A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this old-fashioned 1995 claymation movie, made by the same people who originated the characters more than a half century ago, pits Gumby and his friends against their perennial enemies, the Blockheads. It's smarter good guys (and gals) versus pretty inept bad guys, with plenty of cartoon action and minor suspense all so unrealistic that only the most sensitive or youngest kids, might be frightened. Still, the hero is sliced and diced as he fights with swords, lasers, and other medieval weapons. Characters are kidnapped, frozen, and turned into robot versions of themselves. The bloodless injuries are all short-lived, however; Gumby and his colleagues all revive and return quickly to normal. It should be noted that the DVD package lists the running time at 117 minutes when in reality it is only 77 minutes long (one hour, seventeen minutes).
What's the story?
GUMBY and his friends discover that their ever-present enemies, the Blockheads, are foreclosing on the local farms that appear in one of their favorite books. The families are desperate, so Gumby and his rock group, The Clayboys, decide to put on a concert to benefit the farmers. It's a rousing success, but when the Blockheads realize that Lowbelly, Gumby's dog, is so moved by the music that he cries real pearls instead of tears, they see a new opportunity. They kidnap the beloved dog and play a Clayboys recording hoping to steal Lowbelly's valuable tears. But it's only live music that brings out the pearls, so more kidnappings, robot cloning, and evil-doing take place -- all for the sake of a fortune. Will Gumby and his friends defeat the Blockheads? Will the farmers be able to keep their farms?
Is it any good?
For young kids new to Gumby, the animation in this feature film edition might feel old-fashioned and clumsy; the story bland and simplistic. It's slow going, not terribly funny, and it's repetitive. Still it has a quirky charm that kids respond to, especially the grown-up "kids" who are long-time fans and enjoy the memories that repeat viewings provide.
The original claymation Gumby was all the rage for kids in 1950's and '60's television, reworked and popular again in the 1980s, and made even more famous when Eddie Murphy created a long-running parody on Saturday Night Live and the claymation Mr. Bill (a satirical tribute to Gumby) died a thousand sadistic deaths.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Gumby finds adventure in books. How true is this for you? What different places have you visited in books?
Lowbelly's tears are valuable. How did Gumby use those tears to help the farmers? Can you think of ways you might help people in your community?
Does this movie stand the test of time? What makes some movies endure through the ages?
Themes & Topics
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