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HEY ARNOLD

SYNOPSIS:
When powerful industrialist Scheck (voice of Paul Sorvino) plans to bulldoze the neighbourhood and erect a mega-mall, Arnold (voice of Spencer Klein) finds out that the neighbourhood is actually a national landmark. This is the community where Arnold, his best friend Gerald (voice of Jamil Smith) and Helga (voice of Francesca Marie Smith) have lived all their lives. In a desperate attempt to find the document that proves it, Arnold and Gerald follow leads from a mysterious caller known as ‘Deep Voice’, and with the help of ‘spy kid’ Bridget (voice of Jennifer Jason Leigh) end up at the City Coroner’s (voice of Christopher Lloyd). But as the countdown to the bulldozers begins, the unscrupulous businessmen plot and scheme to make their

fortunes.

Review by Louise Keller:
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. Don’t worry if you have never seen the TV show – you’ll soon warm to this football-head hero with the butterfly-wings hair separated by a teensy-weepy blue baseball cap, wide-spaced eyes and mouth that slides from left to right of his face like a playful slippery dip. He has a Pollyanna syndrome and lives with Grandma and Grandpa who are full of surprises: Grandma does handstands and would give Grannie in The Beverly Hillbillies a run for her money, while Grandpa, with his three teeth, has more get up and go than most youngsters, in coming up with a back-up plan. Besides, there’s Arnold’s pal Gerald, whose black mass of hair is reminiscent of Marj in the Simpson, and Eugene whose singing vibrato causes his little u-shaped mouth to quiver. And of course, there’s Helga, the blonde with the one eyebrow and square-wedged hair who secretly has a crush on Albert: she loves him, builds a shrine for him, but of course, there’s no way he needs to know! The characters may look two dimensional, but there’s nothing that straight forward about any of them. In a wonderfully entertaining and amusing story that never misses a beat, we join Arnold and Gerald on their quest to save the neighbourhood from the greed and impending destruction of the community’s homes and businesses. The missing link is the lost document about The Tomato Incident, and the search for this elusive piece of paper puts the boys on the track, dressed all in black with shades effecting stunts like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, and using gadgets that would make 007 proud. Watch out for other fun parodies on the Incredible Hulk, Speed and then there’s the very sloppy kiss that Helga plants on our young hero. The voice cast does a sterling job and I especially enjoyed Francesca Marie Smith’s ‘I love him/I hate him’ Helga and the divine Christopher Lloyd whose City Coroner with the sense of history is wonderfully eccentric and over the top. I enjoyed the characters more than those of Lilo and Stitch, and although I’m not entirely sure what is the target age group, there’s enough colour, quirks and chuckles to amuse the young at heart.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There is a great sense joy and energy about the tv-born, movie-developed Hey Arnold, and its soft-edge animation technique lends it an air of haphazard fun. It also boasts a solid story line about saving the neighbourhood from a big corporate developer personified in Mr Scheck. Did you say Mr Shrek? Unfortunate sound-alike. Scheck is a corporate bully with $reed in his eyes, a character whose baddiness is more resonant with grown ups than with the 8 – 13 year olds who are the target market for this movie. Likewise the rather entertaining spoof on Speed, with a runaway bus. This is great stuff for those of us who’ve seen Speed, but very few 12 year olds will have that reference. OK, they don’t need it; the sequence works well enough on its own. The reference is just a bonus for the movie-literate among the parents. But I wonder if the tone of that sequence isn’t reliant on the reference. Like the Hulk tribute, the Bond-esque gizmo-ware and the Men in Black parody. Maybe I’m just over sensitive to references. Besides, the voice cast – especially Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jamil Smith - is excellent, and there are plenty of sophisticated lines and nuances in delivery that will please adults. I’m not sure how these will work for the kids. On the other hand, familiarity with Arnold from tv will enhance the connection – and the film’s good heart is undeniable.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HEY ARNOLD (PG)
(US)

VOICES: Spencer Klein, Francesca Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, Dan Castellaneta, Tress MacNeille, Paul Sorvino, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli

PRODUCER: Craig Bartlett, Albie Hecht

DIRECTOR: Tuck Tucker

SCRIPT: Craig Bartlett, Steve Viksten

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Christopher Hink

MUSIC: Jim Lang

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Vasilovich

RUNNING TIME: 87minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 12, 2002







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