|Hey Arnold!: The Movie|
June 28, 2002
Hey Arnold!: The Movie is a 2002 animated film based on the 1996 Nickelodeon animated TV series Hey Arnold!. The film was released in selected theaters on June 28, 2002 from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
The movie was novelized into a book.
After the success of The Rugrats Movie (1998) and Rugrats in Paris (2000), Nickelodeon came to an agreement with Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett for a HA! theatrical film as well as a TV-movie. The original plan was for the theatrical film to be about Arnold searching for his parents, known as Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, while the TV-movie, originally titled "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood", was about Arnold saving his neighborhood from being torn down. Problems with the script kept the theatrical movie on hold for a number of years, and Nickelodeon, wanting an Arnold movie in theaters before the show lost its popularity, had "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood" converted into this film.
The film begins with Arnold and Gerald walking back to the boarding house with a popped basketball after being beaten by 5th graders at a game. Before Arnold walks into the boarding house, he sees several of his neighbors making a fuss about something. One of the gathered neighbors Mr. Green, explains the commotion. He states that Mr. Scheck (Paul Sorvino) the CEO of a real estate company called Future Tech Industries or FTi, wants to buy all the houses in Arnold's neighborhood so can convert them into a futuristic mall. According to the news, the mayor of Hillwood is already approving plans for the mall. This means that Arnold’s neighborhood will be destroyed and everyone who lives there has to move away (which would also mean Helga would not see Arnold again or express her feelings to him). The neighbors state that they should do something about this. During the night, Helga discovers that her dad, Big Bob Pataki, is working with Nick Vermicelli (who had worked with Big Bob in the episode "Save the Tree"). Pataki is revealed to be planning to build a store in Scheck's mall called Big Bob's Super Beeper Emporium. Helga points out to her dad that people are going to suffer if he builds his store. However, Big Bob counters by saying that if they leave the neighborhood alone, his store won't exist. He also insists that change is good (as does Scheck at various times in the film) and states that when his store is built Helga will be rich and will be able to buy anything. The next morning, Future Tech Industries puts up a huge electronic billboard above Arnold’s house that shows the number of days until construction begins as well as several Future tech Industries ads featuring Scheck stating "Out with the old, in with the new", "Change is good", and "I've seen the future, and the future is Future Tech Industries".
Arnold rallies the neighborhood and hosts Blockapalooza, a block party held to protest against FTi. However, the permit allowing them to close a public street was stolen by Scheck’s employees, and the block party was declared illegal; Arnold's grandmother was jailed for being hostile to the police suppressing the rally. She tries breaking out but keeps getting caught. Meanwhile, as demolition day closes in, Gerald tells Arnold to stop looking on the bright side of things and that you can’t always win.
Later on, as the boarders begin packing, Grandpa tells Arnold the history of the boarding house, stating that it was first built in the 1700's and it was the site of the "Tomato Incident" (a parody of the Boston Tea Party) during the Revolutionary War. The residents at that time angry over the increase in British taxes for tomatoes. The locals fought the British soldiers by hitting them with the tomatoes, sending them running. Arnold then realizes that if he can find a document proving the event happened, then the neighborhood would be declared a historical site and can't be demolished. With Gerald reluctantly tagging along, Arnold manages to trace the document to FTi, though Scheck denies ownership of the document. Just as Arnold and Gerald are about to give up hope, a street telephone rings, with someone mysterious named “Deep Voice” tells them at Scheck is lying and that the document is hidden in his vault, which Vermicelli has the key to. He directs them to a woman named Bridget (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who can provide them with the proper gadgets to do the job and sneak the key away from Vermicelli. After Arnold and Gerald managed to snag the key, Big Bob, having read the fine print of his contract, finds that Scheck had taken control of 51% percent of his company in exchange for the right to build his beeper emporium, and takes his anger out on Vermicelli. They engage in a small fight before Bob is dosed in pickle juice (reminiscent of the Hulk) and knocked. Vermicelli then realizes that the key was gone and alerts Scheck.Meanwhile, Grandpa Phil and the men at the boarding house are trying to develop a backup plan just in case Arnold fails to get the document. They have several ideas, but fight on their weaknesses. However, Phil gets an idea that works. Phil and the gang plan to wire the sewer tunnels beneath their street with dynamite. They would then ignite it and blow a huge hole in the ground so the Future Tech Industries workers would fall in. Arnold and Gerald infiltrate FTi and locate the vault, only to find the document missing. Scheck comes up from behind them, with the document in his hand. He reveals that his ancestor, who was the German leader of the British forces, was humiliated by the Tomato Incident. For generations, Scheck's family has been planning on regaining control of the city and get revenge against the boarders.
