The Flintstones – 3 out of 5
The Flintstones; a family that as legend has it, were the modern Stone Age family. Growing up, I never really was a big fan of their cartoon series. Occasionally, I would watch its reruns on the Cartoon Network but I never was super into the show. In the 90s, a film adaptation of it was release that I found entertaining and fun at the time. However, it never really entered into my regular rotation so it has been many, many years since I’ve seen it. Recently, I decided to revisit Bedrock and check out this feature and see how it stands the test of time (get it? Because they are a family from ages ago—I’ll show myself out).
|Meet George Jetson--wait, is that how it goes?|
Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) and Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) are just two best friends and blue-collared working men at Slate and Co. One day, the executive vice-president Cliff Vandercave (Kyle MacLachlan) decides to test the employees so they can see who is the most deserving of a promotion. After Fred and his wife Wilma (Elizabeth Perkins) helps Barney and his wife Betty (Rosie O’Donnell) adopt a child, Barney decides to help Fred out by swapping their exams. Barney’s skills result in Fred being promoted but the change puts their friendship to the test. However, things quickly get worse when it is realized that Vandercave and his assistant; Miss Stone (Halle Berry), are using Fred to take the fall as the two embezzle from the company.
|Words will never be able to adequately describe how much I love John Goodman.|
|Golly, Rick Moranis is sure adorable.|
The first thing that struck me about this live-action adaptation is the fact the story never really feels like an episode of The Flintstones. Granted, I admitted I was never the biggest fan of the series and I couldn’t, for the life of me, recall a single episode in vivid detail but the basic premises never really felt primed and geared for a tale about embezzling. That isn’t to say that the story is flawed in any way but rather that it just didn’t feel like a story that would have been part of the show’s legacy. There’s also the issue that the film sorta feels like two stories as the beginning deals with the Rubbles getting their son Bamm-Bamm and, once this thread has been unraveled, it barely hasn’t any influence on the narrative. It’s a very strange dichotomy to have this movie have a main story involving corporate shenanigans and then have a B-story that involves adoption. Neither really felt very Flintstone-y.
|Gaze upon the face of the woman that makes our childish president get|
Visually, the film looks great because it does a tremendous job of recreating the look of the show. The costumes, the sets, and how the creatures were designed all feel lifted directly from the cartoon series. This is easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film but one that also is a little distracting. As good as everything looks, you also can’t escape that everything looks incredibly fake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting the rock creations to really look like rocks but every prop and location sorta looks like a Flintstones-theme amusement part with everything made of plastic. There are parts where I could swear I saw the seams caused from the plastic injection and molding process. On one hand, you feel like you’ve jumped directly into a television and landed in Bedrock but, on the other hand, the illusion is pretty easily destroyed when you see characters carry the “rock” items like they were made of Styrofoam.
|Speaking of fake, they couldn't get the real B-52's. Instead, they get the |
BC-52's and--oh, I just got it.
|The film even managed to nap Elizabeth Taylor|
for a role. The 90s were weird.
In addition to the overall look of the film, I really enjoyed the performances. For the time and for the product, there is no reason why anyone in the cast should have been doing their job to the best of their degree because this is essentially a kid’s film and no one would have faulted them for phoning in their performances. However, you don’t see that here at all. Instead, literally everyone is doing a tremendous job. Most notably among them is Harvey Korman doing the voice of the Dictabird (basically a prehistoric bird who will take notes for you and repeats them back), Kyle MacLachlan as the antagonist and John Goodman as Fred.
|I hear they have good coffee in Bedrock.|
Korman is very funny as the bird, MacLachlan is truly giving his all as Vandercave and Goodman (who is always awesome) really feels like a real-life version of Fred Flintstone. I don’t want to sell the rest of the cast short because I truly enjoyed them all but these three really stole the show for me. Their scenes were endlessly charming and entertaining. It was actually pretty awesome to watch MacLachlan play his role without a sense of snark but instead play it incredibly sincerely and it's just amazing watching Goodman completely nail the character of Fred.
|Fun Fact: Korman wasn't just the voice, he physically turned himself into|
the bird. He was quite the talent.
|Sure, Miss Stone can wear that to work but when|
I do it, I have to talk to HR.
Overall, my revisited experience with The Flintstones was…okay. I’m not going to say I hate the movie and I won’t say I loved it. It has some great things working for it like fun practical effects and decent computer effects for the time, the cast is outstanding, and the overall look of the film is terrific. However, it does have its fair share of drawbacks in the form of a weak story, the look of the film can sometimes look too fake and the jokes were too cheesy for me to really find humorous. One thing, though, I did find interesting was the fact there is a flat Earth joke in the feature. The joke is basically making light of how cavemen would have falsely believed the Earth to be flat and when you watch it in 2018 and realize that there are real people who stupidly believe this and deny the Earth is round, well, that puts a whole different spin on the experience.