Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Release date: June 23, 1989
Director: Joe Johnston
Story by: Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, Ed Naha
Screenplay by: Ed Naha, Tom Schulman
Cast: Amy O’Neill, Robert Oliveri, Thomas Wilson Brown, Jared Rushton, Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman, Kirstine Sutherland
I’ve been rekindling myself with my childhood, I guess that’s what children around you force you to do. When asked what to watch, I have to figure out myself. Plus, Disney XD did a broadcast of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids so I took my chances. Unlike staples of my childhood like The Karate Kid or The Addams Family, I haven’t re-watched this movie since those days. Joe Johnston ended up directing other films of my childhood, like The Pagemaster and Jumanji and has been doing questionable stuff with the Jurassic Park film that everyone wants to forget and The Wolfman.
With the exception of Captain America: The First Avenger (which I didn’t like), I think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids may be his best movie, and that’s saying something. In here, Rick Moranis who is solely missed on screen plays Wayne Szalinski, a… er, kind of a failed inventor. His latest project is a machine that would shrink any object and return it back to its shape, but his current tests only leaves him splattered with apple puree. This, of course, puts his wife Diane (Strassman) in the position of being the breadwinner of the household, which include their homey kids Amy (O’Neill) and Nick (Oliveri).
The Szalinskis are definitely a quirky family, one we probably wouldn’t mind much these days, but not in the 80s or early 90s. They have weird gadgets in their yard, and there’s always weird sounds coming from their home, and this is why the Thompsons, especially Russ Sr. (Frewer) and maybe his wife Mae (pre-Buffy Sutherland), always raise an eyebrow when they’re looking over the fence that separates their yards. The Thompsons kids also don’t get along with the Szalinski kids, specially Ron (Rushton) who shares his father’s view on the weird Szalinskis. On the day the Thompsons are set to go for camping, against Russ Jr.’s (Brown) wishes, Ron hits a baseball that smashes the Szalinski’s attic’s window where the shrinking machine is.
Dragging his younger brother, Russ Jr. who has sneaked his eyes upon Amy, head over to the Szalinskis without suspecting they’re about to be shrunk into such diminutive dimensions that the garden will become their greatest adventure.
Despite not sounding very exciting, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has aged pretty decently. Maybe not technically, with some of the scenes shot against a screen looking so dated, but its script still looks as strong as it was. Despite its massive supportive cast of four kids and two sets of parents, all of them are setup as characters that change through the course of the story. It’s hard to find an ensemble that gets to work this way nowadays.
The movie, though not very “funny” in the sense that it sets out to make you laugh, IS fun. My memories of the garden adventure were always filled with a lot of excitement, and I don’t think that was diminished with my experience this time around. However, instead of being the kid missing in the garden, in danger of being sucked into the blades of the lawn mower, I suddenly felt myself set in Moranis’ shoes. How’s that for time flying?
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids doesn’t particularly shine due to Johnston’s directorial abilities, but more due to the story developed which managed to get solid character arcs for everyone. Though not filled with high-tension adrenaline-filled scenes or atmosphere, like- let’s say The Goonies, this one is solid.