|Honey, I Shrunk the Kids|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Johnston|
|Produced by||Penney Finkelman Cox|
|Screenplay by||Ed Naha
|Story by||Stuart Gordon
Thomas Wilson Brown
|Music by||James Horner|
|Editing by||Michael A. Stevenson|
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures Distribution|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 live-action comedy film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film tells the story of an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor's kids to ¼ of an inch with his electromagnetic shrink ray and sends them out into the backyard with the trash.
Rick Moranis stars as Wayne Szalinski, the inventor who accidentally shrinks his children, Amy Szalinski (Amy O'Neill) and Nick Szalinski (Robert Oliveri). Marcia Strassman portrays his wife, Diane, to whom Moranis delivers the titular line. Matt Frewer, Kristine Sutherland, Thomas Wilson Brown and Jared Rushton star as Russ Thompson, Sr., Mae Thompson, Russ Thompson, Jr. and Ron Thompson, the Szalinskis' next door neighbors.
Wacky inventor Wayne Szalinski constantly irritates his next door neighbor Russ Thompson building machinery in his attic. With a long fishing camping trip ahead of them, his wife Mae manages to calm him down. Their son Ron, a troublemaker but energetic about the upcoming trip, and the indifferent Russ Jr. (Little Russ) shows a complete lack of interest in many of the things his father holds dear. While Wayne's teenage daughter Amy daydreams of an upcoming dance while Wayne's young son Nick portrays his own interest in science and inventing. The families as a whole do not get along, and with the temporary separation of Wayne's wife Diane, things at home seem strained as well.
That same day, Wayne goes off to a conference to seek funding for a shrink ray he's invented, though he does not tell them it only blows things up so far instead of shrinking them. He is laughed at by the other scientists who go to lunch during his presentation. Meanwhile, Ron knocks a baseball through the Szalinski's attic window, activating the machine and falling into its focusing laser. Little Russ forces Ron to fess up to Amy and Nick and the younger brothers go upstairs to retrieve it. Unbeknownst to them, the sensor detects their entry and immediately shrinks them. Afterward, Amy and Russ go to check on them and they too are shrunk to 1/4 of an inch in height. Wayne returns home to find the house a mess and his children missing, the ray shuts itself down before he enters the attic and he blames his bad day on the machine, destroying it in front of the children who are too small to be heard or seen. Wayne sweeps up the mess and with it the children, throwing them out with the garbage on the other side of the back yard. Stranded 'miles' from the house, Nick plans to lure their dog Quark to them as he can hear what humans cannot, it nearly works until the Thompsons' cat scares him back into the house, Nick and Russ are picked up by a bee after Nick falls into a flower and they are separated from Ron and Amy, the bee crash lands and the groups make their way back together. Big Russ lies about his children missing to his friend Don and they leave for the camp without the Thompsons, infuriating Russ who promptly says his boys are grounded. Wayne; having deduced what happened to the children tries to search for them without walking carelessly into the back yard, accidentally turns on the sprinklers and while outrunning the storm, Amy is knocked into a pool of mud and nearly drowned until Russ uses CPR to bring her back.
After encountering an Oatmeal Cream Pie that Nick had thrown out, the children eat but encounter an ant that they decide to use to ride back home, as it gets dark, Diane returns home and calls the police to report their children missing while the same police to visit them are already with the Thompsons. Wayne tells Diane the situation who is less than excited as she passes out in front of the police. They rig a sling to look for the kids in the dark as the kids seek shelter in a discarded Lego to sleep. They are attacked by a scorpion, and Antie, who Ron had developed a bond with is killed defending them. The next day, a friend of Nick's named Tommy comes to the house to mow the lawn on an agreement he had with Nick the day before, the kids are nearly killed by the mower but Wayne and Diane turn it off in time. Landing inches from them, Ron begins to lose hope they'll ever be noticed when Quark comes in and picks them up. Running inside, Quark barks at Wayne and Nick inadvertently falls into his bowl of Cheerios. He is nearly eaten until Quark bites Wayne's leg getting him to realize Nick is in his spoon. They retrieve the Thompsons to try and unshrink their kids but can't replicate the accident. The kids perform charades to tell them that the baseball is what caused the accident by blocking the laser and allowing them to shrink without blowing up. Wayne tests the device on Russell who is successfully shrunk and grown, then they return the children to their normal size and the families embrace, and a friendship is formed between Russell and Wayne.
