A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hey Arnold!: The Movie has the potential to inspire family discussions about the importance of preserving historical neighborhoods, and how preservation can sometimes be at odds with monied interests and what others believe to be "progress." There's cartoonish violence here and there (punching, dynamite explosion where nobody gets hurt), but it's relatively tame compared with other cartoons out there. And there are lessons about the importance of close-knit neighborhoods and the people and small businesses that sustain them.
What's the story?
HEY ARNOLD!: THE MOVIE finds its football-headed hero with a heart of gold in a save-the-neighborhood situation. A big bad wolf industrialist named Scheck (voiced by Paul Sorvino) wants to turn Arnold's happy suburb into a "mall-plex." Most of the adults reluctantly sell their homes, but Arnold arranges benefits and does research on how to save the town, undiscouraged by Scheck's constant attempts to crush him and the pessimism of everyone else. He eventually finds out about a Boston Tea Party-esque event that occurred in his town during the Revolutionary War and works to get the town saved as a historical landmark.
Is it any good?
Hard-core fans of the television series will enjoy seeing the Hey Arnold! characters on the big screen. But most everyone else will be bored with the characters, the animation, and the predictable chain of events.
Kids may enjoy seeing Arnold save the day, but adults will snooze through it, due to a storyline everyone's seen before, unexceptional animation, and characters that range from uninteresting to unappealing. There are some amusing voice cameos from Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Lloyd, as well as references to Men in Black II and The Incredible Hulk. And if anyone these days comes close to being Mel Blanc, it's Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), who gives wildly different characters such genuine personality that one would never guess that they come from the same guy. If only those voices had a better script.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: June 28, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: December 31, 2002
- Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Spencer Klein
- Director: Tuck Tucker
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild violence
- Last updated: October 10, 2019
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