A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 Disney comedy in which four kids are shrunk to the size of ants by one of their scientist father's inventions and must figure out a way to get to their parents so they can be brought back to normal size. This film discusses marital woes and depicts a neighbor belittling his son because he didn't make the football team. It also shows children fighting for survival in an immense, threatening yard: They run from a vicious-looking scorpion, ride a loud-buzzing honey bee, nearly drown in a mud puddle, and are nearly killed by a lawnmower's blades. A teen boy is shown with his mouth bloodied after riding on a honey bee. Teens kiss. The father smokes cigarettes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS gets rolling when nerdy inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) accidentally shrinks his kids Amy and Nick as well as neighbor kid Ron. Faced with giant insects and other perils such as lawn mowers and sprinklers, the trio must rely on their stamina and ingenuity to survive a day and night in an over-large world. They also make many attempts to alert the adults to their whereabouts.
Is it any good?
Two-dimensional characters play second fiddle to the visual effects of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The gizmos are fun and plentiful, and Rick Moranis does what he can with the all-too-familiar role of the nerdy, misunderstood inventor. Moranis is actually more endearing and low-key here than we're used to seeing him, in part because he isn't given all that much to do and because he's the most sympathetic and appealing character the film has to offer. Even with imperiled kids riding bees or dodging giant water drops, it's hard to muster up enough enthusiasm to root for the would-be heroes.
The film's real disappointment isn't its short-of-cash special effects -- they're fun in their cheesy way -- but its ham-handedness in dealing with the emotional aspects of the story. There's no life to the budding romance between two teens from opposite sides of the fence, and the idea of an ant befriending four tiny humans provides a few needed chuckles although none are intended. Suffice it to say that if a shrinking machine could not only shrink stuff but repair shaky marriages and reconcile family strife with the flip of a switch, somebody would have invented that switch by now.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the nerdy inventor character. Does he seem familiar? What other movies can you think of that have a character like this? Why do we see so many stereotypes in movies? Does this bother you?
How are teens in the 1980s depicted in this movie, and how are they similar to and different from teens who are depicted today?
If this movie was remade today, how would the special effects be different?
- In theaters: June 23, 1989
- On DVD or streaming: October 8, 2002
- Cast: Marcia Strassman, Matt Frewer, Rick Moranis
- Director: Joe Johnston
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic intensity
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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