Film scores

Soundtrack review: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out our water (John Debney – 2015)

„SpongeBob” is a very famous kid’s character from a Nickelodoen series. I’ve never watched an episode but I’ve heard the guy mentioned and I’ve seen posters and such, he’s really popular. Naturally, they also made a couple of movies where he and his friends mix up with the real world. The lovable underwater character seems beefed up in this new computer animation. “Sponge out of water” is the latest, and John Debney wrote the score. Normally I would have found that strange but I’ve just heard his awesome work for the comedy “The cobbler” and I was intrigued by his versatility. Can’t wait to hear what he did with the SpongeBob movie.

And hello there over the top adventurous symphonic intro! This is clearly not for the title character. Someone is leading a ship towards our shores and he must be a mighty pirate by the sound of it. Don’t know who Burger Beard is but I want to hear more of his themes please. I haven’t had such a first reaction to an opening theme since Lorne Balfe’s “Penguins of Madagascar”. No, “Burger Bear on the island” is not as catchy but it’s so much fun! Next he reads a story and the pirate flute mixes with the Eastern European sounding violins Debney used in “The Cobbler”.

For this score John Debney doesn’t experiment that much. He just goes full orchestral / adventure mode and it was a great decision. I am hearing cues I don’t have to look into too much or analyze them. They are just bold and enjoyable and the instruments play hide and seek with each other to the listener’s amusement. It doesn’t always sound like a children’s movie. The danger in “Torturing Plankton / refund” is real but the composer leaves small breadcrumbs of music to remind us not to be too worried.

I am very fond of the pirate inserts that appear every now and then. Just listen to “The end / get him” which is part pirate dance part science fiction goodness. There are a lot of surprises in this piece, from a marching band to a few seconds of clubbing and I’ll let you discover the rest. John Debney keeps the music interesting all the time. How about the emotional and sweeping “Going to sleep / inside SpongeBob’s brain”?. I surely didn’t expect a melody like this one.

Don’t expect a silly and light score from “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of water”. This composition can go toe to do with any fantasy movie score. It has its epic moments, it was emotion and the silliness is kept to a minimum. “My very own food truck / Sandy proposes sacrifice” even has somber choral work that makes me think of movies like “Lord of the rings”. The action and suspense are there in almost every cue and the more I listen to this score the more I create my own imagines for the music.

This has been one of the most surprising scores of 2015. John Debney delivered a solid orchestral effort which can surely find a place in your collection. I don’t know other SpongeBob scores or if this fits with the character in any way, but “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out our water” was a joy to listen to and ends up as one of the most fun adventure scores of the year so far. If you like pirate movie or sea adventure movie scores, this one will be right on your alley. John Debney is having a great year so far and I hope he’s not done.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 30 / 49

Album excellence: 60%

Highlights:

Burger Beard On Island

Plankton Attack / Tank Defeat / Giant Robot / Trying To Steal Formula

Going To Sleep / Inside Spongebob’s Brain

Getting The Key / Plankton Rescues Karen

My Very Own Food Truck / Sandy Proposes Sacrifice

Bubbles To The Rescue Beach Search For Krabby Pattys

Story Rewrites / Invincabubble

Chasing Burger Beard / Team Worked

Not So Fast Burger Beard / Plankton / Real Teamwork

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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