhoff having rocket-launching pecs, and SpongeBob saving the day by spontaneously turning into a rock star wizard while playing a parody of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock". That is just to name a few of the ridiculous things that happen in this film.
- Deranged Animation: Hoo 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 literally 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.
- SpongeBob and Patrick dehydrate in Shell City, but are revived last minute thanks to their tears.
- SpongeBob and Patrick get 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.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: As far as SpongeBob and Patrick are concerned, the Monster Frogfish that tries to eat them after luring them into its death trap with "FREE ICE CREAM!" came out of nowhere. The audience knew it was a trap, though, because of all the piles of fish skulls and bones. The Frogfish also serves as one of their first real threats in their quest to get King Neptune's crown and save Mr. Krabs. It can also be considered a Wake-Up Call Boss because an even bigger monster eel eats it, further emphasizing how dangerous the journey to Shell City will be.
- The Dinnermobile: SpongeBob and Patrick travel most of the way to Shell City in the Patty Wagon - a large drivable hamburger, originally intended for promotion of the Krusty Krab.
- Disney Death: SpongeBob and Patrick are killed via drying out in Shell City, then revived thanks to their Swiss-Army Tears. And the sprinklers.
- And every single fish in the whole shop that was taxidermied springs back to life through the same means.
- Disproportionate Retribution: King Neptune wants to kill Mr. Krabs for supposedly stealing his crown. SpongeBob even asks him, "Doesn't it seem harsh to kill someone over a crown?".
- Distressed Dude: Squidward gets cornered and brainwashed himself by the other brainwashed citizens by Plankton's mind control.
- The Dragon: Dennis, to Plankton. Even the Cyclops qualifies as one to Plankton.
- Dream Intro: The movie begins with SpongeBob as the manager of the Krusty Krab, saving the day after a guy gets no cheese on his patty. The crowd hoist him over their shoulders and cheer him, but then the cheers turn into his foghorn alarm and SpongeBob wakes up.
- Drowning My Sorrows: To help himself feel better after not getting the promotion, SpongeBob goes on a sundae bender alongside Patrick.
- Drunk on Milk: In this case, a milk product rather than liquid milk; specifically, ice cream sundaes. Moderately justified in that SpongeBob is also sleep-deprived.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: What Plankton does to Bikini Bottom.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After all he's been through, SpongeBob is given a job as manager of the Krusty Krab 2, and proves that he is a man.
- Embarrassing Voicemail: While King Neptune is interrogating Mr. Krabs about the disappearance of his crown, Plankton calls the Krusty Krab and gets picked up by the answering machine. Plankton uses the opportunity to imitate a nonexistent stranger who Mr. Krabs sold the crown to, claiming that he gave it to a guy in Shell City. Mr. Krabs frantically tries to silence the voicemail and eventually claims that it was a wrong number, only for Neptune to believe every word of the message.
- Employee of the Month: The movie reveals that SpongeBob has won 374 consecutive Employee of the Month awardsnote . He therefore believes he's a shoo-in for the manager's job at the Krusty Krab 2, only to be crushed when the job goes to Squidward instead.
- Egopolis: After enslaving all of Bikini Bottom with his mind controlling helmets, Plankton converts it into Planktopolis, complete with giant stone statues of himself.
- Eldritch Location: Shell City is a beachside gift shop that sells nautical trinkets and souvenirs. To the cast, however, it's a horrifying place of certain death on the dreaded dry land, filled to the brim with the dehydrated corpses of marine animals unfortunate enough to be captured by the Cyclops, who oversees Shell City. The victims of the Cyclops do get better, fortunately.
- Eldritch Ocean Abyss: SpongeBob and Patrick make their way into a deep ocean trench with horrific monsters. Subverted when the monsters take a liking to them after they show off their impressive dance skills.
- Everybody Cries: All the pirates in the movie theater cry over SpongeBob and Patrick drying out under the lamp at Shell City.
