November 7, 2011

Gumby: The Movie (1995)

LAST MONTH would have been Gumby creator Art Clokey’s 90th birthday (he passed away in 2010). Google even honored Clokey’s birthday with an interactive Gumby-themed homepage logo:

Dash and Jack-Jack loved what Google did and, since they had never heard of Gumby, started asking questions about him and his friends. It was the perfect opportunity to show them Gumby: The Movie, which I had just put in my Netflix Instant queue a few weeks earlier.

Gumby’s band, the Clayboys, decide to throw a benefit concert to raise money for local farm owners who are losing their farms, thanks for the evil Blockheads who run the local mortgage loan company. But when the Clayboys perform, Gumby’s dog Lowbelly cries tears that turn into valuable pearls – prompting the greedy Blockheads to kidnap Lowbelly and keep the pearls for themselves. In addition, they start kidnapping Gumby, Pokey, Pickle, Goo, and all the Clayboys and replacing them with robot look-alikes.


Everything about Gumby: The Movie the simple plot, the animation, the innocence of the characters – is a refreshing trip back in time for kids’ filmmaking. Granted, 1995 wasn’t that long ago, but Clokey (who directed the film) embodies everything that made his earlier Gumby series so endearing to generations of children. The ability of Gumby and his friends to enter storybooks and live the adventures within (farms, science laboratories, medieval times, etc.) adds to the magic.

That’s not to say Gumby, Pokey, and the gang only do it old school. Gumby’s band, the Clayboys, bring the rawk – jamming to the most hard rock/metal tunes ever shredded by animated lumps of clay.

Clokey’s “claymation” style of animation is pleasantly nostalgic, and the performances – aside from the Clayboys’ rockin’ numbers – are downright tame compared to today’s animated films.

The action in Gumby: The Movie does pick up in the second half, as Gumby and his evil robot twin chase and fight each other through different stories, even jumping into a few “videocassettes” (well, the film was made in the ‘90s). A couple of sequences even have subtle winks to Return of the Jedi and Terminator 2.

Nothing is heart-poundingly exciting or outrageously hilarious in Gumby: The Movie, but it gives kids and their parents a simple, enjoyable, fun family film that does Gumby – and Clokey’s legacy – proud.

aka Gumby 1.


What did Dash and Jack-Jack think?
Since Dash and Jack-Jack have been raised on CGI and 2D animation, I had concerns they’d be jaded about the simplistic, occasionally crude claymation style of Gumby: The Movie. So I was happily surprised that they were glued to the screen for the entire film, even during the quieter moments – though at times, Jack-Jack was a bit confused (frankly, so was I) as to who were the “good” Gumby & Friends and who were the robots.

Is it suitable for your kids?
Gumby: The Movie is rated G and contains nothing overtly offensive. The robot dog falls in manure, and at one point Gumby and his evil robot twin fight each other with light sabers (leading to one of them losing a hand and the other getting sliced into pieces), but it’s not done violently or traumatically. Children of any age should be fine watching the film.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
If she watched Gumby as a child, Gumby: The Movie could definitely be a fun, nostalgic trip for her.

*Sigh* Where do you run the swipe key on these doors?

Gumby: The Movie
* Director: Art Clokey
* Screenwriters: Art Clokey, Gloria Clokey
* Stars: Charles Farrington, Art Clokey, Gloria Clokey, Manny La Carruba, Alice Young, Janet McDuff, Patti Morse, Bonnie Rudolph, David Ozzie Ahlers
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy Gumby: The Movie (DVD) at >>
Rent Gumby: The Movie from Netflix >>


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

For a person who was raised on Mr. Bill and Mr Sluggo it was always great to visit the gentler world of Gumby. And which kid hasn't chewn through their share of Gumby and Pokey figures. They are still magically delicious.

James (SeattleDad) said...

This would be great for Lukas. He loves Pingu and Shawn the Sheep. Thanks for the Reminder about Gumby.

StuartOhQueue said...

Being to young to have enjoyed his heyday, I was introduced to Gumby through VHS tapes at my grandmothers.

Of course, I also had figures which were consumed down to the sharp wires inside of them.

The "Movie" doesn't shine the way it did for me as a youngster but it's still great to revisit something that was once very special to me.


Related Posts with Thumbnails