ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002), PG
Analysis Date: July 1, 2002
CAP Score: 67
CAP Influence Density: 0.61

MinMax: -100

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE (PG) -- ...about functioning within their capabilities.

Production: Nickelodeon
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Tuck Tucker
Producer(s): Craig Bartlett, Marjorie Cohn, Albie Hecht, Julia Pistor, Joseph Purdy, Steve Viksten
Written by/Screenplay: (characters) Craig Bartlett, (written by) Craig Bartlett & Steve Viksten
Music: Jim Lang
Film Editing: Christopher Hink
Production Design: Guy Vasilovich
Art Direction: Christine Kolosov

Remember folks. Though the CAP analysis model was developed by researching behaviors of live performers, the CAP model can incorporate animation/cartoon behaviors as if performed by live performers IF the behaviors portrayed can reasonably be duplicated by or subjected to real children. While the model is indeed very useful in that aspect, it does *not* try to quantify the abstract nature of increased separation of fantasy from reality perception inherent with cartoon animation versus live performance.

The word came. All businesses and homes between 33rd street and 39th street will be torn down to make way for progress. "Change is good." Everyone will have to sell their property within 20 days. All memories will be obliterated by the wrecking ball. Though the city council is opposed to the change, Mayor Dixie (voice of Tress MacNeille) is in favor of it. Sheck (voice of Paul Sorvino) of Future Tech Industries (FTi) is going to tear down 6 square city blocks to build a shopping mall. But Sheck is not doing it as much to make money as he is to get revenge for his ancestors - the Redcoats of Britain who tried to claim the same area of the city but were repulsed by an attack with tomatoes. Arnold (voice of Spencer Klein) and Gerald (voice of Jamil Walker Smith) perform as adults to stop FTi. But that seems almost to be a lesser subplot of the story line.

Nine or ten year old Helga Pataki (voice of Francesca Smith) is in love with Arnold. In the secrecy of solitude she speaks of deep devotion and almost servitude to Arnold. Toward the end of the show she even plants a juicy wet one on his mouth. Kinda overboard for a pair nine year old kids wouldn't you say? But she hates him, too. Outwardly anyway. Whenever she is in earshot of Arnold, she launches a deluge of insults at him. With a slingshot she destroys many of her fetishes of Arnold. One fetish was in her father's attic. It appeared to be about eight feet tall with all the voodoo-looking trappings staged around it as if it were a worship altar. Now what would psychiatrists say about that? I didn't write this movie, folks. I am just telling you what is there so you can make an informed decision on your own whether this cartoon is fit for your kids or not.

As Arnold and Gerald plan their campaign to save their neighborhood from the wrecking ball, they are intercepted by Bridget (voice of Jennifer Jason Leigh), a mysterious *Tomb Raider* cable-sliding woman (though more completely dressed than Jolie) who tells them they are going to need special equipment to make their campaign successful. Bridget outfits the boys with some neat gadgetry such as a high-powered listening device and ... black suits. Just like "the last suit [they'll] ever wear" of *Men in Black* . Arnold and Gerald form an "MIB" kids in black pair to defeat the plans of Sheck. And they do it between 2:00 AM and 7:00 AM in the inner city streets. Without a single parent or adult around, except for the "enemy." A great example for your nine year old tykes. Hmmm?

In addition to "K and J of MIB" (Arnold as K and Gerald as J), several other movie characters are represented in *Hey Arnold!* Helga's dad, 'Big' Bob Pataki (voice of Maurice LaMarche) gets doused in pickle juice and becomes The Incredible Hulk when fighting Sheck's right-hand weasel. Even *Cast Away* is represented as Helga uses fetishes of Arnold. Brooms. Plants. Anything that can take on the appearance of Arnold's characteristic hair or head. Just not a volley ball.

