NOSTALGIA LANE MOVIE REVIEW: “Gumby: The Movie” is voiced by Dal McKennon (Daniel Boone [TV series], Lady and the Tramp), Art Clokey (The Gumby Show [TV series], The Puppetoon Movie), Gloria Clokey (Gumby Adventures [TV series]), Manny La Carruba), Alice Young (Princess Clementina [Short]), Janet Macduff, and Patti Morse. It was directed by Art Clokey, who also wrote it with Gloria Clokey. When the greedy blockheads realize that Gumby’s (McKennon) dog cries pearls, they kidnap and replace it with a robot. What was once a smooth plan turns into a risky endeavor, forcing the blockheads to take more from Gumby and arouse suspicion.
And for the grand finale, the Juicy Reviewer decided to punish himself. Do any of you know what this film is? Seriously, I want to know. If so, are you below the age of twenty-one? Only both of them can be answered yes to be the exception of my case, as “Gumby: The Movie” is one of the most obscure flicks I know of in my age group. Back in the day, this green guy was very famous as he gave life to the world of claymation, brought about by his creator Art Clokey. First, it was experimental short film; then, a TV show. Many hiatuses were made, though the popularity of this glob of clay remained…for a while. In 1995, Art decided to gift everyone with a movie of Gumby, whether we wanted it or not. The results were, for lack of a better word, horrifying. How can a kid born in 1998 ever acquire this piece of entertainment? Simply by means of my grandmother’s VHS tapes. In her cache lied this cinematic “masterpiece,” and for some reason I enjoyed it. I never watched the show, nor got heavily obsessed with the characters (even though I got a few toys). The movie was all I had, and it didn’t take much growing up to learn it was a huge pile of crap. This has to be one of the worst, if not THE worst, stop-motion animated films I have ever seen. It’s boring, bland, cringy, and terrifying by looks alone. I knew I would have a difficult time watching this, but I subjected myself to the torture in order to write a fun review (as I do enjoy critiquing terrible flicks than good ones). Every critic has to watch something bad in their tenure, and I have seen a lot of doo-doo. While this doesn’t take the cake of the worst movie ever, it certainly made itself close to unbearable to sit through. Though it’s runtime was an hour and sixteen minutes, it felt like two hours in length. I could feel my essence seeping into the couch as the grim reaper behind this release was trying to get its hands on me. Constantly, I told myself “why did you do this to yourself? Do you seriously want to put up with this nonsense?” Sure, I went on my phone for a good portion of this feature, but it was the only way for me to get through the whole thing. There’s plenty to ripe on; both in terms of the awful and the disappointing. Before I get into that, let me explain the good aspects of this film. It’s the least I could do in order to soften the blow, and it’ll get that small detour out-of-the-way. Let’s see…well…my gosh, what is good about this? I guess the only decent things I can say reflect the hard work and nostalgia put into this movie. Making a stop-motion picture takes severe amounts of time and patience. Though I hated the style and you could see movements in the background where the animators accidentally touched something in-frame, you have to give the people credit for their craft. That comes out of generosity, as does the nostalgia. I remember watching this long ago when I actually thought it was good. Those were good times (not like there weren’t anymore after that). However, that’s all I can give this; there really isn’t anything else that is respectable or pleasing, which is a shame to the stop-motion genre. What went wrong? First, the story. Good grief. While it has a somewhat straightforward plot, it’s completely flat and expository. Every character says what the audience already knows and it made me feel like an idiot. For example, there are two girls who see the blockheads arriving at Gumby’s jam session, posing as a cable TV company. As the car pulls up, the girls say things like “who is driving that car? What are they doing here?” Then the sticker of their logo peels a little bit off the side of the car to reveal they aren’t from the TV studio, making the girls say “wait a minute, those people aren’t from the TV company!” We know ladies! We know! I can see it with my own stinking eyes! Alas, my cries did nothing as I was forced to sit through more instances of expository dialogue. It’s all Clokey had to offer in his writing, and it was lazy. Another bad aspect about the story was how weird it was. When I say weird, I don’t mean bold like “Gentlemen Broncos,” but rather the concept behind it all. Gumby is set in a world called Gumbasia, where the toy of Gumby and his friends can walk through books and into their worlds for fun. It seems simple enough, though they never talk about them being toys or how they can travel through these books and no one else can. Also, there’s a whole backstory of space that it only shown in the beginning and end that makes no lick of sense. I don’t know how to process it, and simply have to go with the flow, no matter how slow and excruciating it is. Next we have the animation. My gosh, is it awful. Gumby and his pals are somewhat okay. They are pretty primitive, but iconic, and the animation of them molding into different creations was somewhat cool. However, all of the “real” people were disgusting. I don’t mean to cut the filmmakers down, but come on! The “Wallace and Gromit” shorts were made years before this film and looked better than this product. Everything looked as if it came out of a 60’s time capsule with its old style that did more harm than good in the long run. Another aspect that hurts the film is what embodies the animation itself: the voice actors. Typically, it’s hard to judge voice acting. I haven’t been so well at critiquing it, settling for simple phrases like “it was good” or “they did a solid job.” This movie is a different case. It reminds me of the children’s shows I used to watch, where the tone was calm and the voice acting was calm. These voice actors not only give off a calm and boring presence, but they are also incredibly stiff and sound like they are talking through a garbled microphone. It was utterly terrible, and there was no personality in any of the characters. The only thing that separated them were different pitches in voice, besides the weird producer guy who resembled Eugene Levy. It was awful, as was the bulk of this picture. It’s sad that I end this marathon with as bad a feature as this one, but it had to be done. I knew somewhere down the road I had to share my pain of “Gumby: The Movie,” and now it’s over. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to view this unless they wanted to torture themselves (or if they wanted to reference it with me). No one should have to go through this as I have, and hopefully I never have to watch it again. FINAL SCORE: 16%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: