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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie is the continuation of the story of Arnold Shortman from the '90s Hey Arnold! series. It picks up after the events unfolded in the series and in the episodic special The Journal, in which Arnold came by his father's journal that held clues to his parents' whereabouts. In this portion of the story, Arnold and his friends set off for San Lorenzo to try to locate them, facing numerous foes and dangers along the way. Expect some tense moments (kids hanging over a cliff, being shot at by arrows, etc.) and a few minor characters' deaths, but more prominent and impacting themes of friendship, courage, and perseverance.
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What's the story?
HEY ARNOLD!: THE JUNGLE MOVIE opens at the start of summer break for Arnold (voiced by Mason Vale Cotton) and his friends, who enter a humanitarian contest and win a trip to San Lorenzo. Once there, Arnold consults his father's old journal for a map to his parents' last known location, and they set off to find them. He encounters their old friend Eduardo (Carlos Alazraqui), who gives Arnold an ancient amulet and tells him of the Green-Eyed People, the citizens of a lost city and possible holders of clues to his parents' whereabouts. Arnold and his friends are thrust into a strange and mysterious quest to find the lost city and save its people, with the villainous Lasombra (Alfred Molina) hot on their trail.
Is it any good?
For fans left hanging after Hey Arnold!: The Journal hinted at an eventual reunion between Arnold and his parents, this movie was a long time coming. Arnold's jungle adventures and quest to find his mom and dad settle into the show's timeline as though no time has passed, let alone the 10-plus elapsed years since new episodes aired. Every bit of what viewers have come to appreciate about the characters and superb writing in this series is on display here, including more of Arnold's kind and humble nature that hides his courage and perseverance. But he doesn't act alone, and ultimately it's an unlikely hero who emerges to save the day with a selfless act.
Its animated style might appeal to young kids, but Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie is a more mature watch than its appearance initially suggests. Arnold wrestles with the loss of his parents and puts himself and his friends in danger attempting to find them. Even though there's much humor to the story, there are also numerous scenes that show the young characters in real danger at the hands of a scheming grown-up with his own selfish agenda, who's eventually responsible for some minor characters' deaths. But there are also positive examples of friendship, especially with regard to Arnold and Helga, and a satisfying ending that celebrates family bonds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Arnold and his friends solve the problems they face in Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie. How do they approach the problems differently? How does each use his or her strengths to help?
What examples of bullying do you see on display in this story? How do the victims overcome the pressure? Is bullying a concern among your peers? What do you and your friends do to combat it?
- In theaters: November 24, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: February 13, 2018
- Cast: Mason Vale Cotton, Francesca Marie Smith, Benjamin Flores, Jr.
- Studio: Nickelodeon
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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