The Incredible Shrinking Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Incredible Shrinking Man Reviews

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February 4, 2017
Classic 50s sci fi, the best in my opinion.
½ January 10, 2017
Late Mid Century Science Fiction at its finest...I cannot imagine thinking about film making and special effects in current cinema, without recalling The Incredible Shrinking Man. But aside from special effects which were advanced at the time; it's Allegory which is actually the heart of this production !
October 21, 2016
While slightly campy by today's standards, The Incredible Shrinking Man brings impressive practical effects and a strong message.
October 18, 2016
Borderline masterpiece. The effects are somewhat dated, but still wonderfully effective. It trails off in the third act, but the first two are too powerful to ignore. Some strong dialogue. Incredible allegory! Not for arachnophobes.á
½ August 15, 2016
Despite my love for Richard Mattheson, his script is occasionally laughably overwrought. This bleak, existentialist scifi film has aged remarkably well, special effects and all. If you can move past the long, dull, grey, dialogueless shots, you'll enjoy this film immensely. Arachnophobes beware: there are long, horrific scenes of giant spider battles.
July 15, 2016
Played dead straight, and then narrated like an elongated episode of The Twilight Zone, this oscillating adaptation breathes both life and doom into Richard Matheson's popular novel.
The film's kitsch experiments with depth of field, rear projection, superimposition and oversized props are charming to the modern eye, but the special effects are dwarfed by allure of the film's experimental and ever-changing tone. The Incredible Shrinking Man switches from bitter emasculation to live-action Tom & Jerry, and then from sincere survivalism to obscure semi-documentary.
The message? Avoid pesticides, insecticides and nuclear haze.
½ June 6, 2016
The Incredible Shrinking Man has a fun premise, a pleasant emotional as well as dramatic tone to it, some very memorable action sequences and an interesting ending, but that ending was still odd, some of the action is too prolonged and dull and the film has an excessive use of narration. It is a solid, but very flawed sci-fi film.
January 26, 2016
A Landmark in science fiction cinema. It shure has some plot holes and minor flaws, but it's still a very enjoyable film even today. A great Exercise in especial effects for the age being. It starts as a pretty standard 50's adventure film, but slowly builds philosophical arguments towards the end, wich i found really interesting, changes from a battle towards adversity to a battle towards oneself, towards acceptance of death, or more accurately, acceptance of the unknown.
January 18, 2016
Sci fi 50s pinnacle moment. Ponder your atomic destiny in the final scene. A teenage turning point for me
November 4, 2015
An existential case study of the infinitesimal becoming the infinite in a pulpy easy-to-swallow package. A film that is, ironically, larger than the sum of its parts.
October 20, 2015
Very fun and creative adventure film from the 50s. With some pretty decent effects (minus occasional blue screening) with its giant sets and props. Watch it!!
August 15, 2015
The Incredible Shrinking Man's visuals, needless to say, are visibly dated by today's standards, but one can tell that for it's time they were innovatively mind-blowing. Packed with a tight 80 minute run time, this has a creative, involving story with natural performances, a likable lead, brisk pacing, a fitting and goosebump-inducing arachnophobic antagonist and bittersweet finale. The Incredible Shrinking Man is genuinely fun, and highly recommendable to anyone craving a throwback to the classic days of genuine, clean cinema.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2015
Not to be confused with the 1981 movie 'The Incredible Shrinking Woman' which was a spin on the original novel 'The Shrinking Man' by Richard Matheson. Or the horror movie 'The Incredible Melting Man' (1977), which is completely different and umm...sounds kinda the same, never mind.

Jack Arnold does it again with his fourth classic fantasy movie, this guy was like the Spielberg of the 50's...kinda. Now the plot here may sound ridiculous, like some corny TV series, hell look at that title. And to a degree you'd be right, this is a totally daft premise, who in their right mind would watch a movie about some guy becoming the size of a small insect, like...say an ant...oh wait.

Whilst out sailing on the seas with his wife, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is unfortunately hit in the face by a mysterious white cloud that leaves his body covered in some shiny substance. Naturally this cloud and substance was radioactive being a 1950's American sci-fi movie, but we never find out where it came from and what caused it. To make matters worse, the seriously unlucky Carey also gets accidentally covered in insecticide months later which apparently sets of a reaction in his body (with the radiation) where by his molecular structure is rearranged causing his cells to shrink his body? Beats the snot outta me but its sounds scientific doesn't it, in other words he starts to shrink and it can't be stopped.

At first we spend a lot of time following Carey around as he gets tested by a typical professor type in a white lab coat. There is a lot of dialog and discussion between the characters about what's going on, what may happen and how they can try to stop it, sounds dull but its quite interesting and all very charming. The fun starts as we slowly start to see Carey get smaller bit by bit. This is where the brilliant use of oversized props is used to give the illusion Carey is actually getting smaller.

