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Alright, so for December 8th, I am personally holding discussion for Hey Arnold: the Jungle Movie! I will admit that I didn't expect the TV movie to be dark. Well, I figured it would be judging from the trailers, but actual onscreen death on a Nickelodeon movie? My overall thoughts on La Sombra? Well, here they are....
What is the work?
Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie picks up where the original series left off: Arnold discovering a map in a journal belonging to his parents. When a competition arises with the promise of giving whoever won it a trip to San Lorenzo, Arnold jumps to this opportunity seeing it as the only way he could ever hope to find his missing parents. So, together with Helga and the others, the organization conducting the competition declare Arnold's class the winner. However, Arnold realizes that things seem to convenient about this trip....
Who is he?
La Sombra is a notorious river pirate and vulture who was briefly mentioned in the episode "The Journal." La Sombra had stolen a sacred artifact from the Green Eyed People known as the Corazon. Miles and Stella - who had since made kinship with the indigenous tribe - return the Corazon to the Green Eyed People. Eventually, Stella goes into labor and gives birth to Arnold; his birth coincidentally aligns with an active volcano being silenced, thus leading the Green Eyed People to view Arnold as some god. Wrathful, La Sombra spends the rest of his time trying to obtain the Corazon.
What has he done?
For starters, La Sombra takes over the humanitarian organization that Miles and Stella were representatives of. He then makes a fake competition, knowing that Arnold would most likely be interested in it. When PS 188 arrive to San Lorenzo, La Sombra disguises himself as Eduardo, an old friend of Arnold's parents. While riding on the riverboat, the boat is seemingly attacked by pirates. However, it is revealed that this was actually Eduardo's boat. La Sombra steers the ship away, and lures the group of students and teachers to a refuge. He then holds them all hostage, but not before relishing in turning the group against Arnold. Gerald and Helga team up to free themselves and Arnold, and the others create a diversion to give them time to escape. When the guard realizes that they had escaped, he begs La Sombra to not kill him. However, La Sombra instead reveals that he anticipated that Arnold would escape in part because the amulet he gave him when they first met was actually a tracking device. With Arnold unknowingly leading the way, La Sombra and his goons follow suit. Along the way, La Sombra allows his goons to fall victim to the various traps, one nasty one being when he uses the goon from earlier as a human shield, and tricking his remaining goons into going into a cave, which causes rocks to collapse onto them when they unintentionally set off the triggers. Not one to allow the death of his minions to get the best of him, La Sombra continues onward.
Eventually, Arnold, Gerald, and Helga discover the Green Eyed People. Once they arrive to the secret civilization, what is surprising is the lack of adults. From murals, it's revealed that all of the adults had succumbed to the sleeping sickness. Arnold's parents tried to create an antidote for the natives, but they ultimately fell victim to the disease as well. It's established that all of the adults had been in this sleep-like trance for nine years. The one element that they were missing was the Corazon. Before they had fallen to this sickness, Arnold's birth appeared to indicate that he would be the one to cure the adults. Unfortunately, La Sombra arrives, and without hesitation tries to steal the Corazon. Arnold tries to explain to La Sombra that without the Corazon, the adults will never wake up. La Sombra unsympathetically tries to make a grab for it, knowingly condemning the natives to a fate worse than death. The young leader of the children tries to attack him, which La Sombra responds with by nearly knifing her. La Sombra then takes the Corazon, and Arnold.
Gerald and Helga pursue the river pirate on a bridge, which was beginning to fall apart. La Sombra attempts to cut the rope holding the bridge together, but his efforts are stopped by Arnold. The bridge collapses, causing Helga and Gerald to cling to it for dear life. La Sombra forces Arnold to decode the compartment containing the Corazon. Arnold begrudgingly does what he says, and La Sombra marvels at it. Just as he was going to make a grab for it, the compartment recognizes him as a thief, and it shoots a dart into La Sombra's forehead. Taken aback by this, La Sombra falls off the cliff. Just as it seemed that the three kids were doomed, they are saved by the real Eduardo. Eduardo then engages in a lengthy fight with La Sombra who had apparently survived his plummet off the cliff. Their scuffle leads to the Corazon falling off the cliff. Enraged, La Sombra grabs Arnold and tries to throw him off the cliff. Unfortunately for Sombra, the poison from the dart does its trick, and his green-laced corpse falls back down the cliff.
Freudian Excuse? Mitigating factors?
No tragic backstory whatsoever. Just a murderously greedy thief. With his goons, he has no personal ties to any of them. When Arnold and the others escape from under the guard's nose, he does spare him because he knew that Arnold would escape, but he later unceremoniously uses that same guard as a human shield. He also remorselessly allows his other goons to die in several different ways.
As for anything else...well, he is Laughably Evil for the most part. He makes a few sharp quips, gleefully admits that he is evil, and his indifference towards any of his goons dying. Everything else considered? He is always played as a serious threat, and is actually one of the darkest characters on the show by far.
Hey Arnold for the most part is a slice of life series that I wouldn't say has truly evil people within. That being said, La Sombra stands out as a murderous psychopath with an impressive body count and repeated attempted murder of children. He is also completely willing to condemn several people to a fate worse than death just as long as he benefits in the end. No antagonist in the show could get up to this level of evil.