What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will hear some mild cursing and see plenty of cartoon violence. Faithful to the original, this movie also contains references to sex, plus onscreen drinking and smoking. There is also plenty of 1950s-style stereotyping of men and women both. Female characters are either housewives or sexpots. Men drink, bowl, attend lodge meetings, and are putty in the hands of non-wife sexpots. However, it is worth noting that the theme of personal sacrifice to help one's friends is stressed throughout the movie.
What's the story?
Fred Flintstone is promoted to corporate executive, then framed for embezzlement in this live-action version of the popular cartoon series. Flintstone (John Goodman) and Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) work in the rock quarries of the prehistoric town of Bedrock. Fred loans Barney money from his and Wilma's (Elizabeth Perkins) savings account so Barney and Betty (Rosie O'Donnell) can adopt a child. Meanwhile, creepy executive Cliff Vandercave plans to promote one of his quarry workers to vice president, using an aptitude test to find a suitable candidate. Fred gets the promotion, with a little help from Barney. Unfortunately, it's all a setup. Vandercave plans to frame the new VP in an embezzlement scheme, and Fred's growing egotism at this promotion causes a rift between the former best pals -- especially when Fred is forced to fire Barney. Can the two make up in time to prevent Fred from going to jail, and get Barney his job back?
Is it any good?
Live-action versions of cartoon hits should be approached with caution; if an idea works well as a cartoon, it's unlikely to have the same impact in live action, and vice versa. THE FLINTSTONES actually makes the transition reasonably smoothly, thanks to clever casting and an eclectic display of wacky creatures (computer-generated and puppets). Much of the original series' humor, faithfully recreated here, stems from the fact that the Stone Age world had primitive versions of modern conveniences. Some of these gags, however, are more grotesque when not in cartoon form, but many kids will find this outlandish humor funny.
But Barney and Betty's attempts to adopt a baby, their subsequent financial troubles, and management vs. labor subplots are too serious and at odds with the absurd tone of the rest of the movie. Nevertheless, most kids will enjoy the preposterous world of The Flintstones. The prequel, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, is even better for kids, retaining this movie's virtues, but eliminating the dour elements.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about movie remakes and nostalagia. Why make a movie that essentially reproduces a cartoon most popular when many of today's parents were children? Do you think it's harder or easier than creating new characters, new themes, new stories? Is there an element of safety in remaking a once-popular movie or TV series?