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  • Acceptable Professional Targets: In addition to river piracy, Lasombra appears to maintain sidelines in what are generally agreed to be two of the world's most despicable vocations, poaching and tomb-robbing, as evidenced by the large cache of exotic animals and native treasures he intends to sell on the black market.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Lasombra refusing to give Rhonda the Wi-Fi password. Was it a case of Evil Is Petty or Pragmatic Villainy considering that if she had internet access, she could easily message someone to rescue the kids from his prison? Doubles as Fridge Brilliance.
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    • Curly offering to join Lasombra's and his goons. Curly being his usual psychotic self or secretly trying to instill himself as a mole to give his classmates a better chance for an eventual escape?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Miles and Stella take the fact that they were in a coma for nearly a decade and their infant son is now a preteen pretty well, though they are pretty anxious about Arnold heading back to school after the big journey.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: For non-fans of the series. The movie is based on a modestly-popular television show that ended well over a decade before its airing, and is quite mythology-heavy as far as the plot goes, so new audiences not familiar with the show found it hard to get excited for. In the end, in spite of a decent advertising campaign by the network, and the overwhelming support of the adult fanbase (which made the film the #1 U.S. trending topic on Twitter on its premiere night), the movie ended up picking up lackluster ratings, at about the same than any other premiere.
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    • In the rooftop scene, Tucker Wittenberg and Mai Hyunh appear. Those two characters had suffered from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in the original series, never appearing after their debut.
    • Sid is considerably nicer in The Jungle Movie than he was in the series post-Season 2. Such as stopping Harold and Stinky from ruining the contest entry, helping Eugene with his allergic reaction, and comforting Harold during his meltdown.
    • A major complaint with the 2002 movie is how the supporting cast doesn't get to do much. It's just Arnold, Gerald, Helga, and the adults (Big Bob, Gertie, and Phil and the boarders), who get a minor subplot each. While the former three do have much of the screen time in the climax, every supporting character still makes a contribution of some sort, no matter how minor. Phoebe in particular (long regarded among fans as a main character alongside Arnold, Helga, and Gerald) gets a pretty substantial role in this movie (though not quite up to the level of the other three) whereas she had only one line in the first movie.
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    • After Alex D. Linz's portrayal of Arnold in "April Fool's Day" and "The Journal" was criticized by many fans, (mostly because his voice was too high-pitched and he was seen as a Replacement Scrappy to fan-favorite Spencer Klein), they cast Mason Vale Cotton as Arnold this time, who sounds closer to Toran Caudell, Phillip Van Dyke and Spencer Klein (who all had similar-sounding voices) and wrote The Jungle Movie's Arnold as less of a deliberate rejection of Klein's take like Linz's was, and more of a distillation of all of his previous actors' portrayals.
  • Awesome Art: The Conspicuous CG moments aside, the animation is amazing, and very crisp and smooth.
  • Awesome Music: Jim Lang returns with the trademark jazz sound, as well as the return of the most memorable leitmotifs, including the "Parents Day" theme for Miles and Stella, and Helga's love theme.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Was anyone surprised when it turned out that the Corazon was supposed to be placed in the hole of the medicine dispenser? The mural on the wall made it pretty darn blatant. Really, it's super straightforward - treasure's inside the idol, take it and put it inside the cavity. The kids of the Green Eye tribe get a pass because most of them are really young and uniformed and they assumed they couldn't make their machine work without Arnold, and that was true because Arnold did have the spyglass to decode how to open the guarded idol. Yet, it's actually pretty Narmy when Arnold looks at the painting of the treasure with no idea what to do with it when it's staring us dead-on in the face - one of the smartest characters in the series, even more so than some adults - and yet his fifth grade-educated, ten-year-old logic can't make the connection... and then Lasombra unwittingly drags the cast away from right where they need to be when everything could have been solved in mere seconds with the spyglass. Some of you were probably screaming at the television or computer, "PUT IT IN THE HOLE, FOOTBALL HEAD!!" Funnily enough, Arnold even struggled to put Helga's locket there in its place, which she is quick to point out.
  • Catharsis Factor: For Hey Arnold! at large. After waiting FIFTEEN LONG YEARS for the series to reach its conclusion, many people who watched the show as children and/or teens are now adults, some with children of their own. Now, a once-unfulfilled dream of their youth has been realized. And for Craig Bartlett and the crew? You just need to know that the crew wore shirts with "CLOSURE HAPPENS" written on them.
  • Character Rerailment:
    • Sid returns to his pre-Season 3 characterization where he was much less of a Jerkass and he spends the film being kind and courteous to his friends.
    • To some degree, Harold and Stinky get some as well after taking some levels in the later seasons along with Sid. Stinky seems back to his confused but friendly southern demeanor and Harold doesn't bully anyone or boast about himself throughout the course of the movie. Harold is even seen beating a junky replica of Arnold when they are first imprisoned by Lasombra, only to be snuggling the same dummy later that night crying about how he misses Arnold.
  • Continuity Lockout: The movie requires you remember the episode "The Journal" in its entirety, along with the Love Confession in Hey Arnold! The Movie. It also contains callbacks to several previous episodes of the series, which would confuse new viewers who lack proper knowledge on the show, especially since by this point, the series only aired in late-night reruns on TeenNick. This deep need for familiarity is assumed to be the reason for the film's lackluster ratings, and why the following two throwback specials (Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus) got released on Netflix rather than see television airings.
  • Fanon: To explain her absence from the boarding house scenes, many fans speculate that Suzie finally had enough of Oskar's shit and divorced him between the end of the series and The Jungle Movie. Upgraded to Word of God by Craig Bartlett in a Reddit AMA.
