Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie
|Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie|
by Craig Bartlett
Stu Livingston (co-director)
|Theme music composer||Jim Lang|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Craig Bartlett|
|Running time||81 minutes|
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie is a 2017 American animated television film based on the Nickelodeon series Hey Arnold!, which was created by Craig Bartlett and originally aired from 1996 to 2004. It follows the 2002 film Hey Arnold!: The Movie and the two-part Hey Arnold! episode "The Journal".
The film serves as either the definitive series finale or as a prelude to a potential revival. It answered questions left after the original run ended, including the whereabouts of Arnold's missing parents. It originally aired in the United States on November 24, 2017 on Nickelodeon, while also being simulcast on Nicktoons and TeenNick.
Arnold (Mason Vale Cotton) and his best friend Gerald (Benjamin Flores Jr.) plan to make a humanitarian video during the summer, after their fifth grade year, to win a trip to San Lorenzo, where Arnold's parents were last seen. They try to record themselves making a home out of junk for one of their friends, eccentric Monkeyman (Craig Bartlett), but that backfires; Arnold leaves, heartbroken.
Helga (Francesca Marie Smith) who secretly has a longtime crush on Arnold, uses various footage she's compiled over the years showing Arnold's good deeds and everyone in town surprises Arnold with the video. Arnold's teacher, Mr. Simmons (Dan Butler) reveals to everyone that Arnold's video won the competition and he, his classmates of P.S. 118, and Helga's older sister, Olga (Nika Futterman) fly to San Lorenzo.
While on the plane, Arnold's pet pig Abner (also Bartlett) stows away in his backpack. When everyone arrives in San Lorenzo, they are greeted by Arnold's parents' old friend, Eduardo. On board of a ship, Eduardo privately warns Arnold of the dangers the jungle has to offer and gives him an amulet said to lead them to the residents of the lost city of San Lorenzo, the "Green-Eyed People". Later that night, Helga tries to tell Arnold how she felt about him, but the group is attacked by "pirates". After learning the secret that Arnold kept from them, Gerald and the group shun him.
When the whole group enters a base camp, Eduardo reveals himself to be a mercenary named Lasombra (Alfred Molina) who disguised himself as Eduardo to trick Arnold and the others. He tells everyone that the contest to win the school field trip to San Lorenzo was a trick to lure Arnold there so he could try to find his parents and help the Green Eyes. He and his men imprison everyone, and plans on using Arnold to find the lost city and its treasures. Helga and Gerald manage to escape and free Arnold and use Arnold's father's old journal to find the city; unknown to them Lasombra anticipated this and placed a tracking device on Arnold's green eyed necklace.
Arnold and the gang manage to evade the lost city's traps, including Lasombra, sacrificing most of his men to the traps in the process. They manage to find the city populated by children.
Meanwhile, Abner managed to make it back to Arnold's grandparents, Grandpa Phil (Dan Castellaneta) and Grandma Gertie (Tress MacNeille) who see this as a sign that Arnold is in trouble. The two meet with Helga's parents Big Bob (Maurice LaMarche) and Miriam (Kath Soucie) at the airport. The Patakis had received an SOS message from Helga's intelligent best friend, Phoebe (Anndi McAfee). The group flies a rental plane to San Lorenzo, where they soon help the other kids defeat Lasombra's gang.
In the city, Arnold and the others realize that the residents of the city worship Arnold. The group finds a statue said to contain a treasure that may lead to a cure for the city's "sleeping sickness" that has contaminated most of the city's population for 9 years. They are eventually cornered by Lasombra, who takes Arnold hostage and steals the statue. While Gerald and Helga catch up, Lasombra forces Arnold to open the statue and he uses the amulet to open it. He succeeds, and when Lasombra tries to take the treasure from within, the statue shoots him in the forehead with a poisoned dart causing Lasombra to fall off the cliff.
Afterwards, a mysterious man arrives and reveals himself to be the real Eduardo (Carlos Alazraqui) who reveals that the pirate "attacking" them earlier was him trying to rescue the group from Lasombra. Lasombra climbs back up from the cliff and gets into a brief scuffle with Eduardo (resulting in the treasure falling off the cliff) before he succumbs to the poison dart and plummets to his death. The group makes it back to the city, and Arnold finally sees his parents, Miles (also Bartlett) and Stella (Antoinette Stella) who are alive but have been contaminated with the sleep sickness. Without the treasure to release the cure to the infected population, Helga uses her locket containing a photo of Arnold as a replacement. The temple releases the cure and the infected are revived. Arnold and the city's children reunite with their parents. Arnold thanks Helga for her loyalty and finally realizes the depths of her feelings for him. The two share a kiss before being interrupted by Gerald, Miles and Stella.
