SpongeBob SquarePants movie

Paramount Pictures

Our dedication to figuring out just what the hell is going on in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water continues unabated. Next up in the case of the “what is going on in this movie?,” it’s the film’s first trailer. Fortunately, two minutes of this is enough to put aside some fears, but we’ve still got more questions than we’re comfortable with when it comes to a film about a beloved animated kitchen sponge.

Let’s look at what we have so far: a creepy first look picture (included up top, because we’re sorry) that looked like the nightmarish marriage of an off-brand theme park and a superhero movie from The Asylum. Are those people in those costumes? Is that possible? What is this film going to look like? Why is this the best first look available? Rest assured, it’s not, and the film’s first trailer does assuage some fears when it comes to what the finished product will look like. SpongeBob and his pals will indeed stay animated. But they will be changing during the course of the feature because, as it turns out, even SpongeBob can’t escape the pull of the superhero movie. Take a look:

Wait, what? You can just become a superhero by sheer will?

Like most animated movies aimed at a younger-skewing audience, explaining what Sponge Out of Water is about makes the explainer sound deranged. We’ll try anyway. In Sponge Out of Water, a gnarly pirate (Antonio Banderas) threatens to destroy SpongeBob’s watery home, Bikini Bottom, in pursuit of a wee piece of paper that holds the key to, uh, something. In order to defend his home, SpongeBob and pals (and yes, that does include a squire in a spacesuit) have to go to the mainland. Okay.

Once on the mainland, Sponge Out of Water actually breaks with SpongeBob (the show) tradition — instead of showing the sponge and his pals as actual objects (a real kitchen sponge, a dried out starfish, etc.), they look like themselves. You know, animated. Weirdly, no one bats an eye. Sure, Hollywood has blended live-action and CGI plenty of times before in ways that have sort of made sense, but it seems pretty bizarre that no one in this trailer seems put off by the talking, animated sponge. And then it gets weirder!

Somehow, SpongeBob and pals become superheroes during the course of the feature, all the better to battle the pirate and save Bikini Bottom. The mechanics of how that actually happens are missing from this trailer, but it sure makes like it look like they just thought about it (really hard) and it happened. The superhero movie is now dead. Long live the superhero movie.

Really, though, if even a character as beloved and prevalent as SpongeBob feels the need (or, more accurately, his creative team feels the need) to inject a superhero subplot into his latest big screen outing, that’s the end, right? There’s no more hope for anything, is there?

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water will arrive on February 6, 2015. We cannot wait.


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