- Exposition Victim: Squidward quickly deduces Plankton's Frame-Up scheme and threatens to tell King Neptune about it... in the middle of Plankton's restaurant.Plankton: We'll see about that, Inspector Loose-Lips! *Presses the doomsday button*
- Extremely Short Timespan: Not counting the live-action sequences and the Dream Intro, the majority of this film runs six days (according to King Neptune and Patrick). Counting the day where Plankton steals the crown and the Krusty Krab 2 did its grand opening, the film took seven days, under a whole week.
- Eye-Obscuring Hat: The bucket helmets are a whole face example of this — when active, they cover the entire fish's head.
- Eye Scream: The movie seems to have this as a Running Gag.
- "Bald! Bald! Bald! Bald! MY EYES!!"
- A more minor example, but Dennis gets a stream of bubbles blown directly into his eyes near the movie's climax, right before he gets knocked off Hasselhoff's back.
- Invoked but ultimately subverted in the beginning of the movie: After putting toothpaste on his tooth brush, SpongeBob uses it to brush his eyes, though he has no pained reaction to this act.
- Squire spraying hair growth spray into King Neptune's eyes, causing his eyes to grow hair all over.
- Face Death with Dignity: When it becomes apparent they're going to dry up and die, SpongeBob and Patrick take solace in the fact they made it to Shell City to begin with and go out singing the Goofy Goober song one last time. They get better.
- Faux Affably Evil: Plankton, in contrast to his usual Affably Evil, and Dennis the hitman who is very soft spoken and even polite.
- Fisher King: When Plankton takes over Bikini Bottom, he turns it into an evil reign empire and renames it "Planktopolis". The watery sky also changes from happy blue to corrupted brown.
- 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.
- Furry Confusion: A downplayed example. Once the dried animals in Shell City are revived by the sprinkler and regain a cartoony form, they look quite a bit different from the usual residents of the Bikini Bottom, appearing more like cartoony but realistically-proportioned sea creatures (like something out of The Little Mermaid (1989)) rather than the far more anthropomorphic Bikini Bottom residents. For example, compared the blowfish with Ms. Puff, the crabs and lobsters with Mr. Krabs and Larry, and even the starfishes with Patrick. The one exception is the mariachi band, who are stil drawn in the style of the series' usual fish extras.
- Go Out with a Smile: SpongeBob and Patrick dry out under the heat lamp with a smile in their face, because while they didn't get the crown, save Bikini Bottom from Plankton and save Mr. Krabs from execution, they did at least finished their mission: making it to Shell City, which is actually a gift shop.
- 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.
- Heartbreak and Ice Cream: SpongeBob uses dozens of Goofy Goober's Triple Gooberberry sundaes to get through the stress of being turned down the managerial position for the Krusty Krab 2.
- 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.
- Hero Killer:
- Out of all the villains in the movie, the Cyclops comes closest (yes, even closer than Plankton and Dennis) to killing SpongeBob and Patrick: he effectively does for a moment. And unlike the other villains in the movie, they were clearly far from his first victims.
- Incidentally, this is subverted with Dennis. Though Plankton describes him as a bloodthirsty predator, he has a tendency to get interrupted before he can actually hurt SpongeBob and Patrick. Nonetheless, he manages to be somewhat terrifying.
- The Hero's Journey: Even something like this can be made to fit: the beginning of the film shows SpongeBob's normal life in Bikini Bottom, and then he is forced to leave the comfort of home to save Mr. Krabs and retrieve Neptune's crown, by facing all sorts of challenges that require him to realize that he needs to grow up. The trench is the nadir of the journey when he and Patrick realize how pathetic they are, Shell City is the "descent to the underworld" (in that they are very nearly killed and only miraculously survive) and, when they return, SpongeBob saves everyone in town from Plankton's mind control by admitting that he may just be a kid, but that isn't so bad.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: SpongeBob and Patrick are as tight as ever. Patrick celebrates what he believes is SpongeBob's promotion by flying through the air with a flag stuck in his butt, gets drunk on ice cream with him, goes on the adventure to save the crown with him, and they almost die together while singing the Goofy Goober theme song, with their Single Tears merging into a heart-shape (which indirectly saves their lives).
