The everyday life of Arnold, a 4th-grader in a nameless city that resembles Brooklyn, New York, who lives in a multi-racial boarding house with his grandparents and a motley assortment of neighbors and friends.
Francesca Marie Smith,
Jamil Walker Smith,
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When a powerful developer named Mr. Scheck wants to knock down all the stores and houses in Arnold's neighborhood to build a huge "mall-plex", it looks likes the neighborhood is doomed to disappear. But with the help of a superhero and a mysterious deep-voiced stranger, Arnold and Gerald will need to recover a crucial document in order to save their beloved neighborhood.Written by
"Hey Arnold!" is one of the few quality TV shows for all kids these days, with a cast of likeable and unique characters and thought provoking episodes. But you won't see much of it here in this disappointing and underwhelming big screen picture. There have been far worse films (supposedly) made for kids in recent years, but that's not to say that this average and generic movie deserved to cash in at the box office, either.
From the opening credits until just before the ending, the film completely lacks the feel of a major motion picture; it feels more like your typical TV movie (This movie, in fact, was originally made for TV). Throughout the first half of the film everything is happening so quickly, that it's difficult to build up any interest for the plot. Midway through the film, I already asked myself why Nickelodeon didn't put this on TV for free instead of milking it for short-term cash.
The two biggest disappointments of the movie was the storyline development itself and the use of the series' characters.
Amidst the rush of the storyline, the film actually does a decent job of building up the conflict between Arnold and the villain, Mr. Scheck. But all of it goes to waste when the multimillionaire Scheck reveals his ridiculous motives. It was very anticlimatic and I didn't take the movie very seriously after that; I thought of at least two alternate ways the movie could've ended (while taking away most of the excitement).
The three main characters in the series (Arnold, Helga, & Gerald) take up most of the film's significance, as they should. But what of the secondary characters (Arnold's grandparents, Phoebe, Sid, Harold, Rhonda, Eugene, and a few others), most which have had at least two of the 100+ episodes based on them? The ability to add depth to these other characters is what helps make the TV show interesting; but here they get shoehorned into this film without being able to help Arnold at all. They remain likeable, but ultimately are not at all memorable. Even the other characters made for this movie (Bridget, the coroner, and the one-legged man) get more of the face time.
Part of the film does focus on the relationship between Arnold and Helga (who passionately loves Arnold even though she pretends to hate him), and the moment when she finally admits her love for him (and how he reacts to it) as the movie nears the final major scene. It's one of the main concepts of the TV show, and the only valuable part of this movie.
Otherwise, this was a very average film with a simplistic and uninspiring story, cluttered with useless characters. This mediocre outing by the show's creators will likely mark the beginning of the end for a fine TV series. Besides, when Nickelodeon still has the Rugrats, Spongebob, and a roster of new hit shows at its disposal, why continue to focus on a cartoon that failed miserably on the biggest stage?
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