Scheck then burns the document. His bodyguards then arrive to arrest Arnold and Gerald, who manage to escape and split up. Arnold then remembers that Scheck has cameras everywhere and manages to get a video of Scheck burning the document. However, security forces arrive, forcing Arnold to hide on the roof. He is then contacted by Deep Voice. Deep Voice is then revealed to be Helga, who confesses her romantic feelings for Arnold and kisses him. They escape the building and meet Gerald on a city bus. But the driver, Murray, is unwilling to speed up until he realizes that his former flame lives near Arnold and that her house is going to be demolished. Back in the neighborhood, Phil and the gang are waiting with their explosives for FTi to begin taking the neighborhood down. Big Bob is in the area and discovers their plan. Although Big Bob states the gang could do some serious jail time, he decides to help because Nick Vermicelli double-crossed him.
Meanwhile, Vermicelli’s workers blow up a freeway to prevent Arnold, Gerald, Helga, and Murray (who is unconscious at the time) from getting to the neighborhood. However, a truck on the freeway that had a ramp on the back was stopped near the edge. The quartet ride the bus over the truck's ramp to jump the hole and make it to 33rd street. Back at the neighborhood again, Grandma (who has escaped from jail) hijacks one of the bulldozers and destroys the rest. Soon, the hijacked bulldozer and the city bus that Arnold, Gerald, and Helga are on collide. Grandma escapes before they hit and the kids and Murray show up okay a few moments later. Mayor Dixie arrives and Bridget gives Arnold a VCR to show the tape of Scheck burning the document. Bridget hooks it up to the big FTi screen and Arnold shows Mayor Dixie the tape. Scheck then arrives but is dismayed by the incriminating evidence. He gets into his car and tries to run over Arnold and Gerald only to find that Grandma stripped his car of its wheels. He is then arrested and Big Bob gets in another fight with Vermicelli. Arnold’s neighbor Harold is exhausted because the exploding freeway woke him up. He sits down on the button that ignites Phil’s explosives. The explosives beneath the streets ignite, destroying the FTi billboard. Phil and the boarders run away from the police as Helga talks to Arnold. She then denies having loved him and runs cheerfully as Eugene sings a song about the neighborhood being saved.
Cast & Characters
- Main article: Characters
Many of the series regulars also voice other bit roles, as seen here:
- Spencer Klein - Arnold
- Francesca Marie Smith - Helga Geraldine Pataki, Deep Voice
- Jamil Walker Smith - Gerald Martin Johanssen, Rasta Guy
- Dan Castellaneta - Grandpa Phil, Nick Vermicelli
- Tress MacNeille - Grandma Gertie, Mayor Dixie, Red
- Paul Sorvino - Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck
- Jennifer Jason Leigh - Bridget
- Christopher Lloyd - Coroner
- Vincent Schiavelli - Mr. Bailey
- Maurice LaMarche - Big Bob Pataki, and The Head of Security
- Kath Soucie - Miriam Pataki, Mona, Reporter
- Christopher P. Walberg - Stinky Peterson
- Sam Gifaldi - Sid
- Justin Shenkarow - Harold Berman
- Blake McIver Ewing - Eugene Horowitz
- Olivia Hack - Rhonda Wellington Lloyd
- Anndi McAfee - Phoebe Heyerdahl
- James Keane - Marty Green (mentioned as councilman, a job he won in "Mr. Green Runs"), Riot Cop
- Elizabeth Ashley - Mrs. Vitello
- Michael Levin - Ray Doppel
- Steve Viksten - Oskar Kokoshka
- Dom Irrera - Ernie Potts
- Baoan Coleman - Mr. Hyunh
- Craig Bartlett - Brainy, Murray, Grubby, Monkey Man
- The poster for Hey Arnold! The Movie was based on the one for Nickelodeon's previous theatrical release, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, with the hero up front (Arnold, Jimmy), his friends behind him, and the enemy (Scheck, King Goobot) hovering above, reaching out to them and being larger than their actual size.
- In the context of a fight with Nick Vermecilli, Big Bob is splattered with green pickle juice, his eyes become red, and fights even harder, a reference to The Incredible Hulk.
