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The Flintstones

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Flintstones

Starring: John Goodman, Rick Moranis
Director: Brian Levant
Rated: PG
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: May 1994
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Jean Vander Pyl, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O'Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry, Dann Florek, Richard Moll, Jonathan Winters

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

These days, we are witnessing the deluge of films based on old, cult TV shows. Most of the times, the fans of these shows shudder thinking what could Hollywood hacks of the present do with the memories of their past. But, some five or six years ago, there weren't that many movies and the trend didn't look that depressing. So, the people who, like the author of this review, grew up watching FLINTSTONES, popular 1960s animated series about "modern Stone Age" family, weren't particularly worried when the word came about live action remake. After all, the producer behind the project was Steven Spielberg and, if anything else, at least the special effects would be good.

The plot revolves about Flintstones, family set in fictious Stone Age "town" of Bedrock, whose members enjoy the lifestyle of 1950s middle class America. Fred Flinstone (John Goodman) works in the quarry, and one day he helps his best friend and neighbour Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) and his wife Betty (Rosie O'Donnell) to adopt a baby. To return the favour, Barney switches his results of aptitude test with Fred, and, based on that, Fred gets well-paid job in management. But, of course, this is just a sham - corrupt official Cliff Vandercave (Kyle MacLachlan) and his sultry secretary Sharon Stone (Halle Berry) need a scapegoat for their embezzlement scheme. In the meantime, Fred's wife Wilma (Elizabeth Perkins) must face her mother (Elizabeth Taylor) who can't stand Fred.

On the superficial level, THE FLINTSTONES did the excellent job in bringing the animated series to life. Computer effects are flawless, and the costumes, settings and other details are authentic for all the fans of the show. Unfortunately, problems with this film start with inadequate casting - Rick Moranis is too thin for the role of Barney, while the cartoon Betty used to be much skinnier than Rosie O'Donnell. But the greatest problem of all is plot, or to be precise, the lack of plot. Some thirty six screenwriters made sure that the plot of the film is lame, original characters one-dimensional, and many elements of the story, like embezzlement and inter-office politics, totally incomprehensible for the little children, the main targeted audience of this film. Result is almost unwatchable mess, occasionally saved mostly by excellent acting (Elizabeth Perkins was right on mark as Wilma) and one of the classic example of mortal Hollywood disease known as "high concept". After great hype, movie quickly sank into oblivion and the fans of the show returned to the animated version. All in all, film isn't that bad, but only the hard core fans and nostalgics can find more than guilty pleasure in it.

Copyright 1999 Dragan Antulov

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