So, Hey Arnold started up four years before I was born, and discontinued about four years after I was born, and I never got into the show. Believe it or not, I learned about who Arnold was from him featured in my first Game Boy Advance game, Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy. Oh, the nostalgia. And I first learned about Helga when she was a robot modeled from the one and only Invader Zim.
So now onto the story. There’s a company called Future Tech Industries that has a big mall planned in the neighbourhood of Hillwood, where Arnold and his house of grandparents and adult friends, as well as the other houses of his friends live. The antagonist, or anti-antagonist of the show, Helga Geraldine Pataki, has a dad named “Big” Bob Pataki, and he’s going to get a big deal off of this mall, so don’t expect Helga’s help. (But don’t worry, Bob’s not the antagonist of this movie.) Arnold and his best friend Gerald decide to do what’s possible in their hands to save their neighbourhood.
I’d watched about 10-12 episodes of the show before I saw the movie to comprehend what I might exactly be in for, and I feel like Hey Arnold is an exemplarily quotable and special children’s series. Its characters are never one-dimensional and they’re still just as diverse and interesting as they were in the movie.
Arnold and Gerald for a big part of the movie do some investigating in archive work and have to take the city bus to get to their destinations, and not too often does the movie feel like what Arnold and Gerald are doing have no chance to happen in real life (to a certain degree), but in movie form, I found it a little lackluster.
Arnold’s crazy but likeable grandmother ends up making a Shawshank-esque prison escape, and that’s an example I found about it trying but not being as good as it could’ve, especially compared to the actual Shawshank escape. And that might be unfair, since I don’t think anyone would expect a movie like this to capture something as dramatic as an escape after 19 years of misery, but maybe she could’ve escaped a different way. And I’m sorry, but Eugene’s chants of heroism…they just seem uninspired when shown on a big screen rather than a cartoon episode.
The best part of the movie, though, is when Helga confesses a small secret that makes watching the whole movie worth a look. Anyone who knows Hey Arnold knows about Helga’s little secret and it was gratifying that Arnold didn’t find it disgusting.
Hey Arnold: The Movie is okay, but it’s essentially an episode of the cartoon stretched into 80 minutes with elements of a thriller that might bite off more than it can chew. If anything, this was supposed to be a TV movie, and The Jungle Movie was going to be the big blowout. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that one. If you want a cartoon adaptation that I feel brings the material to feature form in a much better, and more monstrous way, I’d try the 2004 SpongeBob SquarePants movie (emphasis on 2004) and The Last Airbender, if a funny cartoon turned more serious is your thing. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie brought the idea that SpongeBob could be mature and go to the depths of the monsters of the ocean. Hey Arnold! The Movie has a fraction of that, plus Helga.
Once again, this movie’s alright. And now onto The Jungle Movie. This basically was originally going to be the first of two movies, The Jungle Movie being the obvious second. But the show’s creator, Craig Bartlett, said that after this movie wasn’t a big box office success, plans were halted, and then Nickelodeon wanted him to sign a contract to only work at Nickelodeon, and he refused because he was working on something at Cartoon Network! (and, in my opinion, that’s a gambling and rat-smelling kind of contract) and The Jungle Movie was cancelled. But it’s finally out now. I’m going to see it now, bye.