  • He Really Can Act: Mason Vale Cotton, Arnold's voice actor in this movie, manages to show a great range of emotion reminiscent of past Arnold voice actors while still bringing something new to the table.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Did you honestly expect to see one of Lasombra's men get used as a human shield against a slew of arrows and collapse dead on screen?
  • It Was His Sled: The Reveal that Arnold's last name is "Shortman". Bartlett confirmed it years prior in an interview, back when it looked like the movie would never be made. Still nice to have "official" confirmation, though.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lasombra is a ruthless river pirate defined by his greed. After losing the Corazon to Arnold's parents years ago, Lasombra orchestrates a fake contest to lure Arnold into San Lorenzo. Disguising himself as Eduardo, Lasombra gives Arnold an amulet that was in truth a tracking device anticipating that Arnold would escape and unwittingly lead him to the lost city of the Green-Eyed People. Demonstrating his quick wit by sacrificing his minions to numerous booby traps during his trek through the jungle, Lasombra succeeds at finding the lost city. Despite being sociopathic and possessing the willingness to kill children if his schemes called for it, Lasombra balances this by having several laughable moments and quips and stands as the ultimate villain of the Hey Arnold series for this reason.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Lasombra using a mook who failed him as a Human Shield against an arrow trap. It's incredibly jarring as, aside from a few episodes dealing with unreliable ghost stories, it's the first on-screen murder in the series. Lasombra then follows it up with using the rest of his men as canon fodder for the traps leading up to the Green-Eyes city, resulting in all of their deaths. And the guy is completely nonchalant through all of it.
  • Narm Charm: The scene where all the adults affected by the sleeping sickness wake up to a bright light and butterflies swarming them is really cheesy, but also really touching.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Big Bob gives a repeat performance from Hey Arnold! The Movie, joining with Miriam and Arnold's grandparents in helping save the kids from Lasombra's men.
    • Sid is much less of a Jerkass in The Jungle Movie and acts as a genuinely helpful and courteous friend by doing things like salvaging Arnold's contest video and helping Eugene cope with his allergic reaction to the San Lorenzo food.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Though not without faults, The Jungle Movie has been received much better than the first movie was (though its reception improved somewhat over the years). Compare the 8.1/10 rating on IMDb for The Jungle Movie to the 5.9/10 for Hey Arnold! The Movie.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • One of the leaked plot details of the original Jungle Movie was that Nadine was supposed to get her own subplot after never having had a single episode that focused entirely on her. Needless to say, fans of hers were a bit miffed that it didn't happen. The writers probably couldn't figure out a way to write it in without taking attention away from the main plot.
    • Despite her reputation in the fandom, many are also upset that Lila was once again a voiceless background character in this film, without any definitive closure being given for the Arnold/Lila/Helga love triangle that ended so abruptly in "Timberly Loves Arnold/Eugene, Eugene!" This was a decision made by Craig as he did not want her getting in the way of Arnold and Helga, but he jokingly (or maybe not) said in a live chat that Lila may return as a full-fledged character if the series is revived.
    • Living Prop Sheena does not attend San Lorenzo or have any value to the plot beyond padding the background during the video scene.
  • Unexpected Character: Many fans were not expecting the return of Pigeon Man in The Jungle Movie, after the latter hadn't made a single appearance or mention since his Day in the Limelight.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Helga for the first half of the movie. As per usual, the audience is supposed to sympathize with her feelings for Arnold and want her love to be requited. However, she blatantly ignores the fact that Arnold is currently undergoing a Heroic BSoD over his parents and she only cares about helping Arnold find his parents if it means he'll return her affections, making her come across as Entitled to Have You.
    • Everyone puts all the blame on Arnold for getting captured by Lasombra, despite the fact it only happened because they were all tricked into thinking the contest was legitimate and that Lasombra was Eduardo and he didn't know any better than they did. They essentially go "he got us here, he's responsible for what has happened". Granted, they did have legitimate reasons to get mad at Arnold, such as him not mentioning his quest to find the Green-Eyes, nor the looming threat of the river pirates until it's too late, but only Gerald does get mad at him for these.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Averted. Most of the new character designs were well-received (it helps that they aren't too different than what they looked like before, just slight wardrobe updates and aged up a bit) and some, like Phoebe, are actually considered a vast improvement.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Rhonda takes selfies with a smartphone, when beepers were still in fashion just a year (in-universe) prior. Blame the 15 year Sequel Gap and Technology Marches On for this. Contrasted by Big Bob still trying to sell beepers even though no one uses them anymore.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Aside from the usual crap being slung past the radar, there are multiple on-screen deaths in the film.
  • Win the Crowd:
    • The San Diego Comic Con preview of The Jungle Movie did this for anyone who had doubts about the film, showing crisp animation, tons of Call Backs and Continuity Nods to the series, a few characters who disappeared during the series returning and that the returning voice actors could still do their characters' voices while the new voice actors sound just like the originals.
    • The newly-unveiled character redesigns did this first; most fans were terrified that the basic look of the show would have been radically overhauled to account for changes in animation technology and production since the Turn of the Millennium (witness the shift from traditional to flash animation many long-lived cartoons have suffered in the past decade or so). To everyone's great relief, the new character designs were extremely conservative to the originals and amounted to them looking slightly older (to reflect the kids reaching the early stages of puberty) and getting fashion makeovers, which in some cases (we're looking at you, Phoebe) were even generally considered improvements on the originals.
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