Arnold and Gerald come up with an idea to garner support of the community and to attract news coverage. A blockapulooza. With music and dance and booths. The whole nine yards. But the blockapulooza is raided by the "Gestapo" police. Sheck's righ-hand weasel ( I wish I could remember his name) arranged for the permit Arnold submitted to the city to allow them to hold the blockapulooza to be "intercepted." Nine year olds can submit a permit application to the city?

I have interspersed a number of comments in the text of this Summary/Commentary to point to the writers placing nine year olds in situations clearly beyond the typical unsupervised capabilities of that age. Many of the situations are noble and honorable and are likely to swell your child's chest as s/he inevitably envision's him/herself in the situations mentally saying, with an imaginary fist in the air, "I could do that." But some situations surrounding the noble and courageous ones would be dangerous.

I know this might draw from you a "gimme a break" mutterance, but Harvard educated Dr. Karen Nelson and many others agree with me that the ability to completely separate fantasy from reality and to fully anticipate the consequences of one's actions are not developed to their plateau until the early 20s. And we are dealing with a target audience of very young children. I'll let you do the math.

Other reports on this movie have revealed that of the kids in the audience of the same age stratum as the characters, none were exhibiting the typical nine year old behaviors. All were quite somber and absorbed. I cannot confirm this effect of this movie on kids because the attendees in the audience when I watched it, all four of them, were two about 13 years old, one about 15 and one about 35. I will agree, however, that indescribable properties that might foster such a reaction from young kids were there. Please consider talking with your children who watch this show about functioning within their capabilities and exploring expansion of their capabilities in due time by your judgment and under your loving guidance [Col. 2:8].

Additional programming that may concern you includes unnecessary roughness with kids, breaking and entering with theft, threats against children, fighting and morgue dead body legs. Other concerns might include the use of "666" as part of an address of "66613" in a way as to *clearly* focus attention on the three sixes. Another was the temptation with food to buy submission. There is a connection between the triple sixes and submission if you have read Revelation [Rev. 9 - 18]. There is even attempted murder of children by blowing up an overpass in front of a transit bus being driven by Gerald. [Matt. 18:10]

Arnold's grandmother escapes jail by popping up out of a commode, the typical body exudates are there plus a number of name-calling episodes. A crotch hit, kids jumping off a moving bus and more will be seen and heard by your kids if you decide this movie is acceptable for your kids. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section itemized all that was found.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [This applies as well to putting kids in situations before their time -- the "philosophy" of "You'll thank me when you are older" appealing to their inherent desire to be older than they are.]
  • Rev. 13:9-18 He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs [temptations], even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men [intimidation]. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth [promised great things]. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed [submit or die]. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666 [the mark of submission - to evil].
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise [kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: 1) to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of] not one of these little ones; for I [Jesus Himself] say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. [To "despise" a child can take many forms including feeding their desire to be older than they are, encouraging them to think they can do more than they should.]

    *******Food for Daily Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Hey Arnold!  The Movie (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • slapstick violence
  • name calling, repeatedly
  • morgue dead body legs
  • unauthorized entries/breaking and enterings by children
  • unnecessary roughness with children
  • kids jumping off a moving bus (in defiance of the driver who would not stop for them to get off)
  • jailbreak (through a commode)
  • threats against children
  • fistfights
  • orders to use violence to stop three children
  • reckless endangerment of children
  • a child driving a transit bus with the excuse of experience at video games as justification
  • orders to destroy and destruction of property endangering children - attempted murder
  • staging criminal destruction

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • anatomical reference
  • putting children in control of things well beyond the capabilities of the age stratum
  • underhandedness of adults
  • flight by children to avoid accountability
  • portrayal of adults as idiots in contrast with children
  • obsession with fetishes
  • body exudates
  • lies
  • suggesting theft
  • children deep in inner city streets in early AM hours alone
  • revenge

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • crotch hit
  • two nine year olds kissing on the mouth

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • lust for richness
  • free food as temptation to submit
  • "666"
  • God's name in vain once but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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