Starring: John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Taylor
Director: Brian Levant
Running Time: 90 mins
The Flintstones is an American film, based on the classic TV show, about the modern stone age family, where dim-witted Fred Flintstone finds himself receiving an unexpected promotion, turning his and his friends’ lives upside down.
Some TV shows work when they’re put on the big screen, and some don’t. Some cartoons work when put into live-action, and some don’t. This is both of those things, and it really doesn’t work. With a terrible plot, very average performances, horrific special effects and a general lack of fun, this is a film that will disappoint you even more than you could imagine.
Firstly, if you’re a fan of the original TV show, you can take some comfort in the fact that this is pretty loyal to the format and feel of it. However, in live-action (and over 90 minutes), it’s still really bad. Far too much of the film is focussed on showing cartoonish things in live-action, but it comes off as ridiculously forced and more annoying than comical.
What’s more is that the special effects, again intended to almost identically mirror the show, are horrible. It’s interesting that, in recent years, we’ve been asking for a return to practical effects over CGI, however this should serve as a reminder of how bad practical effects can be.
In a movie full of heavy stone and rocks, you’d think that you’d at least get the feel of that, but the terrible effects are so flimsy, and the sets so obviously fake that it’s one of the weakest cartoon adaptations you’ll ever have to look at.
The plot in itself is nothing to rave about either. In keeping with a family-friendly feel, it’s all very simple, however many other films have proven that being family-friendly doesn’t have to be a hindrance. In this case, however, the story is totally predictable, frustrating and dull throughout, whilst the terrible screenplay provides no laughs whatsoever, making for a thoroughly boring watch.
Finally, the performances are very average here. They’re possibly the best part of the film, but that’s really not saying much. In the lead role as Fred Flintstone, John Goodman isn’t horrible, he puts a good bit of energy into the character (although the cartoon has way more), but it’s nothing to write home about. There are worse performances, though, particularly Rick Moranis as Barney Rubbles, who seems confused about what’s actually going on half the time, and, rather shockingly, Elizabeth Taylor as Fred’s mother-in-law.
Surely making the great Liz Taylor a disappointment suggests how bad the screenplay really is, and that gives the actors a bit of a break, but on the whole, this is a really bad cartoon adaptation that fails to make you laugh at all, or even care one bit about its stupid, tedious story.