Film: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

"It's not the first time something like this has happened... to our family."

Take equal parts of an unlucky scientist one step away from becoming a Mad Scientist, and a potential Weapon of Mass Destruction applied on four children, then top it off with the angst of said children. It is a comedy.

Stay at home inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) invented a shrink ray. Which doesn't work. Yet. Due to a stray baseball it becomes fully functional and promptly shrinks his daughter, son and the neighbor's two sons. Wayne was absent, and is unaware of that his machine worked. After the idea of his machine is dismissed at a conference, Wayne breaks it in frustration, sweeps the broken glass up as well as the children, and then deposits them on the curb for trash collection. They cut their way out with a shard of glass, and begin an adventure across the unkempt lawn to get back home and unshrunk. They face many environmental hazards such as a bee, a scorpion, sprinkler system, automated lawn mower, and a cat, all of which are now infinitely more dangerous as the kids must learn to band together in order to survive... yes, we assure you this is a comedy. Meanwhile, Szalinski realizes the error of his ways, that the machine works and had accidentally shrunk the kids, and tries desperately to both fix the machine and find the kids in the grass in the yard.

Characters in the movie include:

  • Wayne Szalinski: The Smart Guy. Even though the roadblock he hit was overcome by a freak accident, that's how a surprising number of inventions came about.
  • Diane Szalinski: Mama Bear. She isn't happy with what happened to her family, though she doesn't become violent.
  • Russ Thompson Sr: Papa Wolf. He was not happy, but he does turn out to be a genuinely nice guy, in spite of wishing his oldest son was "manlier."
  • Mae Thompson: Not quite Emotionless Girl, but she did take the news rather well.
  • Amy Szalinski: The Chick. Popular girl who likes boys and shopping.
  • Nick Szalinski: The Other Smart Guy Like father, like son. Allergic to nearly everything.
  • Russ Thompson Jr: The Lancer. Does not share his father's more "manly" interests like fishing and football. He warms up. Has a huge crush on Amy.
  • Ron Thompson: The Generic Guy. Has a huge attitude problem, but becomes friendlier as the movie progresses.

There are several follow-ups focusing on the further adventures of Wayne and his family. Most don't have separate articles yet.

  • Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (1992): In which we meet the newest Szalinski — Adam, who becomes a very big baby indeed.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994): A Disney Theme Parks 3-D Movie Short Film. Wayne's being honored as Inventor of the Year, but some demos of his latest inventions go wild...and The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You! (At Walt Disney World in Florida, a new character from this film, Dr. Nigel Channing [played by Eric Idle], was subsequently incorporated into other attractions in its host pavillion at Epcot.)
  • Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997): A Direct-to-Video effort in which the adults are the ones shrunk.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show (1997-2000): More inventions, more problems for the Szalinskis in this three-season syndicated sitcom. The Other Wiki's entry on it posits that this is either an Alternate Continuity from the films or set between the first two; it features no movie cast members.