A few months later, Arnold wakes up in his bedroom and rushes downstairs to find things seemingly back to the way it was before the trip, only this time his parents are cooking breakfast. Arnold says goodbye to his parents as he heads off for his first day of sixth grade with Gerald, Phoebe, and Helga. Gerald and Phoebe are seen holding hands walking to school together implying that they're a couple. It is also implied that Arnold and Helga are a couple despite Helga continuing to remain hostile in public towards Arnold. Arnold's parents walk with him and his friends to school and Arnold tells his mom and dad that they'll see him at 3:30 as the school doors close behind him.
The voice cast for the film is made up of 20 actors from the original series, and 11 new cast members to replace former actors who retired, grew up, or died.
- Mason Vale Cotton – Arnold Shortman
- Benjamin Flores Jr. – Gerald Johanssen
- Francesca Marie Smith – Helga Pataki
- Dan Castellaneta – Grandpa Phil
- Tress MacNeille – Grandma Gertie
- Anndi McAfee – Phoebe
- Justin Shenkarow – Harold
- Olivia Hack – Rhonda
- Gavin Lewis – Eugene
- Aiden Lewandowski – Sid
- Jet Jurgensmeyer – Stinky
- Laya Hayes – Nadine
- Nicolas Cantu – Curly
- Dan Butler – Mr. Simmons
- Maurice LaMarche – Big Bob
- Kath Soucie – Miriam
- Nika Futterman – Olga
- Craig Bartlett – Miles, Brainy, Abner, Monkeyman
- Antoinette Stella – Stella
- Carlos Alazraqui – Eduardo
- Dom Irrera – Ernie
- Wally Wingert – Oskar, Mr. Hyunh
- Rick Corso – Dino Spumoni
- Danny Cooksey – Stoop Kid
- Danielle Judovits – Big Patty
- Jim Belushi – Coach Wittenberg
- Stephen Stanton – Pigeon Man
- Lane Toran – Che
- Jamil Walker Smith – Paulo
- Hope Levy – Girl Queen
- Alfred Molina – Lasombra
In 1998, when Nickelodeon renewed Hey Arnold! for a fourth season, they offered series creator Craig Bartlett a chance to develop two feature-length films based on the series: one as a TV movie or direct-to-video, called Arnold Saves the Neighborhood, and another slated for a theatrical release. Nickelodeon asked Bartlett to do "the biggest idea he could think of" for the theatrical film. After looking at the series, Bartlett decided to make the theatrical feature as a spiritual sequel/follow-up to the Season 5 episode "Parents Day", and have Arnold try to solve the question of what happened to Miles and Stella, his parents. This became known as Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie. In 2001, executives at Nickelodeon and Paramount decided to give the made-for-TV movie Arnold Saves the Neighborhood a theatrical release instead in 2002, under the title of Hey Arnold!: The Movie to attract the attention of the public, after successful test screenings. Around this time, Nickelodeon also asked Bartlett to produce a special one-hour "prequel" episode called "The Journal" that would serve as a lead-in to the second movie. The episode aired on Nickelodeon later on November 11, 2002.
However, Hey Arnold!: The Movie received a poor reception and grossed $15.2 million worldwide, resulting in the cancellation of The Jungle Movie and leaving Hey Arnold! with an unresolved cliffhanger ending.
During subsequent years, Bartlett shared many details, characters and plot points of the movie; however, he did not reveal any significant spoilers in the event that the movie might someday get made. Around 2009, many fans started online petitions to convince Nickelodeon to greenlight The Jungle Movie. In 2011, reruns of Hey Arnold! on TeenNick's late-night classic Nickelodeon programming block NickSplat increased public attention in the series and its cancelled movie. In October 2012, Craig Bartlett revealed that he was back at Nickelodeon having meetings with them. In December 2014, it was revealed that Craig Bartlett and Nickelodeon's executives were interested in reviving Hey Arnold!.
In September 2015, Nickelodeon announced officially during an interview with Entertainment Weekly that they were considering reviving many of their old properties, and that Hey Arnold! was one of them. On November 23, 2015, Nickelodeon reported that they were working on a Hey Arnold! TV movie that would answer all the fans' questions, including the whereabouts of Arnold's parents, with Bartlett set to write and produce. On March 1, 2016, it was announced that the film would be released in 2017. The next day, Bartlett confirmed officially that the TV movie would be The Jungle Movie and that it would be released as a two-hour TV movie.