- Hijacking Cthulhu: Plankton mind-controls King Neptune near the end.
- Humanity Ensues: In a Shout-Out to Pinocchio, King Neptune accidentally turns Mr. Krabs into a human boy before finally changing him back to normal.
- 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 under his helmet and laughs maniacally when his specimens start to panic, and NEVER takes off his diving suit.
- David Hasselhoff, however, is an aversion, being completely friendly to the duo.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- During the awards at the beginning of the movie, SpongeBob embarrasses himself by making a lot of noise. A few seconds later, he tells everybody to "shhhh".
- BALD! BALD! BALD! BALD! None of the others, besides Mindy, have hair either, though their domes aren't knock-your-eyes out shiny.
- Victor, the owner of the Thug Tug, uses the Goofy Goober theme song to weed out anyone who's not manly enough for his bar, claiming that whoever sings along to it is a "baby". And yet, as he closes in on SpongeBob and Patrick, he starts singing along. Though this may have been just to test them.
- Insistent Terminology: A classic example. King Neptune is not bald, he is thinning.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Upon learning that SpongeBob didn't get the promotion due to Mr. Krabs thinking he was a kid, Patrick calls it insane, claiming that saying SpongeBob is a kid is like saying he's a kid.Waiter: Here's your Goober Meal, Sir.
Patrick: Uh, I'm supposed to get a toy with this. (Waiter throws one at his face.) Thanks.
- Insult Backfire: Plankton insults SpongeBob for being just a kid who couldn't tackle an Evil Genius hellbent on world domination. SpongeBob embraces that he's a kid and enacts a musical number "I'm a Goofy Goober".
- Instrument of Murder: SpongeBob uses a laser-shooting electric guitar to destroy the citizens' mind control helmets - and he plays a pretty damn catchy Triumphant Reprise of the Goofy Goober song while he's at it!
- Internal Deconstruction: SpongeBob and Patrick's childish behavior isn't as overlooked or ignored as it is in the TV series. Mr. Krabs doesn't promote SpongeBob because he thinks he's just a "kid," spurning SpongeBob into a depression that leads to him lashing out at Mr. Krabs, convincing Neptune that Krabs is indeed the one who stole his crown. During their journey, SpongeBob and Patrick's careless, childish shenanigans outright put their lives at risk several times, falling for a monster who appears to give them ice cream and filling a Bad-Guy Bar with bubbles when the boss is willing to beat up anybody who blows bubbles there. Their efforts to become men with kelp mustaches give them false confidence but don't actually change who they are. However, this is reconstructed as SpongeBob celebrates his childish behavior at the end of the film, which actually saves the town.
- In the Style of: "The Best Day Ever", the last song to play over the closing credits, is a pastiche of The Beach Boys.
- Ironic Echo:
- "Sorry about this, calendar." First stated by SpongeBob when he removes a day from his calendar to reveal that today is the opening of the Krusty Krab 2, said later by Plankton when he removes the last day before Krabs' scheduled execution from his calendar.
- "We're on a baby hunt, and don't think we don't know how to weed them out!" The second time this is said, Patrick is mocking the owner of the Thug Tug.
- Irony: Mr. Krabs didn't like the idea of a second Krusty Krab in "As Seen on TV" because it was costing him a lot of money. The reason he gives for openly embracing it in this movie? Money.
- Is This Thing Still On?: When SpongeBob goes up to the stage, mistakenly believing that he won the manager position, Mr. Krabs tries whispering to him that he didn't get the job, only for SpongeBob partically repeat everything Mr. Krabs is saying to him.SpongeBob: People of Bikini Bottom, as the manager of—!!
Krabs: Uh, SpongeBob?
SpongeBob: Hold the phone, folks, I'm getting an important news flash from Mr. Krabs. Go ahead, Mr. K. (Krabs whispers into his ear) I'm making a complete what of myself? (more whispering) The most embarrassing thing you've ever seen? (more whispering) And now it's worse because I'm repeating everything you say into the microphone?
