Cultural Revolutions

Latest Infatuation

The Flintstones is the latest example of Hollywood's infatuation with cartoon characters. Because a cartoon is not reality, one is expected to suspend belief and therefore judgment. Ever since Mickey Mouse became a culture-hero of the young, it has been hard to know where fantasy ends and reality begins. Neither is a cartoon myth, and for that reason it does not qualify as fantasy in a literary sense. Cartoons are projections of our fancies that caricature reality. It is hard to react critically to a cartoon, because people will say: "Loosen up, it's just a cartoon."

There are many cheap thrills in the Flintstones, made possible by an expensive set production with the Spielberg talent for visual effects. Animals that do the work of machines and stone houses with ingenious utensils captivate for a few minutes, but then the story begins and one becomes mired in a silly plotline that is made even worse by the blandness of the characters.

The tale starts with Fred, played by John Goodman, coming home to Wilma, played by Elizabeth Perkins, who is too attractive and sexy for the role. A fight ensues when Wilma confronts Fred over the disappearance of their savings. Fred, hostile at first, wilts under a little pressure from Wilma and reveals that he has given their savings to the Rubbles so they can adopt a child. Wilma forgives Fred because of his sacrifice for their friends. Barney vows to...

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