GUMBY THE MOVIE is a feature length film with the clay characters from the children’s TV series, THE GUMBY SHOW. Amazing changes are made through the process of stop-motion animation, sculpting and animation. There is a storyline, but it’s just a vehicle for the animation. Gumby, a clayboy, has a band. He and his friends put on a benefit concert to raise money for some farmers. Gumby’s dog, Lowbelly, is so touched by the music he cries tears of pearls. The Blockheads kidnap Lowbelly and make him into a robot so they can get his pearls. But when they realize the band’s music is what makes him cry, the kidnappers go after Gumby and his friends. Special effects make the characters appear to go in and out of various books and video tapes, so there are scenes from a farm, King Arthur’s court, a dervish camp, outer space, and a computer lab. Since all of this is being done with clay, it’s fun to watch, and mind-boggling to think how involved this movie was to make. However, therein lies the problem. Younger children won’t appreciate the technical aspect, and the story line is too juvenile to hold the interest of older children.
Since the clay characters are obviously make believe, it would seem unlikely that children would be frightened by the action in the movie. However, the Blockheads kidnap and put Gumby and friends in a refrigerated truck. In another scene, three characters slide down a pole and end up as one big rubber ball that must be operated on. Gumby and his clone have a sword fight and the clone is cut down the middle. Robots get melted down and the Blockheads slap one another. It’s a stretch to call this violence, and there is no other questionable material in the movie. Gumby and his friends are kind and helpful to each other and to the needy farmers. When Pokey the horse feels left out, Gumby shows concern. Several friends go into different books trying to find Gumby, as Gumby himself works to rescue another friend. GUMBY THE MOVIE can be wholeheartedly recommended for young children.