waynepygram.com: Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie Review

waynepygram.com: Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie Review

The return of our favorite football head, Arnoldo.

What is it? A two-hour made-for-television movie based on the legendary Nickelodeon animated series, Hey Arnold.
Who stars in it? Mason Vale Cotton (Arnold), Benjamin Flores, Jr. (Gerald), Francesca Marie Smith (Helga), Anndi McAfee (Phoebe), Dan Castellaneta (Grandpa Phil)......they got a lot of the original voice cast back, that's all you really need to know.
Where did it air? Nickelodeon.
Why are we reviewing this? WHY?!

Here we are. After fifteen years, fans of Hey Arnold everywhere get the closure they've been dreaming about. It wouldn't be right to do this review without putting it in the proper context. When Hey Arnold was on during its original run, there was an episode called "Parents Day" where Grandpa Phil finally tells Arnold what happened to his parents. There were also plans to do two movies based on the series: A made-for-television movie called "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood," and a theatrical release known as The Jungle Movie where Arnold goes on a hero's journey to find his missing parents in the Central American republic known as San Lorenzo. However, Nickelodeon got greedy and decided to capitalize on the show's popularity as soon as they could by making "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood" into the feature film. Hey Arnold!: The Movie came out in 2002, didn't make a big splash at the box office, didn't impress the critics, and it ended up souring Nickelodeon on releasing The Jungle Movie. That same year, the last two episodes made after the movie were aired, "April Fools Day" and "The Journal." "The Journal" was where Arnold found a journal that belonged to his parents, and gave him clues to their whereabouts after it was implied in "Parents Day" that they were probably dead. This episode was supposed to lead to The Jungle Movie, which would serve as the series finale.

However, Nickelodeon didn't want to take a chance on another Hey Arnold movie and Craig Bartlett (the creator of the show) left the network. By the time Nickelodeon wanted to give The Jungle Movie a second chance, Bartlett was already working on a project for Cartoon Network and the series ended unceremoniously in 2004 (several episodes made before the movie were spread out for a few years). Now, in 2017, Nickelodeon decided to right their wrongs and not make the same mistake they made in the 2000s. The Jungle Movie was back in business, and the show was finally getting the closure it deserved.

I started watching Hey Arnold in 2011 when it aired on The 90s Are All That. I became a fan instantly, and when I found out about the show's history, all I could think about was what would happen if The Jungle Movie became a reality. I even called Nickelodeon about it once and left a message on their answering machine. They never answered back, but the fact is, I had that hope that one day, the movie would get made. And here it is.

Let's end the speculation now: This was a good movie. And I think the more times I watch it, the more it will turn into a great movie. I was surprised by how much of the movie ended up being tied to Bartlett's original vision. Or maybe I shouldn't since he was the creator of the show and he wrote the story years ago. I read about the details of the movie when I was younger, and a lot of it was very similar to what happened in the finished product, with some changes. For one, Brainy was supposed to give Helga this speech about Arnold, but he did end up finding and repairing her locket after she threw it into the sea. So some of it was probably just edited for time or whatever.

The one thing I noticed more than anything else was how amazing the film looked. The show's animation improved pretty much every season, and since there hasn't been a new episode in more than ten years, you would expect it to get even better. I'm just happy there was no corny flash animation or anything like that. It's not like the upcoming Rocko's Modern Life movie where it literally looks like the original show in HD, but the animation is beautiful, especially in the scenes taking place at night. I usually focus more on the story and the jokes, but the animation stood out to me as the real winner. This could have easily been in theaters if they wanted it to be, that's how fantastic it looked.

Now as for the actual story, it was pretty much everything we knew it would be for years now: Arnold's class wins a contest (which was originally an essay contest), they all go to San Lorenzo, Helga reveals her love for Arnold (for the second time), Arnold is found out to be the chosen one of the Green-Eyed People, he reunites with his parents, and he ends up realizing his feelings for Helga. The only way the movie could have bombed is if two things happened: Arnold's parents were dead, or it was all revealed to be a dream. And the movie even teases you at the end where we see Arnold wake up after finding his parents. It even has you about to throw something at the wall by making it seem like the movie is starting over from the opening scene in the kitchen and Arnold is in tears, until his parents reveal themselves and we find out that Arnold has been dreaming about him not finding his parents all summer. It really makes you wonder how emotionally scarred Arnold was before he found that journal. Like, he's as good-natured and helpful as he is because his life has no other meaning. Or maybe I'm just looking into this too much.

