‘Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie’ Review


Can you believe it’s been over a decade since Hey Arnold! went off the air? The show ended in 2002 with the two-part series finale, “The Journal,” which left many storylines unanswered for fans including the mystery of what happened to Arnold’s parents. Finally, these questions are answered in Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie. This animated made-for-television film serves as the definitive series finale to the Hey Arnold! television series and the sequel to Hey Arnold!: The Movie. The story follows Arnold and his P.S. 118 classmates after they win a trip to San Lorenzo, Central America, which, coincidentally, is the last place Arnold’s parents were seen. Arnold uses the trip as an opportunity to find out once and for all what happened to his parents. The voice cast for the film is made up of 20 actors from the original series, and 11 new cast members to replace those who retired, grew up, or died. Unless you are looking to find out which voices have changed they are hardly distinguishable from those from in the original show. The animation is great and has been updated since the television show and previous film. Some of the character designs have been slightly altered, but it doesn’t take away from the film. The pacing of the film is very quick and doesn’t give the viewer much time to catch up. This hurts the film because it makes everything feel like fanservice as opposed to a real film. Fanservice isn’t always a bad thing for there are a few moments in the film in which we see minor characters from the show. Since the show originally aired in the mid-‘90s and early 2000s, it was weird to see the characters use updated technology. Many of the characters have cell phones and other electronic devices that were barely seen during the original show. Thus, it seems like a lot of time has passed even though all the kids are still in the 4th grade and haven’t aged. This would have come across less jarring if the characters were now high schoolers or in college. The plot is very simple and often unbelievable with several events obviously only possible in a cartoon. The resolution involving Arnold’s parents is touching but ultimately disappointing. It is hard for films that serve to complete television shows to hit all the necessary marks. The film has many callbacks to funny moments throughout the show’s many seasons. I give Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie a Normal 6/10. It would have been better if Hey Arnold! was brought back for a 10-episode final season instead of an 81-minute film. Nostalgia can only take a film so far, but at least we finally got some closure for this beloved piece of our childhood.


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