4/21/16

THE FLINTSTONES - REVIEW


In 1994, for some reason the world decided it was a good idea to make a live-action movie adaptation of The Flintstones, a cartoon as old as time itself about a goofy caveman suburbia with dinosaurs and modern-day appliances thrown in.

John Goodman takes on the Fred role with Rick Moranis playing his best friend and neighbour Barney Rubble. Their respective wives being Elizabeth Perkins (as Wilma) and Rosie O'Donnell (as Betty). Speaking of the actors, the cast in this movie is pretty darn spot-on and you can tell a real effort was made to make the film look like the classic show. The sets are surprisingly detailed, elaborate and impressive and, while some of the dinosaurs/animals are CGI, a majority of them are literally made by Jim Henson's Creature Shop and they look fantastic. The plot involves Barney and Betty adopting a wild child called Bam Bam after borrowing money from Fred. To make it up to him, Barney switches aptitude tests with Fred and the latter is selected by his boss to be a new executive in the company. Little do they know that the whole exam thing was meant to select a scapegoat for an elaborate embezzling scheme.

Critics back when the film was released took issue with the "adult" story elements the film deals with including embezzlement, office politics, mother-in-law jokes, sexy secretaries. To be honest, I'd say that criticism was flawed in that it suggests that kids are stupid and couldn't possibly understand a movie as complex as The Flintstones, which is ridiculous. In fact, I'd say the film does a great job at presenting an entertaining, simple cartoonish flick for younger viewers while including plenty of jokes and in-jokes (look out for Tar Wars and Steven Spielrock) for older viewers as well. After all, hasn't the point of The Flintstones always been that it's just like American suburbia except in caveman times and packed with silly dinosaur puns? If you're surprised to find that going in, the charm of the cartoon and the film will probably be lost on you.

Some highlights from the film include a cameo performance by The B-52's, a live-action shot-for-shot remake of the classic opening and closing sequences from the cartoon, Harvey Korman voicing a (dicta)bird, Kyle MacLachlan's slimy baddie, Halle Berry in the femme-fatale role as a character amusingly called Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor in one of her very last film roles.

It's a shame The Flintstones gets a bad rep because it really is an entertaining, great-looking, funny comedy fans of the original cartoon should appreciate. It's hard to imagine how the filmmakers could have possibly made a better, more faithful adaptation.

Underrated.

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