Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie Answers the Big Questions

Hey Arnold! Jungle Movie

Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie Plot Summary:

Arnold (Mason Vale Cotton) and his classmates win a visit to a distant Latin American country as part of a community service contest. It’s here that Arnold hopes to finally reunite with his long lost parents.

I have a mixed opinion of revivals and sequels that come after years of waiting. They’re largely unnecessary, especially when a series had its heyday and a definite decline. It’s why a Rugrats revival or reboot would be a mistake. Still, if the revival can live up to expectations, then I’m happy it was made, of course. To make a comparison to a much more adult show, 24 ended its original run with a string of weak seasons, but the miniseries that followed, 24: Live Another Day, was the show’s best season in years. That being said, Fox didn’t know when to quit and produced a mediocre follow-up, 24: Legacy.

Sometimes a series ends on an unintentional cliffhanger or doesn’t get the ending that was always planned, and so the creators produce a revival to rectify it. The track record of these continuations is hit-or-miss. Many fans were disappointed with the conclusions to Twin Peaks: The Return and the new season of Samurai Jack on Adult Swim. That’s always a risk.

Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie was the unproduced final chapter to the Nickelodeon TV show that stayed in limbo for years. You’d occasionally see concept art or petitions to make it on Facebook. I, for one, had made peace with not knowing what happened to Arnold’s parents. I was an adult and that was a kid’s show from days long past. I didn’t even know about the planned Jungle Movie until a few years ago.

So, here were are now. Nickelodeon just aired Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie last night. With Hey Arnold! as arguably the best Nicktoon of its generation, the TV movie really needed to deliver. And, for the most part, it does. It feels noticeably bigger than the largely grounded TV show, but not in way the secret agent element in Hey Arnold!: The Movie did. I could also gripe about the digital animation in some spots, but it didn’t bother me overall.

As the title of this article states, The Jungle Movie answers questions. Want to know what happened to Arnold’s parents? It’s in there. Want to know Arnold’s last name? That’s in there too. These revelations aren’t earthshattering, but they’re satisfying. That’s what I’d describe this whole affair as. It’s an example of the creator successfully fulfilling his vision.

The adventure in the jungle has some entertaining twists and turns, and it’s cool that people recognize all that Arnold has done for basically every character. There’s also a funny joke about beepers that I won’t spoil. While there was something poignant about the mystery being unresolved, I’m comfortable with this as the official ending of Hey Arnold!

If you’re a fan of Hey Arnold!, chances are you’ll enjoy this. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a masterpiece, but it was nice to go back to the boarding house, hear that familiar music, and see the old running gags again.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)


Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.