Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) — Small kids, huge adventure

“I don’t think we’re in the food chain anymore, Dorothy.”

Andie’s rating: 5 out of 5 gigantic oatmeal creme pies (yummy)

Andie’s review: I figured if we can review The Goonies, we can also review another classic children’s adventure, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. This movie has everything: funny lines, good adventures, and cute boys. What more could a 12-year-old girl ask for? (That’s how old I was when I first saw this movie.) I know you’re thinking, “That’s great for a 12-year-old, but what about the rest of us?” Well, I happen to believe that this movie is good for all ages, especially people who are young at heart.

The movie’s premise is that Wayne Szalinsky’s invention shrinks his two kids, Amy and Nick, and the two neighbor kids, Russ and Ron, down small enough to ride around on an ant. They get swept up and taken out with the trash and have to trek through the back yard.

What ensues is a great adventure using everyday elements that turn deadly when you’re a quarter of an inch tall. They encounter bees and scorpions, they sleep in a LEGO, the sprinkler system almost drowns them, and then comes *dun dun dun* dreaded lawn mower. It makes for a delightful romp while the kids try to get themselves back to the house. The other funny elements include the parents trying to find out what happened to their children. It still cracks me up to see Rick Moranis clinging to the fence and hanging from the clothesline to avoid stepping on the lawn, for fear of crushing his kids.

This is a fantastic movie that was marred by too many sequels.

Justin’s rating: I know a few people I’d like to shrink…

Justin’s review: Ah man, watching this movie takes me back! This was one of my childhood/teen favorites that I’d seen like sixty times before I finally realized that Disney does not equal Cool anymore. It’s been like six years since I’ve seen it last, but I can remember every word and musical beat (I love the orchestral soundtrack here, it’s very peppy and chaotic).

Most of all, I loved Honey, I Shrunk The Kids for… Amy. Yes, boys and girls, it’s time for another edition of Creepy Adult Guy Boasting About a Crush He Had on a Movie Character. Ah, Amy. Looking at her now, I’m not exactly sure what I saw in her. She’s got a charming, girl-next-door quality for sure. She goes swimming in Cheerios, and she educated us all in French kissing. Whatever, I always thought she was pretty cute. Though she does wear this weird peach ensemble that does nothing for fashion.

Anyway, the entire cast fulfills various zany roles, from WACKY INVENTOR DAD (now with button-pushing action!) to COREY FELDMAN STAND-IN (big red hat flips up!) to COMICAL NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS (borrowed lawn mower sold separately).

When a foursome of kids are shrunk to really tiny proportions, their lifespan is shortened to three minutes, tops, before they’re smooshed or drowned or crushed. Oh wait, this is Disney, so naturally they live no matter what. It would have been more amusing to lose at least one of them along the way, just so that no one could look happy at the end of the movie (“Oh, Russ got sucked into a lawn mower? Bummer.”) and we could’ve gone home depressed and little kids would be asking their parents about What is Death that night.

An epic journey ensues, crossing the wilderness of their back yard to the vast expanses of the kitchen table. This film does an excellent job of giving us the perspective of what being really, really small would be like. It’s a surprising setting for action, adventure and comedy, but darn it if it works. The exotic settings are done well, the cast quips and hams their way through nutty situations, and… well, how many times do you see a kid in danger of drowning in breakfast cereal?

The film flips stories between the the kids trying to get home and the parents trying to find them. There’s a bit of a romance between Amy and the not-so-hunky teen boy (get your mitts off of her, she’s MINE!). Rick Moranis (as the inventor dad) and Matt Frewer (as the cranky neighbor) are a couple of grin-inducing actors who manage to balance the insane plot with a measure of reality. Well, not really, but they do have some wicked slapstick. And who could forget Antie, the baby ant that befriends the kids and eventually dies in a duel with a scorpion (true story: my dad always tears up when Auntie dies). This part had me a bit incredulous: a SCORPION in suburbia? WHAT?!? Geez, now I’m terrified of my own back yard!

Let this be an ode to Amy, the peach-colored love interest whose mere smile carried large portions of the film, and who kissed like a pro even though she had to lock lips with a weenie boy. Woo and Hoo.

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