Honey I Shrunk The Kids was released in 1989. (same year Tim Burton’s Batman came out) It became an unexpected commercial and critical success earning positive reviews from both critics and families alike. It was the highest grossing live action Disney film until Pirates Of The Caribbean surpassed it. Roger Ebert surprisingly gave it a negative review and declared a thumbs down.
The film spawned a sequel called, “Honey I Blew Up The Kid” which is the last film involving Wayne’s baby boy who accidentally stumbled upon an experiment that transforms him into the size of Godzilla. Unlike the first film, the sequel was critically panned. Meaning no third installment could not intertwine as a trilogy.
If you’re familiar with Paul Rudd’s role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, (MCU for short) this isn’t the first time Disney released a sci-fi comedy related to shrinking as a pivotal plot element. I thought looking back if Honey I Shrunk The Kids still holds up in response to Ant-Man & The Wasp earning positive responses from critics. By the way, Disney is planning on remaking Honey I Shrunk The Kids as part of their upcoming streaming service in order to compete with other streaming companies including Netflix, Hulu & Amazon.
The folllwing review doesn’t contain any crucial SPOILERS. If you never ever ever seen Honey I Shrunk The Kids, feel free to read this non-spoiler review. Before you watch the film, make sure you watch the Roger Rabbit short “Tummy Trouble” if you want to feel like you just went into the theater before the actual movie starts as in Pixar films begin with a short film as an opening act, then we begin with the actual film.
Gigantic & Tiny Qualities
Gigantic: Rick Moranis did a fantastic job for his performance as Wayne Szalinski.
Fun Fact: Chevy Chase & the late John Candy were considered for the role of Wayne Szalinski, both of them passed the role and recommend Disney to let their good friend Rick Moranis on board.
Kid Actors consisting of Amy O’Neill, Robert Oliveri, Thomas Brown & Jared Rushton all did a great job for their respective performances as the kids.
Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America: The First Avenger, October Sky) makes his directorial debut, he did a good job directing the movie.
Late composer James Horner (Titanic, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, The Mask Of Zorro, Avatar) did a good job orchestrating the music. He also incorporated a track from Looney Tunes. If you have no clue what it is, the tune is called, “Powerhouse B.”
Character Development involving the kids as they must learn to discard their differences if they want to stay alive and turn back to normal. Rick’s next door neighbor “Big Russ” also earns himself some Character Development as well.
The film has some notable Intense Scenes with the kids trying to dodge dangerous obstacles in the middle of their way such as a sprinkler system, Mother Nature’s creatures consisting with insects.
Despite containing moments of “Nightmare Fuel” for a family film, Funny Moments managed to give me a chuckle like Wayne spinning out of control with a rotating device while trying to find his kids & neighbor’s boys.
Special Effects at the time were innovative containing a heavy dosage of Practical Effects such as Matte Paintings, Stop Motion, Animatronics, an in-camera technique called, “Forced Perspective” & Set Pieces were built to transform The Szalinski Backyard into a jungleesque atmosphere. Makes it feel like you’re tagging along with the kids.
Remember “Anthony” from Ant-Man? There’s an ant similar to Scott Lang’s “trusty steed.”
The film got away with a joke about Russ Jr’s “French Class” lesson.
I’ll have to give this movie credit for inspiring Edgar Wright and Marvel Studios to develop a movie based on Ant-Man and its sequel.
Without giving anything away Disney had the guts to kill of a character since that shocking moment from Bambi. You know the one when Bambi lost someone he knows?
Tiny: An optional con for those who have a fear of insects, they’re bigger than the kids. If you want to watch this without a friend, so be it. I would definitely invite a friend over for back up. Honestly, I wasn’t afraid of any of the bugs. Thank goodness a spider wasn’t shown.
A Blue Screen Effect doesn’t quite hold up so well for a film that came out in 1989. I’ll give this a pass due to the fact that advanced Computer Animation didn’t exist back then.
Nobody mentioned why Wayne is working on a shrink ray? Is he trying to develop it for The C.I.A. to shrink deadly mercenaries to go on stealth missions to assassinate terrorists from the inside or is he trying to use the shrink ray to earn money for his family?
The Final Verdict: A-
Honey I Shrunk The Kids is a successful milestone in Disney’s live action filmography. All the positive qualities listed as gigantic proves that this movie still holds up despite an unexplained reason why Wayne is invented a shrink ray without any context behind the whole premise. I was this close to giving it a B, an A- will do thanks to the positive stuff I’ve listed. If you are eager to see Ant-Man & The Wasp or grew up watching Honey I Shrunk The Kids, I highly recommend this movie for your children as a way to introduce a Disney classic one generation after another.