The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette - Spotlight On Location (15:40)
Theatrical Trailer - 1.85:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:16)
Production Notes
Biographies - Cast and Crew
DVD-ROM Extras - Web Site Mirror
Notes - DVD Newsletter
Year Released 2000
Running Time 87:09 minutes
RSDL/Flipper Dual Layer
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Brian Levant
Universal Pictures
Columbia TriStar
Starring Mark Addy
Stephen Baldwin
Kristen Johnston 
Jane Krakowski
Thomas Gibson
Alan Cumming 
Harvey Korman
Joan Collins 
Case Transparent Soft Brackley
RPI $36.95 Music David Newman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No/No English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I really am compelled here to insert a very suitable warning about this film. I mean, when one of the stars is Stephen Baldwin, generally recognized (at least by me) as the most untalented of the generally mediocre Baldwin boys, you just know the film is not going to be much cop. And if the presence of said Baldwin boy was not enough of a warning, the fact that the usual logo now proudly says UniversHELL should really have you diving for the remote to stop the whole thing before it goes any further.

    Be warned. This is dire - very, very, very dire. Indeed, so dire that it really should be avoided at all costs. When this came up for review allocation, there was a resounding silence amongst the review team. On the basis that I did review the earlier film The Flintstones, I got the nod for doing this one. I think that the problem is that life in general is rarely fair, but to have to review this title is really a clear indication that not only is life not fair but that it is also has a very sick sense of humour. This is enough to drive a suicidal, manic depressant to finally commit it. Can I make it any clearer? Avoid this DVD at all costs!

    There is no real plot here at all, but what anything but laughingly passes for one is as follows. Fred Flintstone (Mark Addy) and Barney Rubble (Stephen Baldwin) are the quintessential loser bachelors in Bedrock. The height of their dreary lives is that they have just qualified to become rock quarry workers. One night they come into contact with an alien, Gazoo (Alan Cumming) who has been banished to Earth to study the mating rituals of humans. He could not have found a more unlikely pair to study. Cue one Wilma Slaghoople (Kristen Johnston), daughter of wealthy Bedrock socialites Colonel Slaghoople (Harvey Korman) and Pearl Slaghoople (Joan Collins). Wilma wants to become one of the ordinary people and in disgust of the thought of becoming her mother, she says ta-ta to erstwhile sleazy wealthy wanna-be boyfriend Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson) and heads off in search of normality in Bedrock. She lands at the local Bronto King where her waitress is one Betty O'Shale (Jane Krakowski), who in her upbeat manner takes Wilma under her wing. We now have the main characters and have to endure the story of how Barney and Betty and Fred and Wilma became two couples. Just in case you were wondering, Chip invites the four of them to his new casino in Rock Vegas as a ruse to get his Wilma back. Hence the name of the film.

   This is a fairly dire story and one can only ponder what was going through the minds of the gurus at Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios when they approved this piece of manure for production. The only thing remotely saving this from inclusion in my list of worst films of all time is the presence of Kristen Johnston and Jane Krakowski. Indeed, had any sense been applied to the making of this film, they should have forgotten everything else and just let these two do anything they wanted to do - at least the eye candy value would have made up for the direness of this film. Funnily enough, Jane Krakowski makes a far, far better Betty than did Rosie O'Donnell in the original film. The rest of the cast here, though, are not as well cast as in the original. Now if they really want to resurrect the franchise in live action film (and pray to god that the madman Brian Levant is not let loose on it) just cast John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins and Rick Moranis with Jane Krakowski and things would really improve. Since Stephen Baldwin cannot act to save his life, nothing was expected from him and that was precisely what we get to see - nothing worthwhile watching. Indeed, he single-handedly manages to drag the film into even deeper manure and destroys the Barney Rubble character in the process. Mark Addy probably wonders why he ever got involved with this effort and it is another example of his big break into Hollywood being a complete flop - which I might add was not his fault as I doubt that anyone, not even Laurence Olivier, could have done anything with this screenplay. And please pray that they remove Brian Levant from any further projects involving The Flintstones.

