Flashback Review: Hey Arnold: The Movie (Paramount’s Flops Vol. 1 #1)

In the 90s Nickelodeon was in its prime as one of the most successful channels, known for their big hit cartoons including “Ren & Stimpy,” “Doug,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and perhaps their biggest anomaly at the time, was “Rugrats.” One show in particular is one of those nostalgic cartoons that 90s kids or babies grew up on is an animated series called “Hey Arnold.”

Hey Arnold first aired in 1996, it focuses on the titular character’s aspects of everyday life such as peer pressure, friendship, family, love at first sight, bullying, etc. The series is known for it’s Cast Of Characters such as Gerald, Arnold’s best friend known for his Marge Simpson-like hair, Grandpa Philip & his wife Gertrude, are a pair of fun loving eccentric grandparents known for telling Arnold their random stories about their past, and last but not least my favorite character on show, Helga. A tomboyish girl with one eyebrow, who constantly picks on Arnold, but deep down she has a secret crush on him. She mostly stalks him, due to her unhealthy obsession of him. If you wanna know why she’s like that, I suggest you to watch an episode called “Helga On The Couch,” you’ll understand why she’s always like that.

Due to the popular success of “The Rugrats Movie” and it’s sequel, Rugrats In Paris The Movie, Nickelodeon began to produced potential animated films based on their shows to replicate the same success The Rugrats Movie made a lot of money starting with Hey Arnold: The Movie, and The Wild Thornberrys Movie. (Both were released the same year)

Hey Arnold: The Movie was released in 2002. (same year Treasure Planet came out) It sadly received negative reviews from critics, despite the backlash, it was a modest box office success. Because of overwhelming negative reviews, a follow up to the film was scrapped which was suppose to end the series and reveal the mystery behind Arnold’s parents along with his last name, that has been uttered out loud. The series was unexpectedly cancelled in 2004. (same year SpongeBob gets his own movie)

Fifteen years after Hey Arnold: The Movie came out, Nickelodeon finally decided to put the plug back in for one last time by bringing the series’ unfinished grand finale called “Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie,” it’ll air on television this November. As a response, I’ve decided to spread the word for those who grew up watching Hey Arnold, you’re not alone 90s kids and 90s babies, I used to watch it as a kid. Those were the good ol’ days.

The following article contains no potential SPOILERS. You’re allowed to read it, if you haven’t got a chance to see to watch it yet.

Splendid & Ridiculous Qualities

Splendid: Voice Actors from the show, reprise their roles including Dan Castellaneta, (known for his work as Homer Simpson & many other characters from The Simpsons) as Arnold’s Grandpa.

Besides Castellaneta, Tress MacNeille (voice of Angelica’s mom from Rugrats) is also in the film. I would consider this a Simpsons reunion.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino, & Christopher Lloyd, appear in prominent roles.

The Animation looks more sleeker and brighter than the show.

Chemistry between Arnold, Gerald & Helga serves as the main highlight. Their interactions move the story forward.

The movie is filled with pop culture references, one in particular with Arnold & Gerald dressed in black suits as spies, is a reference to “Men In Black” and it’s sequel which came out the same year along with a few spy films such as “The Bourne Identity, “Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams,” “I Spy,” “The Tuxedo,” “Austin Powers In Goldmember,” “The Sum Of Fears” & “Die Another Day.” Spy movies were a trend back in 2002.

A henchmen is named Nick. As I stated in my review for “The Mummy” 2017 whenever a character shares my first name, I’ll have to give it Bonus Points, because hearing my name in a movie, makes feel flattered.

The Arc Words for this movie is “Change is good.” I’m gonna assume that Barak Obama must’ve been inspired by the slogan. Remember in 2008 that his slogan is “Change?”

If you’re a fan of the show, you’re gonna be happy to see two important characters having a moment together. I refuse to tell you who they are. For me, I think it was played for laughs.

A background character yells out “Monkey Man!” It’s perhaps a reference to The Rolling Stones song, “Monkey Man,” and I thought the video game series “Street Fighter” was named after another Stones song “Street Fighting Man.”

Without giving too much away, Arnold’s Grandpa tells an interesting tale connected to the antagonist’s ancestor, which is a parody of The Boston Tea Party, responsible for kickstarting The Revolutionary War.

The Best Line in my opinion is, “Tell it to the judge you big donuthole!”

Ridiculous: One important character, manages to bypass security offscreen. Did the anonymous character use Jeff Goldblum’s telepod from “The Fly” to make it pass heavily armed security?

The Final Verdict: A-

In my opinion, I thought Hey Arnold: The Movie was really good. The reason why I gave this an A- is because I grew up watching the tv show as a kid, due to fact that I’m familiar with the characters, their backstories and Helga’s reason why she’s always obsessed with Arnold. If you never ever watched the show, you’ll probably be bored throughout the whole thing. I’m gonna assume that many critics out there who gave this movie a bunch of bad reviews, is due to the fact that they’ve never watched a whole season of the show. Thankfully I’m fully aware of it.

If I were you, go out and buy the entire series on Blu-Ray/DVD along with the movie, so you can catch up before the grand finale airs.

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