At Thanksgiving the Szalinskis and Thompsons get together over an engorged turkey to eat as Quark eats a giant sized Milkbone. As they make their toast, Amy and Russ play footsie under the table, hinting at a possible budding relationship between the two of them while Nick finally realizes the punchline to a joke Russ had made after giving Amy artificial respiration earlier.
- Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinski
- Marcia Strassman as Diane Szalinski
- Amy O'Neill as Amy Szalinski
- Robert Oliveri as Nick Szalinski
- Matt Frewer as Russ Thompson, Sr.
- Kristine Sutherland as Mae Thompson
- Thomas Wilson Brown as Russ Thompson, Jr.
- Jared Rushton as Ron Thompson
- Frank Welker as Special Vocal Effects (voice)
Walt Disney Pictures wanted to make a film that dealt with miniaturization. The film was written as Teenie Weenies by Stuart Gordon, Ed Naha, and Brian Yuzna. Tom Schulman was later added to the group of screenwriters. As Teenie Weenies seemed to appeal more to a child demographic, the name was changed to Grounded to appeal to a more mature audience. That name was later rejected in favour of The Big Backyard. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a line of dialogue from the film, ultimately became the film's title.
Judy Taylor, Mike Fenton, and Lynda Gordon were the casting directors. Before Rick Moranis was cast as "nutty" inventor Wayne Szalinski, the script was written with Chevy Chase in mind because of his popularity in National Lampoon's Vacation. Chase was filming the second sequel, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and was too busy to portray Szalinski.
John Candy was also considered for the role. He declined, but suggested to director Joe Johnston that his friend (and Spaceballs costar) Rick Moranis would be a good choice. Marcia Strassman portrays Wayne's wife, Diane, who is having marital troubles with her husband.
Matt Frewer and Kristine Sutherland portray Russ Thompson Sr. and Mae Thompson, the Szalinskis' next door neoghbors and parents of Russ Jr. and Ron. Russ Sr. is very demanding on his older son and can't understand why he can't be more interested in masculine things such as football and fishing (until the end of the film, when he learns to accept his son for who he is). He is dim-witted and clumsy and secretly takes to cigarettes when he is nervous or scared. On the other hand, Mae is a very nice person and friendly with the Szalinskis.
The film needed four teenagers to play the leads. Russ, portrayed by Thomas Wilson Brown seems to be interested in Amy, and less in football, while Ron, Jared Rushton, appears to be more straightforward and a bully toward neighbor Nick, though he warms towards him. Rushton has quoted that he took the role after thinking that the script was "appealing" and he thought his character had progressed throughout the film with his personality.
Amy O'Neill and Robert Oliveri were cast as Amy and Nick Szalinski, the children of Wayne and Diane. Oliveri would comment that he was in awe about watching his stunt double do his stunts. He would later star as Kevin in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. O'Neill thought the film was a fun experience and that doing off-set activities, such as swimming or playing cards, was fun to do with the other younger cast members. She accepted the role because it was a "Disney movie".
Joe Johnston was selected to direct the film for his directorial debut, having been mostly working on films as an effects illustrator and art director. It was filmed at the backlot of Churubusco Studios in Mexico City at the end of 1988 and the beginning of 1989. Greg Fonseca was the production designer and was in charge of managing several different sets for the scenes in the movie.
Some filming took place in and around Beverly Hills, California. In the scene where Diane walks out of the mall to the pay phone, there is a sign that says 'Beverly Hills Mall'. It is unclear if the whole film takes place there or just that scene, as this contradicts one assertion in the sequel that Wayne Szalinski was originally from, and thus the Szalinski residence depicted in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is in Fresno, California.
Special effects were heavily used for the film, such as the electronically-controlled ants and bees. For the most part, the production team tried to use practical effects that would work in camera. For the scene where Wayne lands into the Thompsons' pool, Moranis jumped off a flying board in the form of a teeter-totter on a swing set. A stuntman pushed the board, sending him flying through the air and landing on a mat. Numerous storyboards were used for the film, particularly in the water sprinklers scene and the scene involving the bee. Scale models were also used for the bee scene, with miniature Russ and Nick plastic figures attached. Forced perspective was used in the giant cookie scene, to make it seem bigger. The child actors were strapped in for the scene with the broom. The bristles were actually pieces of foam that were carved and tied to a rig system.
Box office 
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids opened on June 23, 1989 to a grand total of 1,498 theatres. The film opened at #2 on opening night, behind Batman, with a total of $14,262,961. The film earned $130,724,172 domestic and $92,000,000 overseas, earning a grand total of $222,724,172. Attached to the film was Disney and Amblin Entertainment's first Roger Rabbit short, Tummy Trouble, executively produced by Steven Spielberg, produced by Don Hahn, and directed by Rob Minkoff.