- Several film references are made, including Men in Black, and Speed.
- Practically every character from the show is a background character in this movie (anyone who isn't Arnold, Helga, or Gerald).
- When Grandma Gertie breaks out of prison, her escape is identical to that of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, i.e. escaping through a secret passageway concealed by a poster.
- At the end of the credits, the first song that is playing Lil' Romeo's 2-Way and is also the first single for his album Game Time. There also was a music video for the original soundtrack of the movie.
- Originally, Hey Arnold: The Movie was scheduled to air on TV as three half-hour episodes called "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood", and would have been the Hey Arnold! television series finale.
- The "sneeze" sound effect in the Nickelodeon Studios vignette, was originally featured in the Nintendo 64 video game, GoldenEye.
- The first Nickelodeon animated movie to receive a PG rating for Thematic Elements.
- Mrs. Vitello speaks again since "Part Time Friends".
- When Scheck tells Arnold, Gerald and Helga, "And I would of gotten away with it, if it weren't for that meddling football head, that kid with all the hair, and that brat with the one eyebrow." This is a reference to Scooby Doo in which every episode had a criminal saying "... and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!"
- When Grandpa Phil is telling Arnold about the Tomato incident, he says that the residents fought the British behind a barricade of upturned vegetable carts, but in the flashback, they're fighting from the top of the boarding house.
- While the Tomato Incident happened in the Revolutionary War, Hillwood City is on the West Coast!
- In the movie, Big Bob's hair is shown to be brown. However, in all of his appearances throughout the series, his hair was always gray.
- When we see the outside of the arcade, the banner in the window says "closing in 3 days", but in the arcade, Arnold says that the neighborhood would be torn down in 2 days.
- When Mr. Bailey is talking to Arnold and Gerald, the keys on his keyboard are small, but when he is searching for the document, they're bigger. Although, it could be because that it's a different computer or it was the angling.
- When Arnold and Gerald are outside the city coroner's house, there's a double door. But when they go in, it's a single door.
- When Helga kissed Arnold, Arnold's hat fell off, but when it is falling down, Arnold is still wearing his hat.
- In the scene when Scheck's employees blow up the ramp, Nick Vermicelli is seen with two criss-crossing bandages on his face in an "x" shape. When the camera zooms in on his face, he has only one bandage on his face.
- On the cover, Phoebe's shirt is colored yellow instead of blue.
Awards and Nominations
- Joey Paul Jensen was nominated for Best Casting for Animated Voice Over, Feature Film in the Casting Society of America awards.
Critical Reception and Fallout
The film currently holds a 30% approval rating at RottenTomatoes.com. The website called the movie, "Bland, unoriginal, and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold is a 30 min cartoon stretched beyond its running time".
Metacritic.com indicates a score of 47, the aggregate score coming from the averages of 23 critic reviews.The users of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) rated the film 5.3 out of 10.
Sky Movies in the UK gave the film 2 stars.
Despite the film making over $15 million (over five times its $3 million budget) the film wasn't considered as successful as films like The Rugrats Movie (that made over $140 million worldwide). In the 1st interview with The Arun Mehta Show, Craig Bartlett blamed poor advertising for the little amount of money it made. He also criticised the trailer, which gave away the kiss scene on top of the FTi tower, which "amazed" him.
Poor reception had wider implications. After the movie's release, only two more episodes were made of the Hey Arnold! TV series. The first was "April Fools Day," the second was "The Journal", which left the series on a cliffhanger and was discontinued two years later. Production on the second film Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie also ceased which still causes outrage within the Hey Arnold! fandom.
Hey Arnold!: The Movie was made into a platform video game for the Game Boy Advance. It was developed by a Japanese video game studio, Altron and published by THQ. The game consists of five worlds holding four levels in each and one boss. Players may control Arnold, Gerald, Grandpa, and Grandma, which all are assigned their own levels with their own objectives. The game play is similar to a video game released the same year based upon The Fairly Odd Parents.
There was also a game for Nick Arcade that was a game called Runaway Bus. Where you can pick a mode, Cruise, Crazy and/or Runaway. Then a person, Arnold, Helga, Gerald and Grandpa. Then drive and pick up people from a bus stop.
- Transcript of the movie
- Quotes from the movie
- Helga's confession in various languages
- Hey Arnold!: The Movie (book), novelization of the movie
- Extract from the book above
- Subtitles for the movie
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