Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

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Today’s review is due to the request of Amanda Sorrento, a friend and YouTuber, who adores Rick Moranis! Check out her YouTube channel here!

I remember Honey, I Shrunk the Kids being a popular family film that people talked about during the early ’90s. However, I don’t think that I’ve personally seen it before. The film was said to have been mostly praiseworthy for its special effects and noteworthy for being Joe Johnston’s directorial debut. The film went on to be a box office success resulting in a theatrical sequel, a direct-to-video sequel, a TV series, and a Disney park attraction.

Was I in love with this film as much as audiences seemed to be? Let’s find out! Here’s my review of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!

And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film opens with some beautiful animated credits!

This has me wishing for an animated adaptation of this movie!

After the credits are over, we are introduced to the Szalinski family. They’re your average middle-class family with your average (and not so average) problems. Wayne Szalinski is a scientist and inventor, played by Rick Moranis. Although he has invented some clever contraptions, he’s never made any breakthrough invention, resulting in him not being fully accepted by his scientist peers. Nevertheless, he works hard in creating something that he’s sure will be sensational, but it keeps him busy from spending time with his family, much less having breakfast with them on time.

He alerts the kids of his tardiness to the dinner table via a typed message. Where’s Autocorrect when you need it?

He’s married to Diane, played by Marcia Strassman. She works as a realtor, hence is out of the house a lot. With both her and Mr. Szalinski busy all the time, the Szalinski kids spend a lot of time together. Amy is the Szalinskis’ popular, teenaged daughter, played by Amy O’Neill, and Nicky is their younger, science-minded son, played by Robert Oliveri.

Next door to them live the Thompson family. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are played by Matt Frewer and Kristine Sutherland, respectively. They also have two kids, a teenaged Russ, played by Thomas Wilson Brown, and a younger son, Ron, played by Jared Rushton. And as you can expect, they have their own problems. Mr. Thompson is often annoyed or frustrated that Russ isn’t succeeding in more “manly” things such as lifting weights or being on the school baseball team. Mr. Thompson is also considers Mr. Szalinski to be a bit of a weirdo, so they’re not friends, by any stretch of the imagination.

Somehow I’m expecting to see some toys throw Christmas lights between the two windows! #ToyStory

Nicky and Ron also dislike each other and Amy has never really paid much attention to Russ (despite him having a crush on her) or anyone next door. Only the mothers of both families seem to get along with each other!

Later that morning, Mr. Szalinski heads to a science conference to talk about the invention he’s working on. Basically, he believes that he’s invented an invention that can shrink objects! It’s not working at the moment, but he knows that it’s almost there. Sadly, the other scientists at the conference don’t have faith in him and laugh in his face!

“And you all are no Bill Gates, but do you hear me complaining?”

Meanwhile, back at home, Ron accidentally hits a baseball into the window of the Szalinskis’ attic (where Mr. Szalinski’s invention is). When Russ sees what has happened, he takes Ron over next door to explain what happened which also gives him a chance to talk to Amy. Amy tells Nicky to take Ron upstairs to find the ball. When they enter the attic though, they are immediately shrunk to the size of ants (or even smaller)! You see, the baseball has lodged itself into the shrink ray and somehow that enabled the machine to work!

When they notice that the kids haven’t come back downstairs, Amy and Russ head up to see what’s taking them so long. When they enter the room, they too get shrunk by the shrink ray! They reunite with Nicky and Ron, but all of them are shocked to see how tiny they are! They start worrying about how/when they will get bigger, especially since Amy has a date at the mall later and the Thompsons are going on a fishing trip with their parents later!

At this rate, they themselves will be the fishing bait!

As luck would have it, they hear that Mr. Szalinski has arrived home from the conference and is headed up to the attic. When he arrives at the attic, the baseball has dislodged itself from the shrink ray thereby powering off the machine. The kids try calling out to Mr. Szalinski, but they’re too small for him to see or hear. Mr. Szalinski instead notices the broken window and starts to sweep up the mess, accidentally sweeping up the kids while doing so! He throws them in a trash bag and puts the bag out to the front of their yard. The kids manage to break free from the bag, but now they have to cross the front yard to get back to the Szalinskis’ door and at their size, that could take hours!

This kid has watched Interstellar one too many times!

As they traverse through the front yard, the kids slowly get used to their new surroundings. Well, it’s technically their old surroundings, but everything is now magnified in both size and danger! The grass blades are now like giant trees, a simple garden hose watering the grass is now an instant flood set to drown the kids, and as monstrous as bees are in real life, they’re quadruply monstrous at the kids’ sizes!

