SpongeBob SquarePants made its television debut on May 1, 1999, so it’s almost exactly 23 years ago. A factoid that probably makes you feel pretty old if you’ve been around since the start of the series. It’s also fitting that a fan project dubbed SpongeBob SquarePants Rehydrated finally found its way into the wild this week. A recreation of the SpongeBob movie featuring the work of 300 different animators. However, in less time than it would have taken to watch the film, it was deleted.
About an hour after Rehydrated went live on YouTube, a tweet was posted on the film’s official Twitter account urging viewers not to refresh the page. This would stop the film in its tracks and be replaced by a black screen emblazoned with a message informing the viewer that the video had been taken down due to a copyright claim made by Paramount.
As now pointed out in the movie’s description on YouTube, SpongeBob SquarePants and all the accompanying IP belong to Viacom, hence the quick takedown when the movie first uploaded. This led those who had been waiting for this project all along, and apparently many others hearing about it for the first time, to spring into action. If you were wondering why #JusticeForSpongeBob was trending on Twitter, well, here’s why.
The campaign to overturn the copyright notice was successful. Rehydreated is already saved on YouTube in its entirety to watch right now. As for why its fans and creators so vehemently believed the takedown was unfair, even though Rehydrated is a remake of Viacom’s SpongeBob movie, only one frame from the original film is used. Even the voice acting in Rehydrated is completely original.
The project features various styles of animation and is a fitting homage to Stephen Hillenburg. Hillenburg created SpongeBob and died in 2018, so before he could see hundreds of fellow creators working together to celebrate a world he envisioned over two decades ago. Similar projects, such as Shrek Retold, have proven extremely successful in the past. As of this writing, Rehydrated has been watched over 200,000 times.
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