I saw this movie exactly once as a kid, but remember really liking it. And yet, my only memory of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids involves the titular miniaturized children spending the night in a Lego while attempting to cross their backyard. That’s it. One fairly insignificant part that stuck with me only because it involved one of my favorite toys. Not that this isn’t a good kids movie, it’s just not good enough to have left a lasting impression on me.
It’s actually a little odd to me that HISTK was so popular. This was a box office hit, earning enough to spawn a theatrical sequel, a short lived television series, and a 3D film within the Disney theme parks. Based on that I thought it would be much better, but I guess I was just easier to impress as a kid. The story is bland and emotionless, though the adventure elements would be rather thrilling for children. One positive thing I can say is that many of the special effects still hold up. There is very little green screen, with the filmmakers smartly relying on more practical effects.
For me, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is the type of children’s movie one eventually outgrows. The truly great ones are still fun to watch as an adult, but this movie barely kept my attention this time around. I suppose this film has it’s place. It feels like the type of introductory comedy-adventure you show a kid who isn’t quite ready for something like The Goonies.
I grew up with this film, and was surprised to see how well it holds up. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has a mouthful of a title, and no obvious way to shorten it either. As an Australian, where abbreviating comes naturally to everyone, I find this concerning, but not enough to not enjoy this film.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is the story of Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis). He is an inventor, filling his home with countless potentially useful trinkets that could one day make him a millionaire. His current invention is a shrink ray that he wrongly believes doesn’t work. When his son Nick (Robert Oliveri) and daughter Amy (Amy O’Neill) inadvertently get shrunk along with the two next door neighbours’ sons (Jared Rushton and Thomas Wilson Brown) and taken out with the garbage, they must travel through the now giant backyard to reach their home again and alert their father of what has happened. The backyard is filled with many pitfalls now where a small puddle becomes the size of a river and an ant is now a serious threat. The foursome embark on their journey hoping that by the time they get home Wayne will be able to make them their normal size again.
I really love the practical effects being used in this film. When they see a giant Lego block in the backyard it looks real because the sets were built so well. I really miss that these practical sets have mostly been replaced these days by computer generated images. Having the item actually on set adds so much to the movie, on top of the realism it provides in the background, it is much easier for the actors to perform in front of something really in front of them instead of just a green screen.
This is a fun film that is entertaining for the whole family, with a fun story and a great adventure set in the most unlikely of places, a suburban backyard.