- Jaw Drop/Stunned Silence: Patrick and SpongeBob's (famous) reactions after narrowly escaping the old lady monster, and seeing the monster get promptly swallowed up by a giant eel.
- Jerkass: King Neptune. But Plankton is much more of a jerk.
- Jerkass Has a Point: King Neptune's harsh punishments become understandable when you realize that there are cruel people in this world who would commit crimes for their own selfish ends. Plankton is a perfect example, at least in this movie.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- King Neptune becomes this at the end, when he realized 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.
- Squidward, of all people, also becomes this at the end as well; he gave up his position as manager for SpongeBob just for him to be happy.
- 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... I'm... I'm... I'M A GOOFY GOOBER! ROCK!
- "Just Joking" Justification: Plankton tries to weasel his way out of jail time by claiming that him brainwashing the Bikini Bottomites and turning the town into his own personal dictatorship was somehow an elaborate joke. Nobody buys it, and as the squad car he is loaded in carries him away, he drops the act and loudly vows revenge on everyone.
- Karma Houdini: Karen was the one who led Plankton to looking through Plan Z, implying she made all the Plans herself, activated the mind-controlling Chum Bucket helmets after Plankton's command/button press and was all in on the plan, even with her usual snark at her husband... And yet at the end, she's shown giddily crowd surfing as everybody cheers on SpongeBob with no sign of her being arrested along with Plankton, unless it happened offscreen.
- Karmic Injury: Early on, SpongeBob accidentally steps on Plankton. Later, when SpongeBob and Patrick run into Dennis, the hitman sent by Plankton, he tells them that "for some reason Plankton wanted me to step on you." He's about to do just that when Dennis gets stepped on himself by the Greater-Scope Villain, the Cyclops from Shell City (who appears to have done so accidentally as well).
- Kids' Meal Toy: Referenced.Patrick: Well, saying you're a kid is like saying I'm a kid!
Waiter: Here's your Goober Meal, sir.
Patrick: Uh, I'm supposed to get a toy with this? [gets smacked in the face with toy] Thanks.
- 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 once it appears that SpongeBob and Patrick aren't going to meet the deadline.
- Knight of Cerebus:
- Though he does have a more comedic side, Dennis tends to be rather scary.
- And the Cyclops, especially, since he almost kills SpongeBob and Patrick.
- Laughably Evil: Dennis, Plankton's Assassin from The Movie, is downright sadistic and threatening. He's also very entertaining to watch due to his over-the-top nature and constant Evil Laugh.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the "Now That We're Men" musical number, the shot of SpongeBob and Patrick looking like old-timey boxers with "a manly flair" has a visible peg-bar registrationnote at the bottom of the screen.
- Loose Lips: Lampshaded when Plankton calls Squidward "Inspector Loose Lips" after he finds out his Evil Plan and threatens to expose him to King Neptune, prompting him to activate the bucket helmets' Mind Control to have Squidward captured and controlled himself.
- Love at First Sight: Patrick is infatuated with Neptune's daughter Mindy the second he meets her... even though she's telling them about how dangerous their journey will be.
- 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.
- Luring in Prey: As they journey out from Bikini Bottom, Sponge Bob and Patrick come across a rather incongruous ice cream stand owned by a sweet little old lady. It eventually turns out to be the elaborate lure of a gigantic frogfish that uses it to trick people into walking into its mouth.
- King Neptune's crown, the managerial position at the Krusty Krab 2 and the Krabby Patty recipe.
- The pirates in the live-action segments are seeking tickets for SpongeBob's movie.
- Magic Feather: Mindy gives SpongeBob and Partick a couple of seaweed moustaches to convince them she's turned them into men. This gives them the confidence to act more "manly" and cross the dangerous trenches. However, Dennis rips them off and reveals they're fake, sending them back to square one.