According to Bartlett, the story of The Jungle Movie was originally written and produced between 1998 and 2001 by Steve Viksten, Jonathan Greenberg and himself. Storyboards were drafted by Raymie Muzquiz and test footage was produced.
In the years following the film's cancellation, Bartlett confirmed many plot points of the film, like the revelation of Arnold's name during the opening sequence and that Arnold still had the map of the jungle of San Lorenzo that he found in "The Journal". He also revealed that Lasombra was searching for La Corazón, a fabulous jewel and sacred relic of the Green-Eyed people, the tribe that Miles and Stella helped in the past. Helga's and Arnold's relationship would also take a next step, after Helga kissed Arnold in the climax of the Hey Arnold!: The Movie. Craig Bartlett mentioned in an interview that The Jungle Movie was the first thing he pitched when he came back to Nickelodeon.
In June 2016, Bartlett confirmed that the TV movie was written to take place with the kids going into the fifth grade, one year after the ending of the original series. In July 2016, Variety showed various artworks of the main characters.
As revealed in a promo during the NickSplat premiere, the script for the film was originally twice as long. One particular gag that was cut was the parade sequence in San Lorenzo in which Olga appears on a parade float, and Helga appears on another dressed as a monkey. In the final version, there is only a very brief shot of the parade.
On June 13, 2016, it was reported that Francesca Marie Smith, Anndi McAfee, Justin Shenkarow, Olivia Hack, Nika Futterman, Dan Butler, Dan Castellaneta, Tress MacNeille, Antoinette Stella, Carlos Alazraqui, Dom Irrera, Maurice LaMarche, Kath Soucie, Danielle Judovits, Danny Cooksey, Jim Belushi and Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett himself were attached to reprise their respective roles as Helga, Phoebe, Harold, Rhonda, Olga, Mr. Simmons, Grandpa, Grandma, Stella, Eduardo, Ernie, Bob Pataki, Miriam, Big Patty, Stoop Kid, Coach Wittenberg and Miles; while Lane Toran and Jamil Walker Smith, the original voices of Arnold and Gerald, were attached to return, but as the voices of San Lorenzo tour guides, while being replaced by Mason Vale Cotton and Benjamin Flores, Jr. respectively; and Alfred Molina was cast as Lasombra, the film's main antagonist. The next day, it was reported that Gavin Lewis, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Aiden Lewandowski, and Laya Hayes were respectively cast as Eugene, Stinky, Sid and Nadine.
On July 10, 2017, Nickelodeon released an "exclusive first look" at the new character designs narrated by Bartlett. Eleven days later, on July 21, to coincide with the Hey Arnold! panel at San Diego Comic-Con, a short scene from the film was released, in which Arnold is presented with a special film about all the good deeds he has done for his neighborhood. The film's official trailer was released on October 6, 2017. An additional trailer was released on the NickSplat YouTube channel on November 7, 2017.
During the month of November, NickSplat (a programming block on TeenNick that regularly features the series) aired Hey Arnold! episodes every night from 12:00 to 1:00 AM (ET/PT). From November 17 to 24, NickSplat aired a marathon of all the episodes of the series, nightly from 12:00 to 6:00 AM (ET/PT).
The original broadcast of the movie was watched by 1.63 million total viewers when it premiered on Nickelodeon with simulcasts on TeenNick and Nicktoons. On Nickelodeon, the movie leaked into Nick at Nite, causing the ratings to be reported separately for each hour of the film, since Nielsen considers Nick at Nite a separate network despite being on the same channel. The combined average was 1.27 million total viewers, with 1.39 million total viewers for the Nickelodeon hour and 1.15 million total viewers for the Nick at Nite hour. On TeenNick and Nicktoons, the movie was watched by 0.13 million total viewers and 0.23 million total viewers, respectively.
The A.V. Club graded it with an "A" complimenting the film for preserving the original series' "warm tone and careful pacing, its willingness to let its young characters absorb dramatic moments and contemplate within silences." IGN.com gave the film a score of 7.5 out of 10, noting "the little, unexpected homages to what made Hey, Arnold! such a joy originally that mark the high points of The Jungle Movie." Den of Geek gave it a score of 3 out of 5, giving a more decidedly mixed opinion of the film, praising the opening moments of the film but criticizing the scenes in San Lorenzo.
The film premiered on YTV in Canada on January 5, 2018, and had a limited theatrical premiere in Australia during February 2018 exclusively to Hoyts cinemas,  before airing on Nickelodeon Australia on March 2, 2018.
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