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Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie

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Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie
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Fan Poster created by Sofy-Senpai

Director

Craig Bartlett

Co-Director

Raymie Muzquiz

Producer

Tuck Tucker

Music

Jim Lang

Production Company

Snee-Oosh, Inc.
Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Distributor

Paramount Pictures

Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie (commonly referred to as "TJM") was going to be the second movie based on the animated TV show Hey Arnold!, as well as the series finale of the show.

Background

When Nickelodeon renewed Hey Arnold! for a fourth season in 1998, they also gave series creator Craig Bartlett a chance to develop two feature-length movies based on the show. One made directly for TV and 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.[1] After looking at the series, Bartlett decided to make the theatrical feature a follow-up to the episode "Parents Day", and have Arnold try to solve the question of what happened to his lost parents. This became known as The Jungle Movie.

The story of The Jungle Movie was developed between 1998 and 2001 by Craig Bartlett, Steve Viksten, and Jonathan Greenberg, and it's rumored the script was in its 6th or 7th draft. A number of storyboards were also drafted by then co-director Raymie Muzquiz, and some test footage was also produced.

In 2001, executives at Nickelodeon and Paramount decided to give the made-for-TV movie Arnold Saves the Neighborhood a theatrical release in 2002 under the title of Hey Arnold! The Movie after successful test screenings. Around this time, Nickelodeon also asked Craig to produce a special one-hour "prequel" episode called "The Journal" that would serve as a lead-in to the second movie.

Cancellation

The first movie ended up being unsuccessful due to poor advertising and an unfortunate release date, and only grossed $15.2 million at worldwide box offices, directly leading to the cancellation of The Jungle Movie and leaving the series in an unresolved cliffhanger ending. Furthermore, Nickelodeon wanted to put Craig Bartlett into an exclusive contact where he could only work for them (thus limiting creative freedom). At the time, Craig was also working on a pilot/TV movie for Cartoon Network, called "Party Wagon", so he declined. This broke off relations between Bartlett and the network.

Interlude Years and Fan Interest

Over the years, Craig Bartlett revealed several details about the movie (such as parts of the plot and the characters) through online chats and interviews, but refused to give out too many details, in case he someday got the chance to make it. With these details, fans started making their own versions through fan art and fan fiction. Sometime around 2009-2011, fans started campaigns and online petitions in order to bring The Jungle Movie to fruition; and by 2012, interest on the show and the cancelled movie had dramatically increased. Fans' efforts and dedication revived Bartlett's optimism for the project and managed to reach Nickelodeon executives. In 2013, Cyma Zarghami, the president of Nickelodeon, mentioned to Bartlett how the network had been receiving numerous letters and fan mail about Hey Arnold!.

Possible Revival

In 2013, Craig announced that he was now officially back at Nickelodeon working on a new show called Sky Rat and wanted to work on this new show before becoming re-invested in Hey Arnold!. Craig said he still wanted to eventually produce TJM, granted his revived involvement with Nickelodeon went well.

In a 2014 interview on The Arun Mehta Show, Justin Shenkarow, the voice actor for Harold, hinted that discussions between Nickelodeon and Craig had been going on about possibly green-lighting the second movie. Craig confirmed later that year that he was indeed going into meetings with Nickelodeon executives.

In 2015, several developments concerning The Jungle Movie occurred. The production storyboards in Raymie Muzquiz's website were taken down for a "Mysterious Reason". In August, the official Nickelodeon Facebook page made a reply that directly referenced The Jungle Movie, creating a peak of activity among Hey Arnold! fans. Following this, Nickelodeon, Bartlett, and some of the original voice actors began dropping hints about TJM through social networks.

Main article: Hey Arnold! TV Movie

In September, Nickelodeon officially announced that it was planning to reboot some of their older properties[2], and mentioned that a Hey Arnold! revival was "very much in the cards".[3] Craig Bartlett confirmed that "they were working on it", but refused to give out details. On November 23, Nickelodeon announced that a new Hey Arnold! TV movie is in development[4]. It hasn't been directly stated to be "The Jungle Movie" but details provided in Nickelodeon's press release accurately represents the film's original plot.

Plot

While no official information has ever been released by Nickelodeon, Craig Bartlett himself has talked about the movie plot in various online chats and interviews. It's important to note that Craig stated in 2012 that if TJM were to be made today, he would "start from scratch", so all this information is subject to change.

Arnold's name is revealed in the opening scene. A man comes to the door of the boarding house with a package for him and he signs his full name.

The whole class, who are now in the fifth grade, go to San Lorenzo in Central America after Arnold wins them an essay contest. However, he has his own secret agenda to go look for his parents with the map that he found at the end of the episode "The Journal".

Arnold meets the mysterious Green Eyed people, the people his parents were helping. When he was born, he silenced all of nature (the erupting volcano), which prompted the Green Eyes to believe that he is divine. The Green Eyes have designed a motif that is shaped like a football head in all their architecture. They are also impressed with Helga's ferocity. This makes the Green Eyes semi-worship Arnold and Helga. The Green Eyes also think very highly of Miles and Stella, because they’ve all saved each other’s lives before, many times.

La Sombra, a villain who was briefly seen in the episode "The Journal" is a big character of the movie, he is Miles and Stella's enemy. He is a mercenary treasure hunter and river pirate, who goes in disguise. La Sombra is after La Corazón, a fabulous jewel and a sacred relic of the Green Eyes, which can't be seen in the light of day.

In 2004, Craig Bartlett stated that if Arnold finds his parents he is going to stay with them, but in 2007 he said that they never decided whether Arnold had to stay in San Lorenzo.

