Plot: What’s it about?
We all know the (mis)adventures of Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty once they crossed the threshold of marriage, but we’ve never gotten an in depth look at how things arrived at that point. Now we can watch as it all comes together, from before the couples had even met all the way to their trip to the newly opened Rock Vegas. Fred (Mark Addy) and Barney (Stephen Baldwin) have just gotten their dream jobs in Slade’s new rock quarry and now they have their whole lives in front of them. They have a nice trailer with the fixings and seem to be happy enough, but after an encounter with The Great Gazoo (Alan Cumming), they find themselves longing for female companions. Gazoo needs to observe the courting & mating rituals on this planet and as such, he prods the two “dum dums” to seek out some ladies of their own. Meanwhile socialite Wilma (Kristen Johnson) has just left her comfortable mansion to wander the streets of Bedrock, where she meets waitress Betty (Jane Krakowski) and the two strike up a friendship. All four soon meet up at the drive thru cafe where Betty works and sure enough, they’ve already set up a double date. But with Wilma’s cranky mother (Joan Collins) and her ex-boyfriend (Thomas Gibson) on their trail, as well as a trip to Rock Vegas on the horizon, can these two couples manage to make their love blossom?
This film has been bashed a lot and for the life of me, I can’t understand why. Sure this isn’t high level intellectual material, but who would expect that from a Flintstones movie? I went into this movie expecting fantastic production design and some goofy laughs, which is exactly what this film delivers. I think this holds the same entertainment value of the original film and even with the new cast, this one delivers the goods in the humor department. The dialogue seems dead on with what you’d find the series, which is more than enough for me. The overall tone is light and humorous and if you ask me, that’s how this film should be. I can understand how some would be let down with the cast change, but this is every bit as entertaining as the original and the series. Sure it’s campy and goofy, but that’s the way it should be. Universal has issued a fine disc for this movie, with dual Dolby Digital and DTS tracks, a slew of extras, and a terrific visual transfer. If you liked the series and the original film, then give this disc a look and I think you’ll have fun with the film and extras.
Returning as director from the first Flintstones movie is Brian Levant, who certainly knows his stuff when it comes to this series. Levant is a massive Flintstones fan and it shows in these movies, with attention to detail being simply amazing. This film captures the feel of the television series well and though the original boasted a better cast, Levant still delivers a terrific stone age comedy with The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas. Levant knows his trade to be sure and fans of the series should be pleased with his second film based in Bedrock. Levant also helmed such films as The Flintstones, Problem Child 2, Jingle All The Way, and Beethoven. The four main cast members here are Mark Addy, Kristen Johnson (Tv’s Third Rock From The Sun), Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects), and Jane Krakowski (Tv’s Ally McBeal), all of whom turn in solid performances. Addy (The Full Monty, Jack Frost) plays Fred well and though John Goodman seemed perfect in the first film, no flaws emerge in Addy’s turn. The others are good also and manage to capture their characters well, which I had doubts about. The cast also includes Thomas Gibson (Far And Away), Joan Collins (The Flintstones), Alan Cumming (Titus), Harvey Corman (Herbie Goes Bananas), and Taylor Negron (The Stoned Age).
Video: How does it look?
The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Once again Universal has issued a tremendous day & date transfer, one that should please fans of this film to no end. This is a bright and richly colored film and this transfer makes them look fantastic, with vibrant shades and no bleeds, smears, or other color errors present. Contrast is smooth as silk, with no detail loss and accurate shadow layering at all times. The source print looks clean and free from dirt and debris, while compression flaws remain at a minimum also. Universal has done it again and let’s hope they continue to do so in the future.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc contains dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound tracks and whichever you choose, you’re in for an audio treat. I listen to both tracks and compared certain scenes, which leads to believe these two are about a dead heat in the end. Either one would make a fine choice, but the DTS handles the music a little better and the Dolby Digital seems cleaner and a little more active. In either case, the surrounds see plenty of action and the elements sound terrific. The sound effects come through well, the music sounds great, and the dialogue is crisp and audible at all times. It’s win/win situation and that’s just fine with me.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the usual production notes, cast/crew information, and theatrical trailer, but it also houses a nice behind the scenes featurette. This fifteen minute piece uses cast & crew interviews and behind the scenes footage, as well as clips from the film, to give us a peek inside the production. It’s brief, but it does offer some insight. I think the documentary on the first film’s disc could also provide some insight for Flintstones fans, so don’t miss it either.