By Chaz Lipp
The first new Flintstones film in some 14 years, The Flintstones and WWE – Stone Age Smackdown is more of an (almost) hour-long special than a feature film. It only runs 52 minutes and still manages to feel a bit padded. That said, fans of either the “modern Stone Age family” or WWE (preferably both) might want to check it out as it can be owned on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD on March 10, 2015. Real WWE superstars provide the voices for their animated counterparts, including John Cena (as John Cenastone), Daniel Bryan (as Daniel Bryrock), The Bella Twins (as Nikki and Brie Boulder), and recent retiree CM Punk (as CM Punkrock).
Warner Bros. Animation previously teamed up last year with WWE Studios for Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery. That production, which in fact was actually full feature-length, boasted a relatively inventive plot. On the other hand, the plot of Stone Age Smackdown is threadbare and predictable. Fred (voiced by Jeff Bergman) is expecting his boss Mr. Slate (John O’Hurley) to front him some much-needed cash so he can take Wilma (Tress MacNeille), Pebbles (Russi Taylor), and Bamm-Bamm (Eric Bauza) on vacation. Once Fred discovers how much the residents of Bedrock enjoy watching one person pummel the daylights out of another, he invents professional wrestling.
Seeing Fred Flintstone all duded up as he becomes a sports entertainment impresario overnight is fun for awhile. So is seeing poor old Barney Rubble (Kevin Michael Richardson, varying quite a bit from the standard Barney voice) stuck in the ring, facing off against Stone Age wrestling stars. But it starts to get old pretty quickly. There’s actually another Scooby-Doo!/WWE crossover movie on the way. If Warner Bros. wants to maintain similar interest in Flinstones/WWE films, they need to step up the creativity level.
Griping about the plot (or lack thereof) aside, the Blu-ray presentation is eye-poppingly colorful. This is the first all-new Flintstones film produced during the high definition era and it definitely shows. The audio is offered as a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix that also helps usher Fred, Barney, and the gang into the modern age of home video presentation.
Helping to compensate for the short running time, the Blu-ray contains two new featurettes: “The Superstars of Fred Flintstone Entertainment (FFE)” (ten minutes) and “How to Be a Stone Age Superstar” (five minutes). These feature interview clips with the animation team and also some of the real WWE stars. There are also two vintage episodes of The Flintstones: “The Engagement Ring” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (26 minutes each).
The Flintstones and WWE – Stone Age Smackdown Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a standard DVD and Digital Copy.
The Flintstones and WWE Stone Age Smackdown Images: Warner Bros. and WWE Studios