Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Flintstones Bara Found in WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!

So the Flintstones are back after 14 years of basically nothing. (If you blinked you would have easily missed the one and only showing of On The Rocks in 2001.)  This time around, they have teamed the characters up with WWE superstars for a decent little movie.  I got some laughs out of it.  It certainly tries to carry the spirit of the series origins.  There's an odd attempt to make the characters look like they did when the series first started. I guess since people are still trying to follow Ren & Stimpy 25 years later, they decided to keep the bizarre characters models found in On The Rocks. This exaggerated, stretchy art style first appeared on merchandise in the 90s and was refined (in a super ugly way) in On The Rocks.  The character designs have been toned down a bit since then, at least in the case of Fred and Barney.  Wilma and Betty don't fare nearly as well.  Personally I never found anything wrong with the designs the series came to find as the standard, but I appreciate the attempt on display here for the most part here. 

 Cenastone and Mysteriopal engage in a flex off.  Freds Reaction is pretty priceless.  Pretty much sums up my reaction to wrestling in general. 

I absolutely HATE the redesigns of Betty and Wilma.  Their eyes are terrible, their bodies too small and those chicken legs have to go. (Not to mention boobs on Betty just looks wrong to me and I am no prude!)

I think my biggest issue is with the voice acting.  Oh, it's not bad, but it doesn't have any of the heart, or charm of the original voice actors, or any that came afterward.  First off, is fucking Tress MacNeille the only voice actress in Hollywood? One note MacNeille knows how to do one side of Wilma Flintstone:  The sarcastic, snarky side.  There's none of the warmth, or kindness that Jean Vander Pyl brought to the character.  
Fred is voice by Jeff Allen Bergman, who has voiced Fred in the past.(Most notably in On The Rocks and Family Guy segments.)  The problem with Bergman's Fred is that he suffers from Homer Simpson Syndrome.  He's a dummy.  Sure Fred isn't the brightest bulb on the tree, but you didn't expect his every other world to DUH when Reed, or Corden voiced him  I can't help but see more Peter Griffin here, then I can see of the true Fred.  Rounding off the cast (There's no reason to mention Betty as she is given next to nothing to do anyway) is Kevin Michael Richardson doing an exaggerated imitation of early Barney.  He does a good job honestly.  The real issue I have is that all I hear is Principle Lewis every time he opens his mouth. 
I should also mention John George O'Hurley doing Mr. Slate.  It just felt so off. I kept waiting for him to call his secratery Elaine Benestone. ugh...Again, are there no other voice actors that can do a funny boss character? -_-  None of this is horrible, it's just very different from the classic show, they are are so desperately trying to convince you they are channeling. 

Check this out:

As I said, the designs of some of the characters like Hoppy are very stretchy.  When you put Hoppy in the same frame as a wrestler, which is NOT stretchy, it combines together for a very odd visual package.  Some characters wind up looking like they fell out of another cartoon altogether. I think Hoppy must have been animated by the last surviving Kennedy Cartoons artist. :P

 Like On The Rocks, there's a few off color jokes and very unFlintstone like behaviors found in this special.  Kids throw live animals to a hungry T-Rex, in a ball toss game, Barney makes comments about how hot Wilma is. (Okay that one might not be so far from the original series.)  Most uncomfortable of all though is the twincest hug between the two female wrestlers. It'll just leave you feeling icky all over. This soooooo doesn't belong in an official Flintstones product.  

Now even after saying all that, I still can really recommend this little movie. There are some really funny gags.  (Some borrowed from Looney Tunes. I guess they forgot what series they were working on.)  While I am not a wrestling fan, I know enough about it, to at least appreciate and recognize most of the cast.  The plot is nothing special, but at least it doesn't drag on long past it's welcome like some HB movies tended to do in the late 80s and early 90s.  One thing I can say without a doubt is how beautiful the backgrounds are.  The ones of the town especially capture the spirit of the first season of the show.  Fred even takes the Stonehenge highway from the original credits! 

Final Verdict?
Flintstones in the WWE Stone Age Smackdown, is a bit nasty around the edges, but it's also a fun little romp with characters we haven't seen animated in over a decade and may not see again for an even longer time.  Might as well take a trip to Bedrock and enjoy the ride.

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