- Manly Facial Hair: Invoked. Princess Mindy makes a pair of mustaches out of seaweed to convince SpongeBob and Patrick that they have become men. Dennis notices the obviously fake mustaches, pulls them off the pair's faces, and says, "This is what a REAL mustache looks like!" He proceeds to pull down his bandana, revealing his clean-shaven face, and grows a full, bushy mustache through sheer force of will in an instant.
- Medium Blending: Along with the live-action scenes set on dry land, there is a brief shot using Stop Motion during the "Goofy Goober Rock" number.
- Mood Whiplash:
- In the midst of SpongeBob noticing all of his friends are brainwashed, once he gets to Gary...Gary: "MEOW PLANKTON."
- 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 Dennis, who has finally caught up with them and intends to kill them both.
- During Plankton's interview with Perch Perkins on how he got the Krabby Patty, he falsely tells him that Krabs secretly bequeathed the recipe to Plankton before he was frozen by King Neptune, and fake cries over it, then suddenly offers a free Chum Bucket bucket helmet with every purchase of a Krabby Patty with a cheeky grin on his face.
- An intense montage of SpongeBob and Patrick rushing to the Patty Wagon is interrupted by a shot of the two waiting patiently in an elevator before abruptly resuming again.
- In the midst of SpongeBob noticing all of his friends are brainwashed, once he gets to Gary...
- Mouthscreen: Used when SpongeBob says, "Those fish are...dead."
- Mugging the Monster: The two guys at the gas station do this to Dennis by taunting him with their usual joke. Dennis responds by ripping off their mouths.
- 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...SpongeBob: You got a name?
SpongeBob: You got a family, Phil?
SpongeBob: Come on, Phil, stay with me. Let's hear about that family.
Phil: I got a wife, and two beautiful children.
SpongeBob: That's what it's all about. I want you to do me a favor, Phil.
SpongeBob: Say "cheese."
- Near-Villain Victory: Two in a row within the last act. First of all, the cyclops has SpongeBob and Patrick imprisoned under a head lamp which dries them out. Secondly, Plankton, now having all of Bikini Bottom under his control, is ready to have Mr. Krabs executed by King Neptune. If SpongeBob and Patrick's Swiss-Army Tears didn't revive them when they did, and if David Hasslehoff didn't come to help them, Plankton would've won.
- Naked People Are Funny: Early in the film, Patrick goes parasailing with his pants, leaving him naked. He even wedges a flag between his butt cheeks.
- 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." and to emphasize the danger that they are in.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Squidward explains Plankton's plan and intends to rat him out to King Neptune right in front of his face! This causes Plankton to turn on the mind-control helmets on every citizen of Bikini Bottom and they corner Squidward and enslave him.Plankton: We'll see about that, Inspector Loose-Lips!
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: David Hasselhoff's reward for bringing SpongeBob and Patrick back to the Krusty Krab 2? Get scorched by King Neptune's trident.David Hasselhoff: (while backfloating on top of the Krusty Krab) Ya done good, Hasselhoff. Ya done... (gets burnt by the trident fire) Ow.
- Non-Standard Character Design: The revived sea creatures in Shell City are noticeably a lot less anthropomorphized than the citizens of Bikini Bottom are.
- Not Me This Time: Mr. Krabs' actions are just as criminal as Plankton's, if not more, but this time he's not the one who stole King Neptune's crown.
- 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.
- The sprinklers at Shell City not only revive SpongeBob and Patrick, but also all the other dried sea animals that had been made into knickknacks, who then take revenge on the Cyclops.
- 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!:
- SpongeBob and Patrick react this way when Victor begins his bubble-blowing baby hunt in the Thug Tug and brings out his searching method: the Goofy Goober theme song.
- Played for Laughs with SpongeBob and Patrick when a sea monster eats the Pattymobile. So much that Patrick's Oh, Crap! has earned the nickname Surprised Patrick.
- 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.
- SpongeBob and Patrick have a really huge one when they see Dennis has returned.
