Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
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Critic Reviews for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
[It's] in the best tradition of Disney -- and even better than that, because it is not so juvenile that adults won't be thoroughly entertained.
Though it relies on special effects, this cutie-pie caper never loses sight of the protagonists amid the bigger-than-life Cheerios and 40-foot blades of grass.
The special effects are all there, nicely in place, and the production values are sound, but the movie is dead in the water.
Audience Reviews for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Could there be anything more cliched and corny than the idea of a weedy, crazy haired, spectacled, crazy inventor type nerd who's wacky creation gets out of hand? Probably not, but that didn't stop this idea becoming something of a monster hit back in the late 80's. I remember the time well, this movie was almost like the [i]Jurassic Park[/i] of the day with everyone going nuts over the special effects and innovation of the story (despite the fact the idea had been explored thoroughly during the 50's). And who better to portray this lovable geeky inventor than Rick Moranis, the man who made a career out of playing lovable geeks. The plot: Its pretty simple really. Eccentric inventor Wayne Szalinski (Moranis) manages to construct a large ray gun that is capable of shrinking objects in size. Unfortunately he is unable to perfect his machine resulting in much frustration and him being mocked at a conference. Its during said conference that Wayne's kids (and the neighbours kids) are accidentally shrunk by the ray gun which had previously been accidentally switched on by a lone baseball. Eventually Wayne and his wife Diane realise what happened and start to hunt for the shrunken kids. In the meantime the kids are in a life and death situation after being ejected into the garden and are trying to reach the safety of the house (whilst trying to grab the adults attention). The movie does start off slow as we get introduced to all the various characters; indicators for the pending adventure. Nick Szalinski is obviously much like his father, looks a bit of a nerd, scrawny, spectacles, but has brains. Amy Szalinski is the attractive, older level-headed sister of Nick. Ron is one of the Thompson kids from next door, he is a bit chunky and a bit of bully. And lastly there is Russ Thompson, older brother of Ron and again like Amy he is more level-headed and has some looks. In fact he has a crush on Amy that flourishes over the course of the movie. And of course both sets of kid have issues with their folks that cause friction at early points; which of course get addressed and ironed out during the adventure. So overall its a stereotypical little gang, no real surprises. As with many other fantasy movies the real core interest was in the adventure and how the special effects came across. I remember at the time it was hard to escape the media attention this movie got for its shrinking effects, there was a lot of hype. Looking back now its very amusing how quaint these effects look, I'm not being negative but you can't help but smirk when harking back. In general this movie was definitely a case of, certain shots and sequences would look really great...even now. But then on the other hand certain shots and sequences would look really bad...even worse now. The best moments are easily when we see the kids on oversized sets against large props; these are the classic shots that obviously hark back to certain golden oldies of the 50's. Its these shots that really sell the idea that the kids are truly microscopic. Just simple things like the texture of the wooden floor in the attic, giant toys, Cheerios, nails, screws, dust, cookies (which served as a food source) etc...Its also other small details such as a little trickle of water in the garden being a gushing river, and the odd dead insect floating around. The fact that the garden becomes a dense dangerous jungle for of all manner of hazards. It doesn't sound overly amazing or anything but its these tiny details that really sell it. I also liked how they didn't shy away from gross things like dead and scary bugs. Not all the bugs were scary though. At one point Nick accidentally rides a very obvious rubbery bumblebee after falling into a very rubbery looking nectar patch on a flower. The kids also befriend a very rubbery and limited animatronic puppet baby ant (which to them was a giant rideable creature). The ant doesn't really do much for the kids until it is called on to defend them from a scorpion (would there be scorpions in this type of garden environment?). Alas the baby ant is easily killed by the scorpion and we are presented with one of the most tear jerking moments for kids since Optimus Prime died, maybe. Yes the ant was blatantly fake looking and could hardly move...but God damn it hits you hard when the little blighter dies (sniff!). Indeed I mention rubbery items there, that is one factor that stands out a lot when looking back (probably even at the time). There are a lot of things that do look terribly rubbery or plastic. Some things look great, some things do not. The giant insects do suffer in this way I'm afraid, the giants plants also suffer in the same way. It doesn't ruin the movie but I'm just saying it does stand out. Unfortunately it doesn't help when rubbery things are accompanied with horribly dated bluescreen effects (greenscreen now). Again the bumblebee ride really suffers here as does various shots/sequences of the kids against live action actors or pets. The now famous sequence of the kids running off the dogs snout onto a table is a terrific idea but boy does it look fake in motion. When Wayne is about to eat Nick in his bowl of Cheerios, great idea, looks pretty awful now. Although the close up shots of Nick in an actual bowl of milk with giant Cheerios looks sweet. Its kinda ironic that this movie actually feels way more like a Disney theme park experience than an actual movie. The whole visual escapade seems so perfect for their theme parks it makes you wonder how no one thought of it earlier. The array of big chunky colourful props and sets, and the brilliantly geeky inventions of Szalinski such as the shrink ray gun or the 'keep off the grass' robot, all marvellously visualised by Joe Johnston and his crew. So yes this is clearly a very visual movie experience (perfect for 3D). On the flip side if we're honest, the plot is pretty shallow and the characters are simplistic and cliched. This isn't a big problem here but I think Rick Moranis saves the rather drab casting. This is just one of those roles where you can't really picture anyone else in it, hmmm...maybe Christopher Lloyd. Anyway to sum up, not quite as epic as you might recall, but certainly a good all round family romp.
Fun, adventurous, albeit a little creepy at times, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" is exactly the type of live action film that Disney knew how to do right in the 80's. It is a real shame that Rick Moranis never had that wide of a career, because his films are so much fun to watch. After accidentally being shrunk by their father's invention (the shrink ray) along with the neighbour kids whom they despise, they must trek their way across the lawn to get back to their house. Although you see the end coming from a mile away, this well-written family flick will hold you until the very end, smiling, laughing, cheering, and sending chills down your spine due to it's creepy practical effects. I loved every second of this film, even though it does helm it's fair share of cheesy moments. This cast works great together and the quirky score really elevates it. In the end, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" is a blast from the past that has rewatch-ability written all over it!
This is the story of a kooky suburban inventor who is absent minded and makes some wonderfully nutty and ridiculous inventions, his latest being a shrink ray. Things get going when his two kids and two neighbor kids accidentally get shrunk down to an approximate height of 1/4" tall and tossed out into the back yard with the garbage. From there, it becomes an adventure of epic proportions as the kids have to deal with things that normally wouldn't seem so hazardous in order to try to get their parents' attention and get brought back to normal size. Parallel to all of this is the story of the adults trying to find the kids once they realize what has happened. I first saw this as a kid and it really blew me away. It still blows me away every time I see it. Sure, it's cheesy, improbable, and really silly at times, but it's a lot of fun, has some great special effects and sets, and is rather witty and creative. It's a tad dated, and some of the jokes get played out and overdone a little much, but overall, this is a rather harmless fantasy adventure. The film isn't perfect, and nostalgia weighs heavily on my grade, but I can't help it. This is just a fine example of taking an old concept, playing around with it, and doing it in a really fun, entertaining, and funny way.
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