Retro Review: Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

Written: April 28, 2000

Can a re-cast and a new setting help the Flintstones sequel overcome its predecessor’s faults?

This Flintstones sequel chronicles the early years of Fred and Wilma as they meet, fall in love and wing their way to the “modern Stone Age vacation destination” Rock Vegas.

The best way to describe “Viva Rock Vegas” is that it is an almost complete rehash of the first one. When I do think of the first one I remembered the world they lived in was such a beautiful setup for a cute movie. With the studio doing their best to cast look-a-likes from Hollywood, the movie had so much potential.

The first one starred John Goodman as Fred, Rick Moranis as Barney, Elisabeth Perkins as Wilma and Rosie O’Donnell as Betty. But what seemed to destroy what could have been a very cute movie was the thought that Hollywood actually needed a villain with a very complicated plan.

Why can’t they revisit what is supposed to inspire the film? In the original series we had plots that always put Fred and Barney in “fish-out-of-water” type situations. Or they faced villains who were more of a simpleton then they were. These are apart of the magic of what makes cartoons so great.

When I think of these complicated plots that make up the tail end of the Flintstones movies, it kind of reminds me of other cartoons and what would happen if other cartoon characters were put through this treatment.

Imagine Scooby and Shaggy starring in “Wall Street” or “Pulp Fiction”. You might hear Shaggy say, “Oh Gee, Scoob it looks like Microsoft dropped another ten points today.” Or maybe “You see Scoob it’s a called a Royale with Cheese!!” It just doesn’t fit but it does make a wonderful pitch to a studio.

Don’t get me wrong the new film does have something going for it. I really liked the recast of Betty. Jane Krakowski of Ally MacBeal fame really did bring the allure needed to flesh out Betty. She is a far cry from Rosie O’ Donnell and a whole lot better Betty. Even though these characters are quite cardboard and have no depth I did kind of miss John Goodman or Elisabeth Perkins as the stars.

I know a lot of people are going to have a problem with Stephen Baldwin playing Barney. I am not sure who dreamed that casting up. Baldwin has to be the miss cast of the film.

By far the best part of this Flintstones tale was the beautiful recreation of the Great Gazoo.

It was amazing how exactly pure Gazoo was to his cartoon counter-part. Alan Cumming played Gazoo perfectly.

The scenes which starred Gazoo against Fred were so close to the chemistry in the series that I wish the whole film could have held that momentum.

It would have been grand to see Goodman face off against Gazoo.

If you go see this movie, go for Gazoo.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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