- Older Than They Look: According to SpongeBob, he has won the Employee of the Month Award 374 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 after he gets carried off to prison.
- One Last Song: SpongeBob and Patrick sing the Goofy Goober Song after realizing they made it to Shell City and found the crown after all, just before they dry out.
- Open-Fly Gag: Comes up when SpongeBob is finally offered his desired job as manager of the Krusty Krab 2. SpongeBob responds by saying that he has something he needs to say, but isn't sure how to put it. Squidward thinks that SpongeBob has decided that he doesn't want the job after all, causing SpongeBob to reply that he was only going to tell Squidward that his fly was down (even though Squidward never wore pants in the first place).
- Overly-Long Gag: Mindy (not) stalling Krabs's execution to try and buy SpongeBob and Patrick more time.
- Parental Bonus: Done rather blatantly. Plankton's Plan Z opens up like a centerfold as suggestive jazz plays.
- Pass the Popcorn: Plankton takes a seat and grabs some popcorn as Neptune gets ready to execute Krabs.
- Placebo Effect: When SpongeBob and Patrick are about to give up on their quest, Mindy appears and gives them some of her "mermaid magic", which is nothing but making them close their eyes and putting seaweed on their faces to simulate mustaches. Despite this, it works, giving SpongeBob and Patrick the bravery to cross the trench of sea monsters without even flinching.
- 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.
- Precision F-Strike: King Neptune using "damning" in the correct sense, and the phrase "Knucklehead McSpazatron" popping up at least twicenote . Mr. Krabs also seems to say "jackass" when whispering to SpongeBob.
- Psycho for Hire: Dennis outright says that he's a hitman because he loves his job.
- Race Against the Clock: SpongeBob and Patrick have to bring back the missing crown within six days, or King Neptune will burn Mr. Krabs to death.
- Rated M for Manly: The Thug Tug might be one the most on-the-nose examples of this. As a rule, they beat up anybody who blows bubbles.
- Rearrange the Song: The background music playing when SpongeBob and Patrick first peer into the Thug Tug is "You Better Swim" by Motörhead, an oceanic-themed re-recording of their 1992 song "You Better Run".
- Record Needle Scratch: During the "baby hunt" at the Thug Tug, the Siamese twins when they first appear on-screen are accompanied by this.
- 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.
- Red Filter of Doom: When King Neptune is about to have Mr. Krabs executed, the inside of the Krusty Krab turns an infernal red.
- Refuge in Audacity: By all accounts, David Hasselhoff's appearance in the movie to bring SpongeBob and Patrick back to Bikini Bottom is a Deus ex Machina bordering on Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, but that doesn't stop the Hoff from being outright AWESOME.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The sequence between the "Cyclops" (a maniacal diver) capturing SpongeBob and Patrick, and them returning to Bikini Bottom with David Hasselhoff!
- Ruder and Cruder: King Neptune actually uses the phrase "damning" when accusing Mr. Krabs, all without any dolphin chirps (or any of the other twelve sound effects representing the Thirteen Dirty Words, for that matter) to censor it.
- Sadist: Plankton is extremely sadistic in the movie. He shows great excitement, enthusiasm and joy when Mr. Krabs is going to be executed. Similarly, Dennis seems to be a hitman purely for the excuse to kill people.
- Sampling: "Goofy Goober Rock" includes a snippet of former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth scatting during his Cover Version of "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" by Louis Prima. Since the sample was only licensed for the screen version of the song, the soundtrack release replaces it with an extended silence.
- 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. Granted, there's really only one way to Shell City from Bikini Bottom.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Squidward ups and leaves before SpongeBob drags him into the road trip to Shell City.
- Series Fauxnale: This film was meant to serve as the closing to the show, but Nickelodeon insisted on putting the series back in production.
- Short-Lived Leadership: King Neptune gives SpongeBob and Patrick exactly six days (originally ten days, until Patrick argued it down to six) to return with his crown, or else he'll fry Mr. Krabs. During this time, Plankton takes over Bikini Bottom with slave helmets sold by the Chum Bucket. SpongeBob and Patrick manage to return just in time and defeat Plankton's slave army with The Power of Rock, ending Plankton's reign as dictator.