Critical reception 
The film has earned a 74% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with generally positive reviews. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, gave a negative review, stating: "The special effects are all there, nicely in place, and the production values are sound, but the movie is dead in the water." Caryn James, of The New York Times, gave a positive review, saying: "As sweet, funny, and straightforward as its title." Variety gave another positive review stating, "[It's] in the best tradition of Disney -- and even better than that, because it is not so juvenile that adults won't be thoroughly entertained."
James Horner won an ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films and was also nominated for a Saturn Award. The film was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. Thomas Wilson Brown, Jared Rushton, Robert Oliveri and the Special Effects Crew were also nominated for a Saturn Award. The Special Effects Crew were also won a BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects. Amy O'Neill and Jared Rushton were nominated for a Young Artist Award and director Joe Johnston a Fantasporto Award.
The film was presented in the 100 Greatest Family Films, in which Amy O'Neill and Thomas Wilson Brown talked about the film for MTV.
|Honey, I Shrunk the Kids|
|Soundtrack album by James Horner|
|Released||March 6, 2009|
After years without releasing James Horner's soundtrack to the film, Intrada Records released it on March 6, 2009. The song that Amy dances to in the kitchen is "Turn It Up" by Nick Kamen, written by Jeffrey Pescetto and Patrick DeRemer.
The soundtrack was limited to a 3,000 copies release. Horner’s main title music incorporates cues from 1973 Amarcord by Nino Rota and Raymond Scott’s 1937 Powerhouse B tune, often referenced in Carl Stalling’s Warner Bros. cartoon scores. Scott's piece was used without payment or credit, leading his estate to threaten legal action against Disney. Disney paid an undisclosed sum in an out-of-court settlement and changed the film's cue sheets to credit Scott. Horner’s main title music underscores all the major moments involving Szalinski’s technology.
With 15 tracks, Horner produced the record with longtime engineer Simon Rhodes while it was originally conducted at the London Symphony Orchestra.
Track listing 
- "Main Title" – 1:59
- "Strange Neighbors" – 1:49
- "Shrunk" – 5:37
- "A New World" – 3:31
- "Scorpion Attack" – 3:34
- "Test Run" – 2:08
- "Flying Szalinski" – 1:59
- "Night Time" – 5:04
- "Watering the Grass" – 4:13
- "Ant Rodeo" – 3:45
- "The Machine Works" – 2:05
- "Lawn Mower" – 5:45
- "Eaten Alive" – 2:44
- "Big Russ Volunteers" – 1:24
- "Thanksgiving Dinner" – 5:27
In 1992, Disney released the first sequel, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, with Rick Moranis and Marcia Strassman reprising their roles as Wayne and Diane Szalinski. As the title suggests, Wayne succeeds in enlarging his two-year-old son to gigantic proportions as one of his size-changing experiments goes awry.
A three-dimensional film called Honey, I Shrunk the Audience complete with physical effects such as wind and water was created as an attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot in 1994, and later Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. The attraction is a mock award show by "The Imagination Institute" that is intended to honor Wayne Szalinski as "Inventor of the Year". Instead, the audience is "shrunk" and threatened by a giant dog (Quark), a giant python (Gigabyte), a giant woman (Diane), and even a giant kid (Adam), among other thrills. The attraction reprises most of the original cast and adds Eric Idle as the host of the award show. The attraction is currently closed at all of its locations due to the return of Captain EO (which was originally replaced by Honey in 1994). Currently no return dates have been confirmed.
In 1997, Disney produced the second sequel Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves as a direct to video release. Only Rick Moranis reprised his role in this film, with Amy and Nick having gone off to college and Quark having gone up in heaven. Many new characters were added such as Wayne's brother and his family. This time, it is the parents who are reduced to minuscule size, and need to be rescued by their kids. Wayne's niece Jenny Szalinski was played by Allison Mack, and a friend by Mila Kunis.
The last incarnation of the franchise was the television program Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show. Peter Scolari took over as Wayne Szalinski, and Nick and Amy both returned as characters, roughly the same age as in the original film, but were also played by new actors. The show's plots involved other wacky Szalinski inventions (rarely the shrink ray) that don't work quite as expected and land the family in some type of humorous mixed-up adventure.
- BoxOfficeMojo revenue page
- "The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids'". 1989. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Part 3". 1989. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Part 2". 1989. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- "Use of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse"". Retrieved 2012-11-11.