Now this being a black and white movie from the 50's you could be forgiven for thinking this movie would be extremely hokey. But guess what? this movie isn't hokey at all, well...not as bad as you would think, its still cheesy of course. First up the effects, the movie is of course all about the effects, and they look fantastic. Arnold and co use all the old tricks in the book with the use of rear projection, props, split screen and models. The striking thing is the oversized props for everyday common objects (large and small) are fabulously recreated. Initial things like a chair, phone, sofa, even windows, skirting boards and sockets, everything has been resized to give the illusion Carey is around the height of a small child (3ft-ish). Funny thing is, this simple illusion really works and its actually hard to visualise the character as a fully grown man, the resized props really sell the trick.

As Carey gets smaller things become even more exciting, I found myself really looking forward to what might happen next, what we will see and how small he gets. Of course when he starts living out of a dolls house, well that's when the hokey looking rear projection pops up, the cat attacks him, people walking past him, the spider in the basement, water etc...Speaking of the spider, that has to be the biggest and most eagerly awaited fear, I've never seen this movie before, but I just knew there would be a spider confrontation in the basement, what else would there be? Strangely enough it turns out to be a tarantula again, where exactly in America do these people live that tarantulas are commonly found in and around the house? Of course its obviously because tarantulas can be relatively easily controlled, probably much harder or nigh on impossible with an actual house spider (or black widow as in the original novel, bit dangerous probably).

Once Carey is trapped within the basement (after fleeing the cat), the movie virtually becomes a silent picture. As there is no one for Carey to communicate with, there is no dialog, apart from the odd bit of narration. What you see is the eternal struggle for survival by a regular human being, as if he was lost in the wilderness or a distant barren planet. Arnold conveys this idea perfectly through simple visuals, simple (but wonderfully detailed) props, and mundane simple tasks for the main character (acted out very well by Williams I might add). Basically he needs to eat, drink and sleep, so he finds an old matchbox to sleep in, he drinks from drips of water coming from the water heater, and he finds food from a mouse trap and an old piece of cake (I think it was). He's only in his own basement, but to Carey, at his size, its an inhospitable and dangerous world.

This movie was extremely ambitious for its day and it shows in almost every scene with an effect. Even by today's high levels of special effects this movie still stands up well, incredibly well. The models are all purely awesome in every way, I was stunned at how good they all looked, especially the large mousetrap and scissors. The optical illusions to make Williams look shorter are simple yet highly effective even today, the large props work so perfectly. Yet despite the outlandish nature of the plot the film never seems dumb, sure its cheesy and hokey but that's down to the era the movie was made in. The whole thing comes across in an intelligent and pleasant manner whilst dealing with themes like exploitation, gender role reversal and morality (loved the sombre yet intriguing ending).

Technical limitations of the day? you wouldn't think it, a fantastic piece of science fiction fantasy that has every element to engage you from start to finish. A classy B-movie adventure of epic proportions.

'All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!'
½ May 5, 2015
A pretty exciting and movie premise with decent 50's effects and a solid story-line. The movie does less with dialog and more with action, and the world around the shrinking man gets pretty disturbing. The ending could have been better, but in all it's a fine science fiction tale.
April 17, 2015
Great B-Movie that must have been quite frightening at the time and still has some tremendous set-pieces, including a fight with a tarantula (living improbably in an orb web!). The narration is good and leans a little towards the didactic at the end, anticipating the rise of Eastern mysticism in the 60's perhaps... Well written, filmed and acted, another intriguing time capsule from the 50's.
March 28, 2015
Has some genuinely frightening moments with a cat and a spider. Has nice dialog between husband and wife. Has nice set-pieces. But the ending was rather bleak and though I understand where the director was going, I felt it was a little hurried and empty.
October 6, 2014
To the strains of Joseph Gershenson's impressive score, we arrive at the film's philosophical core: a moving, strangely pantheist assertion of what it really means to be alive. A pulp masterpiece.
August 5, 2014
A great demonstration of self-actualization and contentment of what existence really meant, The Incredible Shrinking Man is one of the best sci-fi flick of the 50's.
July 13, 2014
The props and special effects are decent for the era this film was made. It's a good story and it keeps you involved and wondering what's gonna happen next. However, the end leaves you hanging.
½ July 7, 2014
Having recently read the Richard Matheson book I really wanted to see the only cinema adaptation made of this classic so far.
The film is a pretty loyal adaptation and is very fitting to the time. The special effects are surprisingly good and it reminded me of old movies I used to watch as a kid.
Despite me enjoying this, I think this is one movie that could be updated. There are several darker plot developments in the book that were missed out of the film because I don't think they would have gone down too well in the 50's. Now I think they could make a really decent update.
On the other hand, perhaps this is kind of sci-fi pulp belongs in the 50's and feels more at home there.
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