Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie

Image source: NickALive!/Nickelodeon
I remember watching a little Hey Arnold! when I was a kid, but I don't think it was a whole lot. I don't think I saw The Journal when I was younger, so I wasn't aware the show ended on a cliffhanger until a few years ago. It was originally going to have a feature film (the one it did get was initially made for TV), but it got cancelled. I ended up getting more into the show thanks to NickSplat.

Even then, I didn't think it would happen because Hey Arnold! hadn't been relevant for years and kids today probably wouldn't know about it. Shortly after though, I heard that Craig Bartlett had been in talks with Nick to bring Hey Arnold! back. Then later in the year, Nick announced that they were looking into reviving old shows and that Hey Arnold! was one of them. Then a couple months later, Nick announced that a Hey Arnold! TV movie was in development and it was later announced to be The Jungle Movie. What once seemed impossible finally happened.

Arnold and his class win a trip to a place called San Lorenzo, where his parents had disappeared to when he was a baby. They had left to help the natives with a sleeping sickness but never returned. While there, they get kidnapped, and they must work to get out of danger.

I really enjoyed the story. I felt the first half felt a lot like your typical Hey Arnold! episode, I did think the middle was a bit weak, but I was really getting into it towards the end. I won't give away anything, but I thought the ending was really nice.

They had to recast some of the kids because their original VAs had outgrown their roles (in fact, Arnold went through 4 VAs when the show was on). I feel the new VAs did a good job. The character designs were also updated to reflect that some time has passed. I like the new looks. I'm also aware it's probably because of advancements in technology, but I thought the animation was a lot nicer than it was on the show.

Overall, I loved this movie. It would definitely be a good conclusion if Nick doesn't let Craig make more episodes and I'm glad he was able to finally do that.

Final score: 4.5/5

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