SpongeBob Squarepants Movie: Sponge out of water

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Not recommended under 6, parental guidance recommended 6-10 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for SpongeBob Squarepants Movie: Sponge out of water
  • a review of SpongeBob Squarepants Movie: Sponge out of water completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 March 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 6 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: SpongeBob Squarepants Movie: Sponge out of water
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence
Length: 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Burger-Beard the Pirate (voice of Antonio Banderas) discovers a magic book that tells the story of Bikini Bottom and 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 rather 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.

Burger-Beard isn’t the only one who wants to steal the recipe. Plankton (Mr Lawrence) the owner of the rival café Chum Bucket, also wants the recipe. In his attempt to steal it from the vault it magically disappears, taken out of Bikini Bottom by Burger-Beard. Bikini Bottom descends into chaos and anarchy and 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. However, in order to restore order to Bikini Bottom they need to travel to the real world and find Burger-Beard.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel: greed and theft; magic

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is quite a lot of cartoon style violence in this movie. Most is played for comedy but some of is likely to disturb young children or need explanation. Examples include:

  • SpongeBob sucks Plankton up in a vacuum
  • A plane drops bottles of tartare sauce onto the Krusty Krab and Mr Krab and SpongeBob fight back with a canon, shooting the plane down.
  • War breaks out with SpongeBob and another soldier seen in a bunker shooting with an automatic rifle firing sauce bottles at a tank. The tanker fires back shooting mayonnaise over them. Plankton emerges from being smothered in mayonnaise as a giant evil robot.
  • Robot Plankton steps on SpongeBob, flattening 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 the superheroes. 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 canons 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 seen chained to the top of a pyramid with all of the fish crying out ‘sacrifice’. A hangman comes and chops through a rope releasing a heavy weight, which drops on SpongeBob.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A number of 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; 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 emerges from the time machine – he is large and scary looking.
  • Bubbles appears in a ball of light, carries SpongeBob and his friends in his mouth and blows them out through his blowhole onto the beach.
  • SpongeBob and his friends all become super heroes to defeat Burger-Beard - they all look very large with huge muscles.
  • SpongeBob looks as if he is dead on the road.
  • Plankton transforms into a huge super hero who lifts the Burger-Beard’s ship up in the air and kicks Burger-Beard into the ocean.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • When Plankton tries to steal the recipe from the vault he sets off the alarms and 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 a lid of a box with tape and he is tortured with the sound of SpongeBob’s really loud laugh. The screen shows multiple faces of SpongeBob.
  • Krab predicts bad times are coming to Bikini Bottom and fires break out spontaneously. 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 - sweating and running all over the place with swirly eyes.
  • Plankton goes inside SpongeBob’s brain which is full of sweet things but scary too. 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.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may need help with some of the above-mentioned scenes – especially the idea of human sacrifice

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern in the movie but plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Some mild flirting – Patrick sees a girl in a bikini and asks where she’s been all his life.

Nudity and sexual activity

Plenty of girls in skimpy bikinis

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • SpongeBob and Patrick fill up on candy floss – they appear to be on a sugar ‘high’ and go on a sort of trip.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie that children may imitate, including:

  • “flipping”
  • name calling such as “dimwit”

In a nutshell

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of water is an animated comedy action movie based on the TV character and aimed at children. The high level of violence and scary scenes however, make it unsuitable for children under 6 and parental guidance is recommended for 6 to 10 year olds. It is more intense in the 3D version.

The main messages from this movie are that more is achieved by working as a team.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • selflessness
  • reflective thinking
  • collaboration

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • While 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?