Arnold finally takes the next step in his relationship with Helga. While in the first movie she confesses her love for him, but he dodges out of telling how he feels in return. In The Jungle Movie, he completes the conversation. She acts like she still hates him again, but after they "get together" they realize that they are meant for each other. In the end of the movie they share a short kiss (during a scene when they are in a hurry), but Gerald interrupts them. When they make a really lame excuse he says "Whatever you say". By that point, most of the characters in the movie would probably already notice what's going on between Arnold and Helga, and would start teasing them about it.

Characters

Characters that go to San Lorenzo

  • Arnold Now ten years old, he is on his quest to find answers to his parents' disappearance.
  • Helga Since the first movie, she's acted like she hates Arnold again but that appears to change.
  • Gerald He interrupts Arnold and Helga's kiss in the end of the movie, and after hearing their lame excuse he responds, "Whatever you say."
  • Harold He does his usual bullying stuff with Stinky and Sid. "I'm the boss and I say we're doin' it!"
  • Sid He tags along with Harold and Stinky.
  • Stinky He tags along with Harold and Sid.
  • Rhonda She totally freaks out in the jungle.
  • Nadine For her, the jungle is like heaven. "There are 20,000 species of spider in San Lorenzo!"
  • Brainy He helps Helga to get her act together, and is thrown overboard by her a couple of times. In the middle of the story, Helga is fed up and she gives up completely. However, Brainy kind of helps her back to life.
  • Eugene He jinxes it up like crazy by getting allergic attacks, his legs puff up like balloons and he is nearly eaten by piranhas; among other misfortunes.
  • Phoebe Her role is not known, but she is pictured in the concept art.
  • Sheena She is 1 of the young girl students in Mr. Simmons' 5th grade class.
  • Lila She was never mentioned in the any of the pre-production material.
  • Mr. Simmons He is now the fifth grade teacher of Arnold's class.
  • Principal Wartz He tags along with the group because he always wanted to go to Central America.
  • Olga She also goes to San Lorenzo and annoys Helga, according to Bartlett.

Other students of Mr. Simmons's class also participate in the trip.

Other characters

  • Miles He is Arnold's father who went missing in San Lorenzo 9 years ago. His whereabouts are unknown.
  • Stella She is Arnold's mother and Miles' wife. She went with Miles to help the Green Eyes but also disappeared.
  • Eduardo He is Miles and Stella's most trusted friend who witnessed Arnold's birth "silence all of nature" in "The Journal." In one of the sketches, it's suggested Eduardo drives a steam-powered riverboat.
  • The Green-Eyed People They are the original and mysterious inhabitants of San Lorenzo.
  • La Sombra He is an evil river pirate and treasure hunter; Miles and Stella's arch enemy.

Original Production Materials

Raymie Muzquiz Storyboards

In July 2012, animation director Raymie Muzquiz launched his official website with examples of his work. One to those examples was a PDF document showing storyboards of a TJM scene.[5]

In the storyboards, La Sombra is revealed, turning out to be the blue shirted river pirate shown in Roger Luan's concept art. The scene starts with a monkey climbing over a long wall into the compound, with the text hinting to what happened in the previous scene. It pans into La Sombra's hut, where he has Arnold held captive.

Two of his thugs are also in the room. La Sombra instructs one of the thugs to open a plate of tasty-looking food, but Arnold ignores it. La Sombra persists, trying to get Arnold to tell him where the hidden city of the Green-Eyed people is, but Arnold again avoids the topic, arguing that if he knew that, he'd probably find his parents.

La Sombra grows angrier and orders his thugs to restrain Arnold. The same monkey from the opening scene fallows in the background, watching the thugs capture Arnold and through him in a storeroom. The map falls in after him. La Sombra explains how he thinks a good night's sleep might jog his memory. Plus, he'd hate to hurt Arnold's friends "on accident". Then the thugs close the door. Arnold runs to the door but it's locked.

Sometime in mid-2015, these storyboards were removed from Muzquiz's website, and replaced with a message saying "Removed for Mysterious Reason!"

Test Footage

Hey Arnold Test00:39

Hey Arnold Test

In 2012, Vimeo user and Artist Brent Forrest posted the test footage for TJM on his account.

The footage shows Miles and Stella on horseback chasing a masked La Sombra through the San Lorenzo jungle in the rain. Referencing a scene that was shown in the episode The Journal when Eduardo tells the story of La Sombra stealing the Corazon from the Green Eyes.

The animation is radically different from the artwork featured in the Hey Arnold! TV Series and also showed off some 3D effects.

In 2014, Craig Bartlett confirmed the footage to be genuine on his Facebook page, and that it was produced by his studio in 2001.

Sketches

Concept Art by Roger Luan

Trivia

  • This wasn't the only movie cancelled by Nickelodeon Movies at the time. Others include Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Movie, Ren & Stimpy: The Movie, Jimmy Neutron: The Search for Carl, Pelswick: The Movie, Invader Dib, and Catscratch: Saving Waffle. Doug: The Movie was also cancelled, but was later renamed Doug's 1st Movie and made by Walt Disney Pictures.

Fan-led Campaigns

Fans of the Hey Arnold! series have set up campaign web sites and Facebook groups asking for The Jungle Movie to be released.

Fan Fictions closely related to The Jungle Movie

See also Fanfics about San Lorenzo

Fan Projects related to The Jungle Movie

References

  1. Interview With Hey Arnold's Craig Bartlett
  2. Nickelodeon Mulls Return of Classic Shows
  3. Hey Arnold! is coming back, and possibly Rugrats too
  4. ‘Hey Arnold’ TV Movie in Works as Nickelodeon Aims to Revive Classic Shows (EXCLUSIVE)
  5. Storyboards by co-director Raymie Muzquiz, from his official site.

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