Tag Archives: Alec Baldwin

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) Movie Retro Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Spongebob

Directors: Stephen Hillenburg, Mark Osborne
Writers: Stephen Hillenburg (television series SpongeBob SquarePants), Stephen Hillenburg (story)
Stars: Tom Kenny, Jeffrey Tambor, Clancy Brown, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff

Nickelodeon could have really made a hash of this beloved character and show and Hollywoodised the transfer from animated television show to cinema. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and everything you loved about the tv series remains in this 2004 release. Okay it attracted a few stars in Alec Baldwin and Scarlett Johansson, who merely are supporting voice actors here to the established cast.

Why am I doing a Movie Review on “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie”? Simple answer is my daughter asked me to do it and if I’m being honest there is a little self indulgence thrown in as I think the television series although mainly aimed at children cater for the child in most adults too. In the film, there’s no difference.

So the plot to the movie is SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) takes leave from the town of Bikini Bottom in order to track down King Neptune’s (Jeffrey Tambor) stolen crown with his trusty friend Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) at his side in this very funny adventure. To be honest the plot was always going to be simple and effective, more importantly was, could Stephen Hillenburg and Mark Osborne maintain a steady flow of humour for the duration of the film? Could they keep the audience who were used to a 23 minutes sketch interested long enough? The answer to both questions was yes and yes. 

Hillenburg and Osborne manage to have a gag almost every 20 seconds throughout. It’s something to be able to achieve this but to keep the story rolling merely forward without the humour taking you out of the plot is something that they appear to manage with ease. I always thought that 20 odd minute animated shows shouldn’t try this format as it’s difficult to maintain, I was certainly wrong here but perhaps not in the release of The Simpson’s Movie that came out a few years after this release my fears came true. The Simpson’s still is a very funny show but perhaps hit a blip when they decided to have an overblown plot that didn’t suit or match the TV show. This is why I think The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie succeeds. It doesn’t try too hard to appear as a movie, but more as 4 episodes of the same story continuing without a break. There is some terrific writing in here that is comedy at its best but also one of the saddest scenes you will experience in animation when Spongebob and Patrick are dehydrating their ways to certain death that precursors the incinerator scene from Toy Story 3.

The cast have been very tight in the last 2 decades on the show and the latter movie releases. Here they have that same energy and I’m still trying to process Clancy Brown voicing the very funny Mr. Krabs. The same Clancy Brown who played a bad ass prison guard in The Shawshank Redemption a decade earlier. There is a line in the movie that cracks me up in his line delivery in the opening of his new restaurant “The Krusty Krab 2” in which he openly admits to the press that he loves money “Hello, I’m Mr. Krabs, and I like money” to which the reporter asks why he is opening a second Krusty Krab restaurant, Mr. Krabs simply replies “Money” This line of course will never do it any justice in a Movie Review as it’s down to Clancy Brown’s voice and Mr. Krabs demented face that have my daughter and I in stitches every time.

Tom Kenny as the ever youthful voice of Spongebob never loses that spritely zing and flair that comes with the ever energetic character that is Spongbob Squarepants. Those opening scenes of disbelief of not receiving an assumed promotion are some of the best voice work from Kenny. From ever optimist to depressed sponge in a matter of moments is funny and emotional at the same time. Kenny along with Fagerbakke are an amazing double act in Spongebob and Patrick and it’s both these actors who carry the film throughout. It is after all their adventure and the stakes couldn’t be higher in a life or death quest to retrieve The King’s Crown .

Overall, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a brilliant funny comedy that is aimed at the whole family and although the title and character name is assuming at times as a kids character I can guarantee all ages will enjoy this adventure. Hillenburg and Osborne done well not to fall into the trap of blowing their formula out of proportion and kept the story simple with the writing clever and layered. If you aren’t a fan or have never watched the television series it doesn’t matter. The film is a self contained joy and newer audiences will get a kick out of the film. Highly recommend.

