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Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002)

tomatometer

29

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 78
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 55

Bland, unoriginal, and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold is a 30 min cartoon stretched beyond its running time.

41

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 13

Bland, unoriginal, and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold is a 30 min cartoon stretched beyond its running time.

audience

37

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 14,265

My Rating

Movie Info

Everyone's favorite football-headed city kid graduates from television to the big screen in this animated comedy-adventure based on the Nickelodeon TV series. Arnold (voice of Spencer Klein) and his good friend, Gerald (voice of Jamil Walker Smith), live in a tight-knit neighborhood in the middle of a big city. Like most of their neighbors, Arnold and Gerald love their community, and when they learn that Scheck (voice of Paul Sorvino), a wealthy and powerful developer, plans to buy up their

Dec 31, 2002

$13.6M

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (83) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (55) | DVD (6)

Pic has lots of charm, and parents in attendance won't feel too bored or alienated by its goings-on, while kids will lap it up.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The simplistic drawing is closer to Peanuts than The Lion King, and the dialogue is strangely anachronistic.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The coloured pencil tones and quirky-looking characters are likeable, and the plot cuts the sentimentalism with sarky wit and minimum schmaltz.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It all unfolds just about as a grownup might expect, though at a leisurely pace that makes the movie's 72 minutes seem longer.

July 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A good laugh every half-hour or so is not enough for me to recommend this film to anyone who's not a fan of the TV show.

July 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hey Arnold! The Movie is what happens when you blow up small potatoes to 10 times their natural size, and it ain't pretty.

June 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A god awful closer for such a great show.

February 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Not inspired. What did you expect?

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Arnold has his place on the small screen, but here his attempts to save his neighbourhood from corporate takeover seem overextended.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

If this silly little cartoon can inspire a few kids not to grow up to be greedy bastards, more power to it.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Hey Arnold is a film that kids and adults will enjoy.

May 13, 2003 Full Review Source: BlackFilm.com | Comments (2)
BlackFilm.com

...This film really has no business in theatres.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Arnold's jump from little screen to big will leave frowns on more than a few faces.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Amiable and good-natured stuff for younger kids, I suppose, but nothing to get hugely excited about.

January 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Another solid addition to the Nickelodeon cinema canon.

December 24, 2002 Full Review Source: FilmFour.com
FilmFour.com

The charm of Hey Arnold lies in its wacky characters who delight by their off-beat kooky humour in this David and Goliath story about saving the neighbourhood.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Die-hard fans will love it, but, despite being mildly diverting and inoffensive, nothing special leaps off the screen.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: BBC

There is nothing terribly wrong with Hey Arnold!, but neither is there anything special enough to set it apart from what its fans see on TV all the time.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

It's an unspectacular, unexciting movie, to be sure. But what's relevant is whether it will entertain kids. Will it? I don't know; I'm not one.

September 18, 2002 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

Inoffensive and sporadically funny, its chief charm is Arnold's ridiculous noggin, and that's not saying much.

September 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A dull and plodding cartoon with barely enough story for a half-hour episode of the TV series.

August 1, 2002
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com

Unambitious writing emerges in the movie, using a plot that could have come from an animated-movie screenwriting textbook.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

With the formidible showing of such previous hits as Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron, Hey Arnold! The Movie is simply kiddie fare without flair. This is an unimaginative, flat and poorly conceived kiddie clunker

July 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Movie Eye
Movie Eye

Audience Reviews for Hey Arnold! The Movie

Like the 'Doug' animated movie this is purely for fans of the original cartoon. Totally for kids and no one else really, I can't see any adult (or child even) liking this at all unless they know the original series and have followed it.

This was probably my fave 'Nick' toon beating even 'Rugrats', why? because you could relate to it quite well. Many of the stories tend to revolve around real situations that kids deal with in their daily lives, situations many of us will have gone through. The usual stuff like bullies, school, projects, parents, families, snow days, adventures using your imagination etc...

Next to that is the great array of loud quirky characters which fill this world, Dan Castellaneta voicing one of my faves in 'Grandpa Phil'. The oddly shaped designs of the characters is another little series trait and of course the hand drawn style of the cartoon is really rich, colourful and bold. Each toon has their own unique individual artistic style but 'Hey Arnold!' is really one of my favourites, its so pleasing to the eye.

As for this movie, its obviously an extended version of the regular 20min cartoon but as usual it can't quite live up to the original shorter material. The plot is quite a heavy one involving 'Arnold' and 'Gerald' trying to save their neighbourhood from being destroyed by some rich tycoon. This doesn't really work too well in my opinion as it just seems too much of a stretch for the characters to achieve. Some of the ideas by other characters to stop this happening are just daft (yeah I know its a toon but still), blowing a hole in their own street?. All in all it does feel like the writers have had problems trying to think of cute filler to take up the time. Even for a kids film its dreadfully average and predictable.

New characters are also kinda bland and uninteresting unfortunately. They are voiced well by a stellar cast but they just seem uninspired, accept for 'the Coroner' voiced by Chris Lloyd, he was quite cool. All the other regular characters are present and voiced by the regular cast so continuity is good and the film visually looks the same accept for the odd spot of CGI and its generally sharper naturally.

To look at this film is to love it, its Hey Arnold but so much crisper and more delightful. But that's about it really, the plot is heavy handed, it feels terribly stretched, they try to cram all characters in the background and the little amusing touches have disappeared!. All they needed to do was stick to a more kid friendly plot if you ask me or a continuation of the final series perhaps. Something we (the fans) can all relate to, exactly why the series was so successful in the first place.
April 19, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Hey Arnold! The Movie is a fun movie for kids and fans of the show. I loved the show, and this almost was as good.
October 11, 2012
Bradley Wright

Super Reviewer

The TV show, one of the greatest shows Nickelodeon has ever created, & one of the greatest shows ever made that teaches morals without it even intending to. This movie, the consensus sums it up, perfectly.

When the commercials to this movie showed up, it made it seem like it was going to be nothing but fun, some ass-kicking action, & great storytelling. Instead, it was bland, dull, boring, predictable, corny, & unoriginal. Everything an animated movie should not be.

I can't say much on the movie because the consensus already summed it up. But I remember my whole family almost wishing to just walk out on the movie, & everyone saying "It was so dumb." It almost ruins the charm & silliness of the original show it's based on, seriously.
June 23, 2012
Frisby2007
Frisby 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Gerald: Why do you always think on the lighter side of things?
    2. Arnold: Well somebody's gotta do it.
    – Submitted by Adam P (9 months ago)
    1. Helga: I love you Arnold. I love you so much.
    – Submitted by Adam P (9 months ago)
    1. Helga: I wish I had a sign. [pigeon poops on her] Perfect.
    – Submitted by Ben R (2 years ago)
    1. Arnold: I didn't know you were religious.
    2. Gerald: Neither did I.
    – Submitted by Ben R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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