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'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run': Film Review

There's a touching dedication on the end credits of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run to Stephen Hillenburg, the marine biologist-turned-animator who created the series that grew into a $13 billion franchise and died in 2018.

It's accompanied by what looks to be a rudimentary early image of the eponymous hero, an eternally upbeat sea sponge whose core values of friendship, kindness and community have made the coral atoll population of Bikini Bottom an animation staple for more than two decades.

Those fundamental traits inform this infectious third feature spinoff, its heart matched by its loopy anarchic spirit. Written and directed by Tim Hill, a long-time key collaborator on the Nickelodeon series, this is the first all-CGI iteration.

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