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Feature Film

Filmmaker Leah Shore Reviews ‘The SpongeBob Movie’ in Comic Form


Plenty of reviews of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water have already been written, but this Talkhouse piece by Brooklyn-based independent filmmaker Leah Shore (Old Man, Meatwaffle) deserves credit for shaking up the typical review format with a more personal and free-form approach that combines text and drawings. It’s a fun experiment that bridges the worlds of commercial and independent filmmaking.

  • Billy C.

    Wow, what a creative, humorous, and visually interesting review! I loved how she incorporated the first SpongeBob movie at the beginning of her review. I also liked her comparison of the film to the Muppet movies. This review definitely blows the many SpongeBob-related YouTube reviews out of the water (pun intended).

  • Steele Carter

    This is really cool, imaginative, and very creative! If only more reviews were like this!

  • L_Ron_Hoover

    I wish more reviews were as lively although I don’t really enjoy the uninformed rant about a lack of female writers, suggesting possible sexism from the crew (or hiring department.) Just because the movie was written by men (you know, the guys who created the show) doesn’t mean the film lacked important involvement from people who happened to be female.

    Some people need to do a bit more research into productions and in this case, the history of the production before jumping to conclusions…I’m just tired of these accusations constantly being tossed around, especially in animation. Thank you, internet!

    • Kdog

      Interesting defensive response. Leah’s review is specifically addressing the writers on the show, and I say her argument has a huge amount of validity. She does not say the crew and/or hiring department lack women as well, though that would be an interesting topic to discuss- I’m guessing there’s an HR department in there somewhere. I’m sure you’re right and there are loads of females among those groups.

      What Leah is announcing (ranting, let’s call it out here, is she BITCHING? Lord forbid) here is that there should be MORE writers, animators, artists, and critics, for that fact. The very point that you’ve taken this one piece of her amazing and creative review and gone on a “rant” about it yourself just justifies her further. Don’t push her down because she has something to say that you don’t like. I say Bravo to Leah for calling out what’s been so obvious in the animation industry for ages.

      • L_Ron_Hoover

        It sounds like you too also spent no time to research who worked on this movie or read any credits. You also made tons of speculative assumptions about me, it’s no wonder you support her uninformed opinions. Anyways, I’ll divulge a bit more about this, despite the fact that I can tell this already isn’t going to go anywhere.

        “…MORE writers…”

        A good question that should be asked by yourself is ‘who wrote this movie?’ Because it’s sort of a difficult question, since this is a feature film and so many people worked on it over the course of years…Now the people who wrote the screenplay are two famous male writers who were probably hired by Paramount based on their writing resume for a massively successful animated CG franchise (Kung Fu Panda.)

        Keep in mind, Paramount Animation is also a brand new company so their interest lies in “who can help give us a hit to start off with?” Considering the fact that the majority of blockbuster animation writers happen to be male, Paramount wasn’t picking from a list of many female writers to begin with…

        Anyways, who most likely actually wrote the movie were the credited story writers, Steve Hillenburg (creator of Spongebob) and Paul Tibbitt (director.) Their involvement lasted the entire film since they are the executive producers, while the screenplay writers were probably just doing another gig. So with such a small group of writers, 2 of whom have been developing SpongeBob for over 15 years, why would they hire anyone else???

        “MORE animators”

        This is a Nickelodeon feature animation, their work is never animated in America. The studio who animates for Nickelodeon (Cartoon Network and others) is Rough Draft Korea (RDK.) There are a good amount of female animators working over there. So…you’re wrong.

        “MORE artists”

        What does that mean exactly? Two famous online artists, Aurore Damant and Elsa Chang both stated that they were involved on the production. Aurore did visual development (which is a massively important gig), which seemed to have been adapted exactly in the movie. You can see it here on her blog: http://auroredamant.blogspot.com/

        Check the IMDB for more names, I’m sure you can spot a good amount of females.

        “MORE critics”

        No critics worked on the movie…But if you read Rotten Tomatoes, you can see many female faces.

        Any more completely uninformed assumptions??

        Also, you’re comment about women working in HR. Yes, a lot of women work in human resources because the field statistically interests women more than men. Not every job shares equal interest between both sexes. That’s a whole other rant.

    • Joe Blow


      There are at least three female animators on this movie. All she had to do was check IMDB.

    • Ryoku240

      This was certainly more inventive than what I expect on youtube, “I’ll review this film by making a convenient list of nitpicky complaints, be sure to check out my twittbook and subscribe!”.

  • Mister Twister

    Thanks for the link!

  • L_Ron_Hoover

    There are 36 people working in the animation department. Those aren’t animators. It’s a mix of background artists, layout and storyboard artists, directors, and supervisors. Usually those credits include people who don’t even work in the same country, let alone the same studio…

    Anyways, I still don’t see your point. There should be more women for the sake of having more women? Or that the hiring system was flawed and specifically hired male artists? Like I pointed out, a few of the most important roles (character design, visual development, concept art, assistant director, costume/set design, and graphic designer) are primarily women.

    If you read anything I wrote previously or look at the links, you would see that a young female artist’s development (Aurore Damant) was used for an entire sequence of the film. She writes about it on her blog…That probably means nothing to you though because MEN did everything else, right? Again, read up on who did other work on the film. It takes me no time to find out that one of the two background artists was a woman.

    For you to continue pointing out that more men worked on this project than women doesn’t say anything at all. There are animated shows I can point out that have more women working on it than men. Look at Disney’s new show “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” there is one male storyboard artist on that show…Only one. Nobody cares.

    If you had more experience then you might also see that there are a lot more females in animation interested in working on educational and interactive animation. You’ll see that some shows or departments have more of one sex than the other, that doesn’t mean a ton of women applied for the same position that a guy applied for and they were denied based on their sex.

    Maybe it is less to do with sexism and more to do with how many women are interested in working on a show for young males. For series in general, there are typically less women working on or applying for shows with a demographic of young boys (not to say there aren’t any!) But then again, the genre of the show matters more than the gender of the lead character(s).

    • Max W

      It doesn’t matter how detailed your argument gets, because you seem to think that there is an equal balance of men and women in the animation industry; it is widely known that this is absolutely not the case. Yes, Star has a mostly female crew, which is great for a change. Is that enough? Oh, and you’re incorrect in saying that there is only one male storyboard artist on that crew; not the case.

      Why does it matter? Well, to you, it obviously doesn’t, things are fine the way they are according to you. But it IS important to some people, SIMPLY because: They want to see, feel and hear more female voices in the animation world. It’s really as simple as that.

  • mechasus

    That’s an interesting approach to that…those of us blog reviewers who are not able to make videos should consider experimenting with that. Maybe when I start a blog of my own I might do it.

  • I haven’t even heard of Leah Shore before I read this, but this was still a really creative and imaginative way to review something.
    Though one thing about the review was her rant on the possible sexism behind the show, that felt rather unnecessary.