Move over, King Kong and Godzilla!

Meanwhile, Mrs. Szalinski has returned home and Mr. Szalinski explains to her how the scientists at the convention laughed at him and that he’s gonna try to get his old job back. She understands and asks him if he knows where the kids are and he says he doesn’t know. After calling a few friends, Mrs. Szalinski gets worried when not only has nobody seen her kids, but the Thompson kids next door seem to be missing too! She decides to head to the mall to look for them there.

While she’s out, Mr. Szalinski notices Ron’s baseball bat in their backyard and realizes that the Thompson kid was in their yard earlier! He heads back to the attic and with utter shock, looks down upon the ground. He finds two of his couches miniaturized (the shrink ray had shrunk them before he came home) and realizes that the four kids have probably been miniaturized too and that he’s thrown them in the garbage! When he sees that the garbage bag outside has been torn, he realizes that the kids are lost in the front yard somewhere and he does his best to try to spot them using other contraptions he has made to sense them better and to prevent from stepping on them!

Now how he set that up in the yard without stepping on the grass, I have no clue!

When Mrs. Szalinski returns home, he tells her what he has found out about the kids and she takes it as you would expect.

There she is…
Now she falls…

The Szalinskis together try looking for the kids in the front yard, but it’s no use. The kids are just too small to see/hear and with night approaching, they’re losing light to see with. Not long after that, they invite the Thompsons over to explain what happened. At first, the Thompsons don’t believe them, but once they’re convinced, they’re both mad and anxious to have their kids home as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the kids have used their size to their advantage by taming an ant to be their transport instead of having to walk through the yard themselves. But, as it’s now night, the kids decide to get a good night’s sleep in one of Nicky’s Lego bricks that is laying there in the yard.

The next morning, the Szalinskis get ready to look more for the kids while the kids brave new dangers including being attacked by a scorpion and almost getting chopped up by a lawnmower!

We could lose our PG rating if this goes any further!

They’re soon rescued when their pet dog, Quark, comes into the front yard and the four kids grab on to his fur. Quark heads into the kitchen depositing the kids. The kids then try to get Mr. Szalinski’s attention (who’s sat down to eat his cereal and milk for breakfast), but Nicky accidentally falls into the cereal bowl. Mr. Szalinski is almost about to accidentally eat Nicky, when Quark saves him by biting Mr. Szalinski’s leg. This causes Mr. Szalinski to yell in pain and look down enough to notice something floating in his spoon. With the help of a magnifying glass, he realizes that it’s Nicky! And he sees that the other three are there in the kitchen too!

He is overjoyed to have them back as is Mrs. Szalinski who quickly calls the Thompsons over! They all then head upstairs to the attic where Mr. Szalinski gets the shrink ray working again to maximize the kids back to their normal sizes! Amy and Nicky are happy to be back with their parents, the Szalinskis realize that they need to be more together as a family, Mr. Thompson tells Russ that he cares about him and not his sports career, Ron and Nicky are now friends, the Thompsons and the Szalinskis are now friends, and Russ and Amy are now…more than friends, presumably.

Mr. Szalinski’s invention can also solve the starvation problem, apparently!

And that was Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. So, do I love it as much as audiences back then seemed to? You know, I think so! It’s a really fun, enjoyable film, albeit with a very simple plot. The movie is literally just about the kids walking from one end of the front lawn to the other, but the emotion of the characters mixed with both the comedy and the urgency of the situation makes it a multifaceted film!

The acting was also really good by most of the actors, with the exception of maybe the actors who played the Thompson kids. But, the best thing in the film, by far, was the amazing effects! Creating this world where mundane objects are now enormous or minuscule in size and playing around with perspectives were the backbone of this film! And it still holds up pretty well to this day!

I haven’t seen such giant ants since an episode of The Magic School Bus!

All in all, if you’re looking for an enjoyable Disney comedy with some great effects, give this a watch as soon as you can! Thanks to Amanda for recommending this to me!

(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)

So, the final score for this film is 31/35 = 88.57% (B+) !

The next review will be posted on October 23, 2017.

6 thoughts on “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

  1. Yep, certainly one of Disney’s better efforts….honestly, I would even go as far to say that some of the effects look better than what Ant-man managed, simply because they look more natural.

  2. As far as I remember, this was a fairly enjoyable movie, although I have to confess, the special effects don’t look quite as smooth as the those I’ve become used to.

    On a different note, I actually saw the direct-to-video spinoff HONEY, WE SHRUNK OURSELVES before seeing the original (just as how ALADDIN AND THE KING OF THIEVES was the first of the ALADDIN movies that I saw).

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