- The "nut bar" at Goofy Goober's has pictures of Pogo, Krazy Kat, and Popeye comics.
- 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.
- SpongeBob and Patrick strike the "Keep On Truckin'" pose just as Dennis cuts off their last verse of "Now That We're Men."
- Show Within a Show: The live-action segments feature pirates who are watching this movie in a pier theater.
- Sinister Shades: Dennis has a pair...well, at least two pairs, one of which he removes to examine a sesame seed left by the Patty Wagon.
- Skewed Priorities:
- After Mr. Krabs is frozen, Squidward says "Oh, no! This is terrible! Who's gonna sign my paycheck?"
- When Plankton takes over Bikini Bottom and renames it "Planktopolis" and enslaves all the citizens, Neptune's only concern is finding a way to cover his bald spot.
- The Sociopath:
- Plankton is this in the same movie. He does not seem to feel any remorse for what he does, and worse, undertakes to destroy everyone when arrested.
- Dennis, as befitting a Professional Killer.
- Something Only They Would Say: The Thug Tug has a low tolerance for anything "kiddie". When they see bubbles floating at the bar, the owner Victor has a Goofy Goober song at the ready to weed out any kids, or those with a kid-like mentality, who would finish the song. Luckily for SpongeBob and Patrick, two thugs join in the song before they could out of instinct.
- The Stinger: After the credits finish rolling, curtains drop and the camera pans out to show the pirates from the start and middle of the film still in the theater, chatting about how much they enjoyed the movie. An usher sweeping up popcorn asks that they leave, to which the captain responds by holding a sword to her throat before he and the crew reluctantly comply after she reiterates her order.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Goofy Goober's Ice Cream Party Boat is basically Chuck E. Cheese combined with Farrell's Ice Cream Parlournote , with a dancing peanut named Goofy Goober. Unlike most other parodies, this place isn't portrayed as soul-crushing or cheap, instead being a fairly light-hearted example beloved by SpongeBob and Patrick. That said, SpongeBob came here to drown his sorrows in gallons and gallons of ice cream sundaes (another way in which this sticks out from most examples, since it has an ice cream counter specifically for older patrons). When the sun rises the next morning, he's an absolute mess, covered in smears of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. The employee we see doesn't seem too enthusiastic about his job, though this might just be since he has to deal with ice cream-drunk SpongeBob.
- Surreal Humour: "Hooray! Bubble party!"
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: Subverted. After SpongeBob saves Bikini Bottom, Mr. Krabs decides to give him Squidward's manager job.SpongeBob: Wait a second, everybody. There's something I need to say first... 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 you don't want what you thought you wanted. What you really wanted was inside you all along.
SpongeBob: (grabs manager badge from Squidward) Are you crazy!? I was just gonna tell you that your fly is down!
- Swiss-Army Tears: What ultimately saves SpongeBob and Patrick from their Disney Death, though how it's done makes sense, at least in this universe: The tear flows off the desk and down the power cable of the lamp into the socket, shorting it out. This not only shuts off the lamp, but the resulting smoke triggers the sprinklers, reviving not only SpongeBob and Patrick, but the other sea creatures that the Cyclops had captured as well.
- Team Rocket Wins: After an endless amount of failures in the TV series (excluding "The Algae is Always Greener", where he technically succeeds), Plankton at last gets his hand on the secret formula and begins selling Krabby Patties at the Chum Bucket.
- Tempting Fate: While riding the Hasselhoff, SpongeBob happily tells Patrick, "Nothing Can Stop Us Now!". Then the Cyclops' "bigger boot" shows up, and Dennis is dropped off to their horror.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Lots of examples.
- The "Now That We're Men" song.
- Dennis growing his mustache in an instant to prove how much manlier he is 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.
- Time for Plan B: Paroded. Plankton has gone through twenty-five plans lettered from "A" to "Y," and decides to execute the last one, Plan Z, which he's ignored until now.
