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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Flintstones (1994)


Starring: John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O'Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry and Elizabeth Taylor
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: U
Release Date: 15 February 2016

After an aptitude test mix-up, Fred Flintstone trades his job as a Slate & Company Bronto-crane operator for a vice presidency. But there’s trouble brewing in Bedrock: An evil executive and his sinister secretary are now plotting to use Fred as the fall guy in an embezzlement scheme...

The Flintstones (1994) is a live action movie based on the '60s animated cartoon series of the same name. It stars John Goodman as Fred; Rick Moranis as Barney, Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma, Rosie O'Donnell as Betty, Kyle MacLachlan as Slate and Co. Senior Executive Cliff Vandercave, Halle Berry as Slate and Co. secretary Miss Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor as Wilma's mother, Pearl Slaghoople.

To his credit, Goodman is probably the only person who could have played Fred Flintstone and he does an impressive job of trying to capture the voice talents of the cartoon's Fred (Alan Reed). In fact the entire cast do well to bring their characters to life with very similar vocal characteristics to the originals. Maybe the only questionable casting is O'Donnell as Betty Rubble. When I was younger, watching The Flintstones TV series reruns (I wasn't even born when it was originally broadcast), I preferred Betty to Wilma and part of the comedy in the Rubble household was that Barney was a short, plain looking man who was married to a beautiful and intelligent woman who was clearly out of his league. O'Donnell and Moranis could so easily be a normal couple and all of the potential comedy of the mismatched pairing is absent from the movie.

It's also obvious that the movie was a labour of love for all involved and that as many gags and in jokes from the TV show have been neatly shoehorned into the film. So we have great sets and props (especially the Flintstones cars) as well as Flintstones' authentic animal gags (like the bird record player and frog office practice golf putting machine). But then when you pick away at the plot you soon realise there isn't really much to hang all this fancy work onto.

Extras include Discovering Bedrock: The Making of The Flintstones (41 min, 28 sec making of feature); Feature Commentary with Director Brian Levant (which is packed to the rafters with interesting information, including the fact that originally, due to budget issues, they were planning to bring Dino to life by having a guy in a suit - but that was quickly scrapped as it looked terrible. Levant also points out when the numerous guest cameos are on screen (including both William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who were the creators of the original series; as well as Jean Vander Pyl who voiced Wilma in the original show); Production Photographs (8 min, 21 sec slide show); Art Department Concept Sketches (6 min, 11 sec slide show); and Opening Sequence Comparisons (58 sec which shows the opening of the movie next to the opening of the cartoon show to illustrate how close they got to bringing this sequence to life. We also get Cast and Filmmakers (text based) and Production Notes (text based) as well as Theatrical Trailer (1 min, 44 sec) and the original Teaser Trailer (which is the Karaoke version of the main title).

No, it's not a highbrow, art house movie... but then you'd be a buffoon for thinking it was going to be. While there's little in the way to keep adults happy, the youngest members of the family should get a lot of enjoyment out of this, even if the embezzlement storyline will go over their heads.

Good acting and the wonderful sets are sadly let down by a paper thin script.


Nick Smithson

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