Story

In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Burger Beard the Pirate (voice of Antonio Banderas) discovers a magic book that tells the story of the town of Bikini Bottom. Burger Beard realises that whatever he writes in the book comes true. When he sees the success of the Krusty Krab and its famous Krabby Patties, he wants to steal the secret recipe. The Krusty Krab is owned by Mr Krabs (Clancy Brown), a greedy crab who likes making lots of money. SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) works there as a burger flipper, along with Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass) the cashier.

Plankton (Mr Lawrence), the owner of the rival café Chum Bucket, also wants the patty recipe. When Plankton tries to steal the recipe from the vault, it magically disappears. Burger Beard has taken it out of Bikini Bottom, which descends into chaos and anarchy. SpongeBob knows he must get the recipe back to save his ocean home. He makes a time machine with Plankton, and together they go back in time to stop the recipe disappearing. But to restore order to Bikini Bottom, they need to travel to the real world and find Burger Beard.

Themes

Time travel: greed and theft; magic

Violence

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has quite a lot of cartoon-style violence. Most is played for comedy, but some is likely to disturb young children or need explanation. For example:

  • SpongeBob sucks Plankton up in a vacuum.
  • A plane drops bottles of tartare sauce onto the Krusty Krab. Mr Krab and SpongeBob fight back with a cannon. They shoot the plane down.
  • War breaks out. SpongeBob and a soldier use an automatic rifle to fire sauce bottles at a tanker. The tanker fires mayonnaise back at them. After being smothered in mayonnaise, Plankton emerges as a giant evil robot.
  • Robot Plankton steps on SpongeBob and flattens him.
  • Krab yells at Plankton, kicks him and throws him to the ground.
  • Patrick sits on Plankton and squashes him.
  • SpongeBob squashes Plankton under his shoe.
  • Bubbles the dolphin tries to kill SpongeBob and Plankton with red and blue lasers from his blowhole.
  • A tyrannosaurus rex almost eats Krab.
  • A boy viciously kicks at SpongeBob and his friends, who are on his sandcastle.
  • There is a fight scene between Burger Beard and SpongeBob and his friends. Krab pins Burger Beard to his ship. Sandy spits peanuts at him, and Patrick bombards him with soft serve ice-creams, which backfire onto him. Burger Beard fires cannons at SpongeBob. 
  • Sandy decides a sacrifice is needed to placate the gods. Krab appears dressed in black with spikes on his back. SpongeBob and Plankton are going to be sacrificed. SpongeBob offers himself as the sacrifice. He is chained to the top of a pyramid, and all of the fish cry out ‘Sacrifice!’ A hangman chops through a rope, which releases a heavy weight that drops on SpongeBob.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • There are several scary characters. Burger Beard is a mean-looking pirate with a loud voice. The evil Robot Plankton looks quite scary. Patrick the starfish seems to have a second, large mouth in his stomach. And after Bikini Bottom descends into chaos, Krab is dressed in black, and all of the fish look like gangsters.
  • SpongeBob and Plankton go several times into a time machine, where they seem to be in some sort of a kaleidoscope with lots of swirling colours and noise.
  • A tyrannosaurus rex comes out of the time machine – he is large and scary.
  • Bubbles appears in a ball of light. He carries SpongeBob and his friends in his mouth and blows them out through his blowhole onto the beach.
  • SpongeBob and his friends all become superheroes to defeat Burger Beard. They all look very large with huge muscles.
  • SpongeBob looks as if he is dead on a road.
  • Plankton changes into a huge superhero. He lifts Burger Beard’s ship up in the air and kicks Burger Beard into the ocean.
  • Bubbles shoots a seagull with a laser.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group:

  • When Plankton tries to steal the recipe from the vault, he sets off the alarms. All of the doors slam shut, trapping him.
  • Plankton cries when he’s caught. Krab yells at him really loudly, kicks him and makes him walk through a line of fish, who all laugh at him.
  • Krab sticks Plankton to the lid of a box with tape and tortures him with the sound of SpongeBob’s loud laugh. The screen shows multiple faces of SpongeBob.
  • Krab predicts bad times are coming to Bikini Bottom. Bikini Bottom looks like a wasteland – everything is on fire or falling down, and the fish are all fighting each other.
  • Sandy the squirrel appears mad. He sweats and runs all over the place, and he has swirly eyes.
  • Plankton goes inside SpongeBob’s brain. It’s full of sweet things but is also scary. Plankton falls off a birthday cake, and a large cat appears from nowhere.
  • Burger Beard writes SpongeBob and his friends out of the story. He banishes them to Pelican Island – a tall rocky outcrop where they are attacked by large birds.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might need help with some of the scenes mentioned above, especially the ones involving human sacrifice.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has some sexual references, including scenes that show mild flirting. For example, Patrick sees a girl in a bikini and asks where she’s been all his life.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water shows some use of substances. For example, SpongeBob and Patrick fill up on candy floss. They seem to be on a sugar ‘high’.

Nudity and sexual activity

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water shows some partial nudity. For example, there are scenes with lots of girls in skimpy bikinis.

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water but plenty of associated merchandise is being marketed to children.

Coarse language

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has some mild coarse language that children might copy.

Ideas to discuss with your children

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is an animated comedy adventure movie based on the TV character. 

This movie is aimed at children, but the high level of violence and scary scenes make it unsuitable for children under six years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-10 years. The violence and scary scenes are more intense in the 3D version. 

The main messages from this movie are that you can achieve more by working as a team.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness, reflective thinking and collaboration.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the following:

  • Although firing missiles of mayonnaise and tomato sauce might seem harmless, these objects would actually hurt in real life. 
  • Why did Patrick betray his friend SpongeBob? Did he think he was doing the right thing?
  • Would losing a favourite food source really cause the community to descend into such chaos?