The Boss Baby (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

BOSS BABY.png

Directors: Hendel Butoy,  Tom McGrath
Writers: Michael McCullers,  Marla Frazee (based on the book by)
Stars: Alec Baldwin,  Steve Buscemi,  Jimmy Kimmel

Tom McGrath’s Boss Baby is a visually alluring experience that ultimately doesn’t have a very captivating story and falls disappointingly short on laughs. It features a pretty excellent cast, spearheaded by Alec Baldwin and Tobey Maguire, and essentially revolves around sharing the love (The Beatles would be proud) and a seven year old with an overactive imagination, who takes serious umbrage at his upstart newborn brother disrupting his peaceful existence.

That’s really how things start in this one. McGrath conveys to viewer early on just how unreliable a narrator Tim (Tobey Maguire) is, as the young boy gushes about his fantastical adventures with his family, the world around him literally changing to reflect the fanciful happenings he’s describing. And so, when the newborn ‘Boss Baby’ (Alec Baldwin) enters the fray, walking up the driveway in a remarkably well fitted suit and clutching a briefcase, it’s fair to say that young Tim is projecting his imagination to explain the situation (there’s a brief glimpse of his mothers baby bump). Tim isn’t best pleased with the new arrival, who has a short but visually appetising scene up in the heavens of ‘Baby Corp’, slipping and sliding through a gleaming assembly line for newborns, before landing in a sprawling office.

The general gist of the wider story is that Tim is upset with having to share his parents attention, whilst his baby brother goads him with his hidden intelligence way beyond his years. He’s been sent down on a secret mission by Baby Corp to garner as much information on a new breed of puppy that threatens to upset the love/attention equilibrium between children, pets and parents. What follows is a battle of wills between the two with Tim doing everything in his power to rumble the talking, baby 007, though failing miserably. I’ll admit there was one particular chase scene involving a squad of babies around this point that was actually quite good and was one of the better moments in the film.

Eventually the two from a grudging alliance in the face of the new Puppy Co threat, but mainly because Boss Baby tells Tim that he’ll leave him to his paradisiacal, only child, existence afterwards if they succeed. The film then transforms into a classic mismatched buddy style, with the pair falling into the CEO of Puppy Co’s dastardly trap during a ‘take the kids to work’ day. Francis Francis (Steve Buscemi), you see, was a one time legendary boss in the world of Baby Corp and is close to unveiling the ‘Forever Puppy’, a revenge fuelled attack on his previous employers, needing only Boss Baby’s magic formula to add the final touches to his creation. Once he takes this, it leaves the latter in a precarious fight against time to avoid transforming into an actual baby.

The pair end up hitching a ride on a flight full of Elvis impersonators to Las Vegas in one final attempt to stop Francis Francis from releasing the Forever Puppy’s via a rocket ship (I’m sure I recall that correctly, though admittedly, my attention was wandering majorly by this point); save Tim’s now kidnapped parents (or are they just on a business trip? Did the Las Vegas trip even happen? Lord knows?) and save Boss Baby from his nightmare of being sacked from his position at Baby Corp and becoming a literal drooling, giggling, newborn. Again, if this sounds a little fanciful, do remind yourself that this is an animated kids film and it’s supposed to be a jilted seven year olds imaginary take on events.

The strong cast was a real strong point for this film amongst many weaknesses. Alec Baldwin was outstanding as the devious Boss Baby and his voice definitely added to the character enormously. Toby Maguire was also very believable as the seven year old Tim (remember this guy is 41) and the two leads played off each other very well. Meanwhile; Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel and Steve Buscemi were all decent enough in their relative cameo roles as the mother, father and Francis Francis respectively. The fact I’m even calling their parts cameos should give a sense of how much the two leads dominate the screen time.

Now from a purely visual standpoint, this film gets a 10/10, especially during Tim’s spontaneous, psychosis like bursts of imagination. Unfortunately though we don’t judge films solely on their visuals merits. I understand this film is not marketed to my age demographic and I’m perhaps being a little harsh. It’s a children’s film which is fine. Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings and Zootopia are three films within the last year alone that share the same target demographic however and they all featured enjoyable, engaging stories that could captivate younger viewers whilst also having enough under the surface gloss to hold the gaze of adults too. Boss Baby doesn’t have this, sadly, it really doesn’t and I lost interest around the half-way point.

It’s not a brutally bad film and there was certainly some fun moments scattered throughout, but I’d really only recommend this to families or people with young kids.