* THE FLINTSTONES-If the filmmakers' goal was to remain faithful to the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon, they've succeeded. For a while, the pure audacity of the concept provides for giddy fun, as we marvel at how the town of Bedrock has been re-created in all its Stone Age splendor. It's all here, straight from the cartoon to live-action: the foot-driven cars, the prehistoric animals serving as household appliances, and the overanxious pet, Dino.
The movie's appeal is mostly visual, and adult viewers may tire of the endless puns involving rocks and stones. A modest plot has been devised, involving Fred's promotion to executive in order to serve as a dupe for the embezzlement schemes of his boss, but it's little more than serviceable.
John Goodman was born to play Fred. Goodman calls to mind Jackie Gleason in the breadth of his talent, and ``The Flinstones'' is basically a cartoon version of ``The Honeymooners.'' Watching the massive Goodman leap into the air and yell ``Yabba-Dabba-Doo'' will delight baby boomers and adolescents alike. Rick Moranis (Barney Rubble), Elizabeth Perkins (Wilma), and Rosie O'Donnell (Betty Rubble) round out the cast. Elizabeth Taylor, making a rare screen appearance, shows up as Fred's mother-in-law.
The movie was produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and directed by Brian Levant, with hefty technical and production support from Hanna-Barbera, George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop. (Rated PG).