As a fan for 21 years I guess this is quite a bittersweet moment. Hey Arnold was cancelled after Craig Bartlett left the series after the first Hey Arnold Movie. It’s been 15 years since we’ve seen anything new from Hey Arnold. 15 years of catching reruns whenever I could until I bought the complete series for myself to watch every day. I wasn’t complaining about it. I was kinda content about it. I was more sad for the kids today growing up not being able to see it as regularly as I did unless they have cool ass parents that put them onto the greatest show to ever exist in mankind.
When The Jungle movie was officially announced I was excited as a mothafucka. I didn’t give a fuck about anyone’s thoughts about if the movie would be good or bad. I might be the greatest Hey Arnold fan in the universe. The Jungle Movie was supposed to be the sequel to the first movie a decade ago but Craig Bartlett didn't like the idea of it and left the show. Bartlett had a change of heart and I just counted down the days to when it was time for the movie to be released. After the long wait of possibly the final chapter of a series that just left us unanswered questions to which I already knew all the answers to because I’m the greatest fan ever. I can proudly say Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie will go down as an all time great TV film. I knew it would be good but I didn’t expect it to be THAT good.
First the animation in itself was slick and beautifully done. I loved all the wardrobe changes. It showed growth in the characters and the series. It was more refined. The voice work was really good despite coming back after a decade and some change of being absent. The comedy was great. The soundtrack which is known and loved for it’s smooth jazz sound was updated and a bit funkier and still enjoyable.
The plot was pretty much set in stone because everyone wanted to know what happened to Arnold’s parents. I LOVED the storytelling of this movie. Out the gate we see conflict and obstacles for Arnold to even have the opportunity to find his parents. I also liked how out the gate there was no wasting time with being stuck in the past and trying see what every single character in the history of Hey Arnold was doing since the show ended a decade ago. It was just all about THIS story and not the series. This movie can stand on it’s own because of that.
The plot starts with Arnold entering a contest to win a class trip to San Lorenzo (The place his parents were last seen) and him coming up with an idea to build a habitat for Monkeyman but his hopes come crashing down along with the habitat he and Gerald built for Monkeyman thanks to bum ass people. No, literally bums destroyed Monkeyman’s new crib. Arnold is obviously crushed by this road block in front of his plans and he gives up immediately but only to be saved by a creepy girl and her creepy bat cave and one of my favorite characters of the movie. Helga G. Pataki.
The writing and growth of Helga is a very underrated aspect of this movie. The part where she had trouble saying the word “Feelings” to Arnold had me crying in laughter along with her recording and keeping tapes of almost every good deed that Arnold committed in his life. The Legend Of Arnold Documentary almost made me cry man. Remember what I said about them not being stuck in the past? Bartlett reminded people of what a special character Arnold is in a unique way that didn’t disrupt the flow of the story. That documentary showed you why Hey Arnold is such a special show.
The reveal of Arnold’s last name was some genius shit. Now if you’ve been following me and this blog. Go find the first Hey Arnold article I wrote and tell me what you find. ME TELLING YOU HIS LAST NAME IS SHORTMAN! THAT’S WHAT YOU’LL FIND! I TOLD YALL I’M THE GOAT! Here’s the proof in the link below.
I loved how they didn’t spend time on his last name reveal. It happened and then they just moved on from it.
The true conflict of the movie was really believable. Seeing everyone turn on Arnold and seeing Arnold’s optimism being used against him and putting people in danger was masterful. The most beloved character being outcasted and seen as a bad and selfish person was nothing short of brilliant.
The other characters were all on point. Nobody was forced in or felt annoying. Harold was funny. Sid was funny. Even Rhonda was funny. Big Bob beeper business crumbling was genius since no one really uses beepers. The edginess of the characters was something I didn’t see coming. Olga’s thot behavior, actual killing, the fighting. The jokes from the villain Lasombra were on the fine line for adults and children. He was hilarious.
I guessed that Arnold’s parents were victims to the sleeping sickness they were found trying to cure in the final 2 episodes because once again I’m me and I’m awesome but it was really something so obvious yet I could see how everyone could just jump to the conclusion that Arnold’s parents are dead. It makes you remember to always look for the most simple answer to things.
The funniest shit about the movie was that the savior of the film besides Helga’s obsession was Brainy. All we know Brainy for is breathing like he just ran 9 marathons, getting punched in the face and possibly having rich parents being able to buy him new glasses every time he got punched in the face. If Brainy never hopped into the water to retrieve Helga’s locket and torn picture of Arnold then Arnold’s parents would’ve never woken up. Brainy is truly the MVP of the movie. To have Arnold’s parents wake up and say “Hey Arnold” was so amazing because you witnessed the series come full circle from that “Downtown As Fruits” episode. It gave the title of the show meaning. I was so proud of the writing of this movie.
Arnold and Helga kissing was so awkward but also kinda cool to see since they’re both opposites. The fact that Arnold made the move to kiss Helga was really tight. It was long overdue. Helga tried to express her feelings to Arnold in the past and in the movie before it finally led up to this moment and Arnold curved her every time or she was interrupted. They flipped the script and had Arnold confess that he was feeling her and that was some bold shit that payed off. I liked that.
The Jungle Movie was the perfect ending. They hit a home run at their final at bat like Mickey Kaline on the episode “The Baseball.” They answered all the unanswered questions and everything made sense. It also left open the possibility of a Season 6 and Bartlett didn’t rule out a Season 6. He said if he’s inspired enough it could be a possibility. There’s so many things they could do with a 6th season. So many topics that could be covered. The movie did a great job of knowing that kids who grew up in the 90’s who are now adults would be watching this movie along with kids of today and made it enjoyable for both.
If this is truly the end. Hey Arnold just won a championship in Game 7 on a buzzer beater. It gave me closure and showed the world how truly special the show “Hey Arnold” was. The movie was PERFECT!
I give this movie 5 outta 5 fruit snacks. The first perfect rating on PoliteAsFlannels.
Thank You Hey Arnold. Job well done. Job well fucking done.