Hey Arnold! The Movie

As Nickelodeon continues to pump out large screen versions of its popular small screen hits, the quality is beginning to fade quickly. Hey Arnold! The Movie is a great example. There is little in this movie to merit a reason why it should exist in the first place. It is not that interesting, even for fans of the show. For adults, it nears the point of agony, even with a precariously short running time. There is little in Hey Arnold! to stimulate anybody's mind. Usually, cartoons enlarge some aspect of their story when they go to the big screen, and this time it's the possible destruction of the neighborhood. Of course, only Arnold (voiced by Spencer Klein, Free Enterprise, Jingle All the Way), the weird looking kid with the football shaped head, is the only person who can save the neighborhood. All his friends from the cartoon are there, along with some new and equally dull people.

Animation quality is beside the point. Hey Arnold! is not trying to wow anybody with complex or even detailed pictures. There is little consistency on how people are supposed to appear (this is on purpose), with the basic factor being they all have exaggerated features and large, geometric shapes for body parts. On television it looks decent. Enlarging it to fit on a movie screen shows how basic the animation is. If the drawings are going to stay this simple, the story needs to be good. It is not. Screenwriters Craig Bartlett (Postcards) and Steve Viksten both have extensive credits writing for television cartoons, but even they seem to run out of ideas quickly. Future Tech, led by the imperious Mr. Scheck (voiced by Paul Sorvino, See Spot Run, The Amati Girls) wants to tear down the neighborhood to build a new-fangled mall. Arnold and his friends don't want to lose their homes and businesses, so it's up to them to figure out how to save the neighborhood. They hold a block party complete with games and music, but that doesn't work.

The story eventually has Arnold and Gerald (voiced by Jamil Walker Smith) attempting to infiltrate Future Tech in order to obtain a document that Scheck stole. This document is the only thing that can save the town, but time is running out. To buffer the story, director Tuck Tucker throws in all sorts of random storylines involving the various characters in the Hey Arnold! universe. The only one of any consequence involves Helga (voiced by Francesca Smith, Recess: School's Out, A Bug's Life). On the surface, Helga despises Arnold. However, this is just a ruse, because deep down, she is madly in love with him. Arnold's grandmother is trying to escape from jail, and his grandfather has his own plan to try to stop Scheck. It gets to the point where it is almost interesting to see how boring this movie can be despite so many things going on at the same time.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 16 minutes, Rated PG for some thematic elements.

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