Before we dive into the grand finale, let’s go back in time on the development surrounding Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie and how it was conceived in the first place. In the early 2000’s, series creator, Craig Bartlett, was given an opportunity from Nickelodeon to develop two full length feature films, one airing on TV, or Direct-To-Video. Craig decided to go with the TV Movie route, until Nickelodeon decided to release Hey Arnold: The Movie in theaters, due to financial success surrounding The Rugrats Movie and its sequel. After Hey Arnold: The Movie was released in 2002, Craig began working on a one hour episode called “The Journal” involving Arnold’s backstory about his missing parents which ties into The Jungle Movie, as it was suppose to end the series with a bang. Unfortunately, the series itself, ended in 2004.
Thirteen Years Later after going A.W.O.L. Craig resumed production on The Jungle Movie, by hiring young actors, due to the fact that the original kid actors grown into adults. As they say, “We’re not getting any younger.” Fans of Hey Arnold, finally got the film they derseve to end an iconic Nicktoons series.
Did The Jungle Movie ended the series on a high note? Let’s find out shall we?
The following review contains no big fat SPOILERS. Feel free to read all about it.
Pros & Cons
Pros: Most of the returning Cast Members including Dan Castellaneta and Tress MacNeille, once again all did an excellent job on their performances for one last time.
Alfred Molina, did a fantastic job on his performance as La Sombra. He’s the film’s Main Antagonist. He wasn’t just another incompetent Bond like villain, he was unpredictable and calculative. Which causes The Stakes to drastically go high.
Humor in this film made me laugh, Harold (the fat kid) was probably the funniest part, due to his constant hunger.
One character recreates the infamous boulder scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Alfred himself co-starred in Raiders. I think this was an Inside Joke for Indiana Jones fans.
Similar to the first movie, The Animation is once again drawn in traditional 2D animation rather than C.G.I. Thank goodness they didn’t go in that route. If they did, I would’ve Double Down on it.
The film made a reference to The Bat Signal. What a co-inky-dink. The Lego Batman Movie and Justice League also came out the exact same year.
The time setting is updated while the characters remain the same age as in comic book characters don’t age. Beepers are replaced with IPhones, which makes it depressing for 90sKids/90sBabies, indicating that we’re not kids anymore.
If you’re a longtime fan of the show like I am, there are a bunch of callbacks from various episodes that are all connected the movie. Kickstarting the journey.
Like it’s predecessor, there’s a character named Monkey Man. A possible Rolling Stones reference to the song, “Monkey Man?”
The mystery surrounding Arnold’s teacher, Mr Simmons, reveals that he has a boyfriend. This wasn’t a shove it in your face moment, this was done subtly, because it shows Simmons giving him a hug. What I just mentioned, also parallels America finally accepting Gay Marriage as a metaphor that this is a wink to humanity. If you’re an ultra neo-confederate, please don’t grab your pitchforks and torches. As I’ve stated on my review for the 2017 version Beauty & The Beast, I’m supportive towards The LGBT Community.
Arnold’s chemistry with Gerald, Helga and the rest of his friends and family felt heartwarming as we witnessed Arnold’s past adventures surrounding his peers and family members. I’m giving Arnold & Helga’s relationship a truckload of Bonus Points!
Helga’s locket also plays a pivotal role and it worked out pretty well.
Character Development from the past episodes shows us fans that the characters have evolved and they credit Arnold on helping them with their problems in society.
Arnold’s best friend Gerald, finally gets a girlfriend. I refuse to tell you who it is.
We finally get to learn about Arnold’s last name and it’s officially canon! Now I no longer have to scratch my brain to get that itch out of my system!
The film had the guts to show us a death scene in a subtle way rather than an extremely over-the-top death scene cranked up to eleven.
The Ending managed to shed a few tears in my eyes, indicating a childhood memory from my youth is saying farewell.
Cons: An Animation Error with one character who suffered from poisonous effects, a few shots later, he/she looks normal. Animation 101, check your drawings before you submit The Final Cut.
At one point, there’s fake looking C.G.I. showing a lost city.
The Final Verdict: A-
I was gonna give my Final Verdict a B, but I couldn’t resist every callback, returning characters, heartwarming moments and the ending that made me cry. Someday in the future, I can finally die in peace as an old man. If I were you, I highly recommend Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie. Before you introduce your kids to this film, I implore you to start with the series and the first movie. That’ll help them understand the mythos. Rumors speculate that Hey Arnold might return with a new season as long as they don’t end up like The Fairly Odd Parents jumping the shark, because of Poof’s introduction. I hope Arnold becomes a part of the upcoming Nicktoons crossover film.
Thank you Craig Bartlett for the memories. If you decide to bring back the show, don’t screw this up like Butch Hartman did to The Fairly Odd Parents! It’s your call.