One of the most important things to take from this movie is that Arnold himself gets something he has desperately needed for a long time: Character development. In the beginning of the series, Arnold was just a regular guy who helped people out. But he was more like an actual kid at one point. As the years went on, Arnold slowly became a parody of himself. He only existed to be morally righteous and full of pure heart, like the absolute perfect human being. It became less realistic and Arnold wasn't really a character anymore. He was just this mythical, angelic figure who could do no wrong. In this movie, Arnold is given more humanity than he has in a long time. He has doubts, he starts questioning himself, he feels lost and incomplete, and he even cries multiple times. Arnold becomes less of a Mother Teresa-type figure and more of a human being, with flaws and uncertainties. It's his desire to see the best in everyone that ends up getting him and his class in trouble when he gets tricked by La Sombra. And for the first time, you really start wondering if Arnold has what it takes to rise up to the challenge. He prevails, but it is really satisfying that he gets there while having moments of weakness. It reminds us that he is a person like everyone else, and we all have moments where it feels like all hope is lost.

So for a great story that wraps up everything the show left on the table, beautiful animation, character development for Arnold, and some great jokes packed in along the way, this is the best way to end Hey Arnold. It's really something how Nickelodeon finally decided to make things right and give people a conclusion they had anticipated and deserved for years. Rest in peace to one of the greatest kid's shows ever made.

Movie Grade: A+
Movie MVP: Tie between Mason Vale Cotton and Francesca Marie Smith. They both being it in their respective performances as Arnold and Helga. I had more sympathy for Arnold as time went on because of how well Mason sold his emotions. I felt every one of Arnold's fears and vulnerabilities. And Francesca is just that damn good. How do you come back after so many years and slip into your character so easily? Only the best can do it.

EXTRA THOUGHTS
-There was a sneak preview of the "Danger Games" crossover between Henry Danger and Game Shakers that aired right after the movie. All it did was make me pray that I don't get pissed off watching this. I have very low expectations going in, because when you combine the two worst shows Dan Schneider has ever created, what could you really look forward to?

-The movie is based in 2017, so there are aspects of the modern world that are dealt with. Like, Big Bob's beeper empire is falling apart because who needs a beeper in 2017? Of course, Rhonda is obsessed with her phone (she's low-key the funniest character in this movie), and Phoebe is more of a technology whiz than she ever was in the series. It's interesting to see how the movie handles the way society is now while not really calling attention to it. That's going to be more of Rocko's job when "Static Cling" comes out next year.

-The comedy really picks up after we find out that Eduardo is really La Sombra. La Sombra using his fake mustache to look like Abraham Lincoln and Frida Kahlo, Big Bob being surprised that Arnold's grandparents aren't dead, Miriam sleeping on the couch like the depressed alcoholic she is, Curly volunteering to be La Sombra's inside man until La Sombra says that even Curly's too crazy for him. There were a lot more jokes after that, they just don't come to mind right now.

-Is this the first A-plus I've ever given anything? It has to be. Or maybe the second one? I don't know, but this is a very rare occasion that I have nothing bad to say about the material I review.

-When Eduardo and his guys were trying to shoot down La Sombra's boat, did they think about what might have happened if they ended up killing anybody on board, like Arnold? Pretty sloppy if you ask me.

-I find it funny how the green-eyed girl kept speaking to Arnold in her language, even though he was barely responding to anything she said and couldn't understand it at all.

-The movie is about as dark as Hey Arnold could get, and it feels like everyone is more mature and assured now that they're in the fifth grade going on sixth grade.

-Jim Lang came through for us with the score for this movie. That's all I'm going to say.

-Very sweet ending where Arnold treats his parents like his kids, telling them that he'll leave school at three but his parents are already missing him. It's really something how the movie I was hoping would get made one day ended up happening, and it was just as good as I expected it to be.

Baca Juga
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