   All in all, an eminently avoidable film that single-handedly has managed to destroy The Flintstones as a live action franchise. About the only thing that could have been worse about this film is if they had let Jan De Bont or Joel Schumacher loose on it. One rather telling comment by Alan Cumming in the featurette is that he has never worked on a film where they so assiduously chased him to play a role and then proceeded to cover as much of him as possible with plastic and make up. He should consider himself the lucky one- he at least has a fair chance of walking away from this disaster with a reputation intact as he is less likely to be recognized! If you really have to have The Flintstones in live action form, the earlier film is a much, much better proposition overall.

Transfer Quality


    And in accordance with that old theorem, this dire film has been given a very good transfer. You really have to wonder why Amblin Entertainment and Universal put this much effort into this piece of dross and yet far worthier films from the same source remain sadly missing from the DVD release sheets, both in Region 4 and in Region 1.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced, and a fine transfer it is too with barely a blemish on it to detract from the "enjoyment".

    Just like the earlier film, great effort has gone into bringing the cartoonish elements to the screen and thankfully we have once again gotten a transfer that gives the film every chance to shine. Generally this is a very sharp and very nicely detailed transfer. There is no great indication of edge enhancement here and the effort in some of the props is brought to notice in the very well-detailed transfer. Shadow detail is very good throughout and there really are no complaints here about the level of detail and clarity brought to the transfer. There is no problem with grain in the transfer, and there is no issue either with low level noise.

    Naturally enough, given the cartoon origins of the franchise, this is a visual feast as far as colour goes - especially once Rock Vegas is hit. Whilst there could perhaps have been a degree more vibrancy in the colours overall, and certainly more depth to the tones in the earlier Bedrock scenes, I doubt that too many would find much to complain about here. There are some really nice deep tones on offer here and the overall saturation is tending towards the well-saturated end of the scale without any oversaturation issues. Colour bleed does not appear to be an issue.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, and the only real complaint here is that a couple of pan shots seemed to just lose a bit of resolution. The most obvious instance is around 37:20 when Dino is trying to escape from the tree he is chained to. There did not appear to be any film-to-video artefacts in the transfer apart from one barely noticeable instance of jitter at around 69:05. Apart from a couple of odd, but barely noticeable, flecks, this was basically free from any film artefacts at all.

    In the absence of noting any layer change during the film, I am presuming that this is a Dual layer formatted DVD with the film on one layer and the extras on the other.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. A very brief sampling of the German soundtrack encouraged me to stick with the default English soundtrack here.

    The dialogue here was nice and bright, and very easy to understand, although not entirely natural-sounding (funny that, given the cartoon origins). There did not appear to be any significant audio sync problems at all.

    The original music score comes from the same source as for the original film - David Newman. In keeping with the original film, it is not an especially memorable effort, but within the context of the cartoon origins of the show is a reasonably supportive effort. However, the musical highlight would have to be a rather sexy sounding interpretation of Viva Rock Vegas from Ann-Margret.

    I have to say that the soundtrack was overall just a tad disappointing. Whilst there is nothing really wrong with what we have been given, I really would have thought that such a recent film would have been a little more dynamic, especially in the surround channels. To be honest I felt the soundtrack was just a little flat. I was sort of expecting a bit more action out of the rear channels and a slightly better front soundscape. Still, it is very clear and certainly the bass channel comes to the party well, when it was required to anyway.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A reasonable package of extras is on offer here, but certainly indicating that this is no Collector's Edition.


    A suitably manic cartoonish look to them, that suits the film well enough. Some minor audio enhancement to the main menu only, whilst all menus are 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Spotlight On Location (15:40)

    A fairly typical extended promotional package for the film with some interview material and some behind-the-scenes footage interspersing some footage from the film itself. Presented in a Full Frame format (apart from the film extracts that are in their correct 1.85:1 ratio) with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, it is not 16x9 enhanced. Decent but not much more at all, and certainly not something that will get repeated viewings.

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

    Another fairly typical example of modern film promotion, with a few bits in the trailer that are not in the film by the looks of it. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing much wrong with it except the colours are much more muted than the actual film itself.

Production Notes

    Apart from the fact that they are difficult to read in the font style and colour used, decently comprehensive but not in the same league as the best that Universal has to offer.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

    Apart from the fact that they are difficult to read in the font style and colour used, they are brief and provide very limited filmographies. Should have been a lot better.

