Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Synopsis of Movie
“We're now a quarter of an inch tall, and sixty four feet from the house. That's an equivalent of three-point-two miles. That's a long way. Even for a man of science.”
Disney revived the “bumbling inventor” comedy of The Absent-Minded Professor and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones with 1989’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In this modern update of the classic sub-genre, Rick Moranis filled the excitable, eccentric genius role, and a talented effects crew brought the story to life with visuals light years ahead of “flubberized” basketball games.
Moranis plays Wayne Szalinski, inventor of the not-yet-perfected “electromagnetic shrinking machine.” The scientific community scoffs at the bespectacled professor, as does cocky next-door neighbor Russ Thompson. Wayne’s home life is only slightly better—wife Diane is endlessly patient, son Nick idolizes him but can’t get his attention, and daughter Amy is into her sullen teen phase. Over at the Thompson household, “Big” Russ is upset with his teen son “Little” Russ over the boy’s failure to make the high school football team. The Thompsons are an All-American family, and shy Russ Jr. just doesn’t pass muster.
This suburban status quo gets turned upside down when Wayne accidentally leaves his faulty machine turned on in the attic while he’s away. A stray baseball from the Thompson boys (Little Russ and brother Ron) knocks the machine into shape, and when the kids go up to retrieve the ball, Russ, Ron, Amy and Nick are all shrunk down to ¼-inch proportions.
The mini-kids can’t get anyone’s attention to tell them what happened, so when Wayne sweeps them out into the backyard trash, the four neighbors are on their own to make the treacherous trek across the lawn. In this tiny world, everything is a giant-sized threat—lawn mowers, sprinklers, insects, even an innocent bowl of Cheerios…
In addition to Moranis, the cast included Matt Frewer (TV’s Max Headroom) and Marcia Strassman (Mrs. Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter). The film was the directorial debut of former special effects guru Joe Johnston (later the director of Jumanji and October Sky), and the Star Wars FX veteran put his skills to good use, overseeing such memorable moments as a thrilling, precarious bee ride.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was preceded in theaters and on video by an all-new Roger Rabbit cartoon, “Tummy Trouble,” the first Disney animated short in over 25 years. Together, the rabbit and the scientist conquered the multiplexes in a highly crowded summer, hanging tight with such big boys as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Back to the Future Part II, Ghostbusters II and Batman.
A surprise blockbuster, the film led to a 1992 sequel, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids TV series, the direct-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, and an attraction at Disneyland’s revamped Tommorowland, Honey, We Shrunk the Audience. Amazingly, Mrs. Szalinski has yet to file divorce papers.
Movie Release History1989 - Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
1992 - Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
Movie StudioDisney, Silver Screen Partners III
CastWayne Szalinski Rick Moranis
Big Russ Thompson Matt Frewer
Diane Szalinski Marcia Strassman
Mae Thompson Kristine Sutherland
Little Russ Thompson Thomas Wilson Brown
Ron Thompson Jared Rushton
Amy Szalinski Amy O'Neill
Nick Szalinski Robert Oliveri
Tommy Pervis Carl Steven
Don Forrester Mark L. Taylor
Gloria Forrester Kimmy Robertson
Dr. Brainard Lou Cutell
Female Cop Laura Waterbury
Male Cop Trevor Galtress
Harold Boorstein Martin Aylett
Lauren Boorstein Janet Sunderland