A LOOK BACK: The Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Series
With the confirmation that Rick Moranis will finally return to the big screen in Disney's sequel of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids entitled Shrunk, I decided to re-watch the entire film series. I watched Honey, I Shrunk The Kids along with its sequels Honey, I Blew Up The Kid and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.
I remembered really liking all of the movies, but, over the years, my memory became more foggy and I began to think of the films as a late 80s/90s joke. So, I was pleasantly surprised to watch them again and remember the things I loved about them.
In Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, we are introduced to the Szalinski family. Father Wayne (Rick Moranis) has invented a shrink ray that isn't quite working well until neighbor Ron (Jared Rushton) knocks a baseball into it and it accidentally shrinks the kids - Ron, Nick (Robert Oliveri), Amy (Amy O'Neill) and Ron's brother Russ (Thomas Wilson Brown). The kids end up on the other side of the yard and, at their size, it will take the equivalent of miles to get across the jungle of a yard. During their trek back, they encounter mud rivers, ants, bees and a scorpion while learning to appreciate life in a new way.
I found it to be the perfect family adventure. And, while special effects have advanced quite a bit since then, I enjoyed the special effects for what they were. What fun would have been to film in a grass jungle. In many ways, this film had a real Goonies feel where personality differences are challenged as the kids are forced to work with each other. I think the chemistry among the kids was great. I also liked the adult actors in Moranis and Marcia Strassman who played his wife Diane along with neighbors Russ (Matt Frewer) and Mae (Kristine Sutherland).
In Honey, I Blew Up The Kid, we see the return of the Szalinkis who are now living in Nevada and have an addition to the family in baby Adam (Daniel and Joshua Shalikar). Moranis, Strassman, Oliveri and O'Neill (as mostly a cameo) all return. Wayne is now working for Sterling Labs on a project to make objects grow. Through an accident in the lab, he hits Adam with the growing ray and Adam eventually becomes a 50 foot baby wreaking havoc on Las Vegas.
I actually found this sequel to be quite charming. I liked how they turned it on its ear and made someone grow instead of shrink. The twins that played Adam were absolutely adorable and there is something fun about a giant baby who doesn't know what's going on and thinks the world is his playground. What I found frustrating about the movie, though, is that it seemed like an easy thing to make Adam smaller again by blasting him with the ray at several points. But they kept sitting around watching baby Adam instead. But, overall, I thought the film was fun.
And, in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, the tables are turned and it is the adults that are shrunk. The sequel takes places several years in the future and Wayne is working with his brother Gordon (Stuart Pankin) at Szalinski Labs. In another lab accident, Wayne shrinks himself and his brother, along with their wives Diane (now played by Eve Gordon) and Patti (Robin Bartlett), leaving kids Adam (Bug Hall), Jenny (Allison Mack) and Mitch (Jake Richardson) unattended. Like the kids in the first movie, the adults have to adventure the wilds that is their house while learning to appreciate life a little bit more.
By this time, the franchise had gotten a little lackluster with the story essentially being the same as the first movie, only with shrunken adults instead of kids. But, even though, I still found it largely enjoyable. I thought the adult cast were funny and had a great chemistry. Eve Gordon was a good replacement for Strassman. And, I remember that this is the film that made me think twice about killing daddy long legs.
I really look forward to what Disney does with the upcoming sequel. Along with Moranis's return, we will see Josh Gad take the roll of his son Nick. If we look at what Marvel's Ant-Man has done with shrinking special effects, I think that this film can really be amazing special effects wise.
Whatever happens, I hope we might see a limited return of Honey, I Shrunk The Audience to Disney Parks!