Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Spencer Klein, Craig Bartlett, Christopher Lloyd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino | Directed by: Tuck Tucker | Produced by: Craig Bartlett, Albie Hecht | Written by: Craig Bartlett, Steve Viksten | Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon has made several attempts to bring some of their popular animated series to the big screen. There are obvious financial benefits if they can cash in on the summer or holiday audience. Hey Arnold! The Movie is their latest effort to recycle an established network series. Our football-headed hero has been around now for six years. One thing that I have learned is that most of these cartoons do not look all that great in the theater. But that doesn’t seem to stop the corporate execs who try to build success from the bottom of a children’s meal out.
Hey Arnold! The Movie is your standard good-guys vs. bad-guys plot. It isn’t all that funny or clever. Arnold (voice by Spencer Klein) and his friends must try to save their urban neighborhood from “progress”. Too bad for “Hey Arnold!”, but the team at Dreamworks’ and “Spirit” developed the message of “Change is good” much better. In this flik, a cold-hearted developer named Scheck (voice by Paul Sorvino) wants to tear down a six-block area and build a mall. It does seem hypocritical that a corporation would try to make money on an anti-corporate theme. Scheck and his company Future Tech Industries have an army of bulldozers and enforcers to get the job done. Arnold tries to raise public awareness through block parties and flyers. The problem is that Arnold and his friend Gerald (Jamil Smith) are running out of time. I think you can already guess the ending.
Helga (Francesca Marie Smith) does declare her love to Arnold in this film and struggles with the fact that her dad is on the side of the developers. Yes, in so many ways it is your point-A to point-B movie.
I do have some precautions to address. Some of the plot points do show the characters in situations wherupon they lie and steal in order to accomplish their goals. There are also some implied sexual innuendos. Personally, my recommendation is to skip this one. I think that parents can find better things to do with their children than to waste an afternoon on a so-so film.