Notes - DVD Newsletter

    Basically an invitation to go to the web site and register for an email newsletter. Quite what use a presumably Region 1 newsletter would be to Region 4 consumers I don't know, but presumably some will get some use out of it.

DVD-ROM Content

    A pox on the stuff, and owing to computer accessibility problems, it almost looked like I would get away without checking it out. Alas, luck ran out again and so I had no choice but to throw this into the DVD-ROM and see what came out. After the obligatory firing up what on this occasion was a much more friendly PCFriendly interface, we are confronted with a main menu which comprises an animated themed menu above the usual direct link buttons to Universal DVD, Universal Home Video, Universal Pictures and Universal Studios, plus the play movie option. Wandering your mouse across the animated picture reveals the following options:
Behind The Scenes
    Basically a bunch of expanded production notes presented in a scrolling fashion (just linger your mouse pointer over the relevant arrow) under the headings of About The Movie, Locations, Art Department, Sets, Make Up and Creatures. The scrolling is quite slow so if you read quickly you are in trouble. Honestly, why this is DVD-ROM content and not just done as part of the normal production notes on the DVD itself, I do not know. Hugely exciting - not.
    This enables you to install on your computer a screensaver and a Dino desk pal, download ten Flintstones icons to replace you boring Windows default icons with, select four different wallpapers (in two resolutions each) with a Flintstones theme and install a rather unique Flintstones themed browser. The screensaver is not much cop at all, starting out with a flying pterodactyl and becoming a car with the four main cast members driving down a road past the odd sign or two. It was soon deleted from the computer. The Dino desk pal is a little more exciting and falls into the cute category. As desk pals do, it just moves around your desktop looking very cute. It stays on the computer. The wallpapers are not much cop either, with only one (of Betty and Wilma at Bronto King) being really worthwhile. If you are into icons, then I suppose these will seem less boring for a little while, if you can be bothered going to the trouble to configure their use. The browser is mildly interesting but note that you have to register to be able to use it (hence the reason why bull**** is now a registered user of it) and it basically takes you directly to the web site which duplicates most if not all of the stuff on the DVD. It has already bitten the dust on my computer but the younger set might find it amusing.
Slot Machine Game
    Exactly what it says - you have three clams, you feed them into the slot machine (one clam gets you three pulls on the arm) and if the program feels like being generous you win a few more clams or otherwise end up bust. If you run out of clams, just reset and you get your three back. About as exciting as watching caterpillars crawl up the Empire State Building.
    Very short bunch of notes about the shocking story, presented in a scrolling fashion just like the Behind The Scenes stuff. Same comments apply as with the Behind The Scenes notes.
    Just another presentation in DVD-ROM form of the same theatrical trailer and featurette already seen on the DVD itself. Therefore very much a pointless inclusion.
    Another pointless inclusion, trying to generate registration to the newsletter.
Photo Gallery
    Another completely pointless inclusion, comprising eight very small photos extracted from the film. You might need to get the binoculars out to see the photos though.
Cast and Filmmakers
    A slightly expanded version of that on the DVD, presented in scrolling fashion - begging the question as to why those on the DVD are not better than they are and causing one to ponder why such items need to be included as DVD-ROM content anyway.

R4 vs R1

    It would appear that the Region 4 release misses out on:     It would appear that the Region 1 release misses out on:     Since the reviews I checked out seem to indicate a reasonably similarity with the video and Dolby Digital audio transfers between the two Regions, but indicate that the DTS 5.1 soundtrack is a better effort than the Dolby Digital soundtrack, if you really do need the film, I would suggest that the marginal call is in favour of Region 1. However, you really would be best advised to indulge your DVD fancy in some other film.


    The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas is a dire film on a technically good DVD. If you like dire films but technically good DVDs, then this is right up your alley. However the rest of us who watch films for enjoyment are well advised to give this a wider berth than Maralinga on a nuclear test day. The DVD-ROM content looks good in presentation but the actual quality of the content is quite poor. Not at all a good way to start the new millennium as far as DVD reviewing is concerned, but at least it can only get better from here, and you would be surprised how much classier the package looks when you ditch the faux Amaray case the DVD comes in and use a genuine Amaray in its stead.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
6th January 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL