Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves! (1997)

Rating:

USA. 1997.

Crew

Director – Dean Cundey, Screenplay – Joel Hodgson, Karey Kirkpatrick & Nell Scovell, Producer – Barry Bernardi, Photography – Raymond N. Stella, Music – Michael Tavera, Visual Effects Supervisor – Tim Landry, Visual Effects – DreamQuest Images, Production Design – Carol Winstead Wood. Production Company – Disney

Cast

Rick Moranis (Professor Wayne Szalinski), Eve Gordon (Diane Szalinski), Stuart Pankin (Gordon Szalinski), Bug Hall (Adam Szalinski), Robin Bartlett (Patty Szalinski), Allison Mack (Jenny Szalinski), Jake Richardson (Mitch Szalinski), Jojo Adams (Ricky King)


Plot

Diane Szalinski is about to depart on holiday with her sister-in-law Patty, leaving Wayne in charge of the house and the children of both families. Wayne is about to pack his shrinking ray up to be housed in the Smithsonian when it accidentally activates, shrinking him, his brother Gordon, and Diane and Patty. Believing they have been left on their own, the children decide to throw a party. Meanwhile, the adults must navigate the giant-size perils of the house in order to try and get the children’s attention – by rewiring the stereo speaker so they can be heard – and be returned to normal size.


The delightful miniaturised backgarden adventure Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) was a hit for Disney. The success spawned two sequels – the banal cinematic release Honey I Blew Up the Baby (1992) and this slightly better direct-to-video effort, both featuring Rick Moranis. This was then followed by a terrible tv series, Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1997) where Rick Moranis was replaced by Peter Scolari.

Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves! was turned over to Dean Cundey, who had worked as a cinematographer on a number of high-profile films including Halloween (1978), Back to the Future (1985), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and Jurassic Park (1993), and who makes his directorial debut here. None of the sequels to Honey I Shrunk the Kids did anything imaginative with the basic premise. There had been ideas for sequels tossed around at the outset – titles such as Honey, I Xeroxed the Kids and Honey, I Sent the Kids to the Moon – but in all cases the series played it safe and stayed with big and small themes. Instead of miniaturising people, the first sequel blew the baby up to giant-size. The baby seems to have vanished by this entry and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves! is even more conceptually limited in that the only difference between it and the first film is that it is the adults who get shrunk, not the kids, and the terrain they must navigate is the inside of the house rather than the back garden.

Nevertheless, Dean Cundey shows than even second time around there are some occasionally imaginative squeezes that can be placed on the formula. There are some modest but imaginative set-pieces with the group fleeing from a cockroach, befriending a daddy-longlegs and using it to climb a wall, their accidentally getting caught in a potato chip dip and having to duck marauding giant chips, a scientifically dubious flight through the house encased in glycerine bubbles, and Rick Moranis’s venture inside a giant stereo speaker. On the minus side, there is a tendency toward buffoonery with silly slot car set rollercoaster rides. The intercut scenes with the kids having a party while the adults are absent are annoying, even more the need of these scenes to be undercut by moral messages for family audiences.



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