- 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. They faced many dangerous sea creatures while venturing across the sea to retrieve King Neptune’s crown and managed to defeat Plankton.
- 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 the catamaran. The scene itself plays out like a usual death scene would.
- The Unreveal: Plankton finally finds out the Krabby Patty formula, but we don't.
- Vader Breath: The Cyclops, when he is present in the scene he has this.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Plankton himself, Dennis and the Cyclops. Plankton is much more dangerous than he is in the TV series, Dennis is a murderer-for-hire, and the Cyclops sort-of manages to kill SpongeBob and Patrick among other sea creatures.
- 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 than 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.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Plankton attempts this by escaping the Krusty Krab through the front door, but he is thwarted when the crowd eager to see SpongeBob tramples Plankton.
- Vocal Evolution: SpongeBob's voice is notably higher in the movie than it was in the show. This change would make its way to the show itself after it got Un-Canceled.
- We Need a Distraction: At the Thug Tug, SpongeBob plans to create a distraction while Patrick steals back the keys to the Patty Wagon. Patrick offers to do the distraction instead, but then he just asks where the bathroom is.
- We Will Meet Again: Plankton proclaims that he'll destroy everyone as he is taken away by the police. However as the film takes place at the end of the timeline, this appears to be an empty threat.
- Welcome to Corneria: When the Bikini Bottomites are brainwashed by Plankton, all they say is "All hail Plankton."
- Welcome to the Big City: The moment SpongeBob and Patrick cross the Bikini Bottom border, a thug steals their Patty Wagon.
- Wham Line:
- When Squidward intends to tell King Neptune of Plankton's heinous actions, Karen exclaims this line when Plankton gives the go-ahead to an extension of Plan Z, one that marks the movie's Cerebus Syndrome and Plankton's Not-So-Harmless Villain role.Karen: Now activating helmet brain control devices.
- Towards the end of the film, when SpongeBob and Patrick realize how close they are to their goal.Patrick: No! Look at the sign! Shell City, Marine Gifts and Sundries!
- The final line is Plankton's backup plan for when the crown does get returned. Dropping a mind-control helmet on Neptune while dropping this whammy.Plankton: My parade shall be quite dry, under my UMBRELLA!
- When Squidward intends to tell King Neptune of Plankton's heinous actions, Karen exclaims this line when Plankton gives the go-ahead to an extension of Plan Z, one that marks the movie's Cerebus Syndrome and Plankton's Not-So-Harmless Villain role.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end credits show scenes of SpongeBob enjoying his new life as the manager of the Krusty Krab 2.
- The Worf Effect: Victor the Thug Tug owner looks scary and intimidating and is naturally the strongest guy at the bar. Until he tries to pick a fight with Dennis...
- Worthless Currency: When SpongeBob is cornered by an assassin-for-hire, he tries to bribe the criminal with "Goober Dollars", fake currency that can be exchanged for snacks in certain junk food restaurants.
- Wowing Cthulhu: The terrible monsters of the abyss are struck by SpongeBob and Patrick's confidence after the two repeatedly avoid the monsters' attempt to kill them and perform an extremely cool slap-dance. The ocean terrors can't help but join the tiny little fish in singing and dancing along to "Now That We're Men." Lampshaded by SpongeBob, whose comment offends the monsters and causes them to walk away grumbling."Shell City's dead ahead! We did it, Pat! We made it past everything, even the hideous and disgusting monsters!"
- Writing Around Trademarks: The Cyclops clearly uses a bottle of Elmer's brand glue, with just enough of it dried over the label to obscure the logo and name.
- "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 instead of Squidward (who presumably isn't overly enthusiastic about the job).SpongeBob: Manager! This is the greatest day of my liiiife!
- 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!
Usher: Excuse me, sir. You folks have to leave.
Captain: WHAAAT!? Say that again, if you dare!
Usher: You folks have to leave.
Captain: (Beat) ...Okay.