This series contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Wayne, of course.
  • Adorkable: Nick in the second movie.
  • Adult Fear
    Diane: Our daughter, alone, in the dark, with Russ Thompson Jr.
    Diane: They'd better behave themselves.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: "Anty," the ant.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: The Thompsons have ample grounds for a lawsuit (see No OSHA Compliance entry below), but obviously do not file one.
  • Animated Credits Opening
  • Anthropic Principle: Logic dictates that after the first film, Wayne Szalinski should be living in a billion-dollar science palace with at least two Nobel Prizes on his wall and his name in the books next to Einstein, Galileo, Newton, and Tesla, but then of course we wouldn't be able to continue having nutty suburban adventures about a bumbling scientist and his size-changing mishaps. The family does have more money and a larger house in each sequel, though, the setup of Honey, I Shrunk the Audience is that he's being honored with a presitigious fictional award that puts him on the level of the aforementioned, and he's the President of Szalinski Labs by the third.
  • Artistic License Physics: Mostly overshadowed by the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Funny. Decreasing the amount of empty space between molecules would indeed decrease an object's volume. However, since the amount of actual matter remains, it would do absolutely nothing to the object's mass. Thus, Wayne should not have been able to sweep them up. What you've done is increase the object's density. This greatly decreases the surface area over which their weight, defined in physics as the force generated by the acceleration of gravity acting upon mass, is distributed. This greatly increase the amount of pressure exerted upon the surfaces beneath their feet. Though the floorboards in his lab could probably have held them, once in the backyard, they should have sunk into the soft soil.
    • And, of course, the opposite holds true, meaning that Diane could have picked Adam up in the second movie, whether she was blown up or not. Likewise Adam wouldn't have quite the strength to lift a car.
      • Except picking up a 112-foot toddler would still have been extremely difficult and awkward for a five-foot whatever woman, and she needed to get Adam to hold still long enough for Wayne to shrink them back to normal size.
    • Two take a "ride" on a bee. They are flown all over the yard, which to them is 3 miles long. Despite the fact that in comparison size that bee is traveling at well over two hundred miles per hour, they do a remarkable job of hanging on. After their shrinking escapade think of all the money they'll save by just grabbing onto an airplane rather than having to pay fare to sit inside.
      • The error here actually lies with perceived time. Their smaller brains/bodies should function proportionally faster, so the perceived time longer with the distance. In this sense the bee ride and much of the film are 'accurate' with the exception of this concept.
    • Surface tension
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Giant Adam obeys Nick's calls to put his car down onto a motorized neon sign. After it nearly drops him to his death, he asks to be picked up.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention naps in front of little Adam.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Amy shouts this at Ron, after Nick and Russ Jr. are carried off by the killer bee:
    Ron: We're never gonna find Russ now! It's all your stupid dad's fault!
    Amy: Shut up! My brother's up there, too!
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: Nick, Amy and Adam Szalinski.
  • Bound and Gagged: Nick's way of preventing the babysitter (that he has a crush on) from raising a ruckus about his enormous brother in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.
  • Brick Joke: Right before the end credits, Nick "gets" what Russell meant when he said he learned CPR in French class.
  • Broken Glass Penalty: It is Ron's baseball smashing through the Szalinskis' attic window that activates the shrinking machine.
  • California Doubling: The first movie was set in Fresno, but was shot in Mexico. The second one takes place in Vista del Mar, Nevada, but was shot in Florida.
  • Cardboard Prison: In Honey, I Blew Up The Kid; Adam frequently escapes his playpen even after Wayne's multiple attempts to fix it.
  • Cats Are Mean: Spike, the Thompsons' cat, screws everything up for the kids when he chases Quark the dog away.
  • Child Prodigy: Nick, especially in the first movie. In the second movie he's self-conscious about it and tries to cover up his smarts by taking up the guitar.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Big Russ Thompson is shown lighting up despite having quit several years before, demonstrating to the kids how worried he is about them.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The freshly-tossed cigarette that the kids find. Being that close to the still-hot cigarette would really burn quarter-inch-tall people.
  • Cute Giant: Adam, after being turned gigantic in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Zigzagged. In the second film a well-funded lab and team of researchers are studying the shrinking technology, and in the third film Wayne manages his own laboratory with several scientists working for him on various projects. However, Wayne seems to love rather modestly, and despite at least two decades passing between the first and third films, not much time is spent examining how the world is changed now that shrinking ray technology exists.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the first movie, Ron is often quite cynical. Amy has her moments, too. In the second movie, Nick fills this trope on occasion, as well as Mandy the babysitter.
  • Death Ray: Before the baseball fell into it, the shrink ray blew things up instead.
  • Demoted to Extra: Amy only briefly appears in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid, and is Put on a Bus before the end of the first act.
  • Disaster Dominoes
  • Disney Death: Painfully averted with Anty's death.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When helping his father pack the camper van, Russ spots Amy dancing in her kitchen as she tries to clean up. He's mesmerized.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Adam and Mitch look at a magazine that Adam thinks would get him in trouble with his dad and that the parents can't see from their angle on the floor. Wayne crawls up on the magazine after the boys leave and discovers its a regular issue of Sports Illustrated. Wayne seems nearly as upset as he would have been if it really had turned out to be a Playboy.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Honey I Blew Up The Kid was originally a script called Big Baby.
  • Efficient Displacement: Giant Adam leaving home.
  • Eureka Moment: After using a baseball bat to shoo a bee (which Nick and Russ are riding on)...
    Wayne: Wait a second... Nick doesn't play baseball. [looks up at his attic/lab, which the window broke]
  • Everything's Worse with Bees
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Anty getting practically impaled through the torso by the scorpion.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Narrowly averted in all three Shrunk movies. Played straight, however, in the premier episode of the TV show. In Diane's own father no less.
  • Fat Bastard: Ricky in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. He doesn't look it, but when he's threatening Adam in the third film, his stomach precedes him by several inches. The actor wore a fat suit initially... then in reshoots gained 40 pounds for the role to make Ricky look fatter all over.
  • Flat "What.": Diane's initial reaction when Wayne confesses that his machine shrank their kids.
    • Followed by another when Wayne told Diane the Thompson kids also shrank and they're all in the backyard. Then grabs Wayne after he told her he threw them out with the trash. Then faints when Wayne tells the police (Diane called the police to report the kids missing before finding out they were shrunk) that the kids aren't missing, they're in the backyard.
  • Footsie Under the Table: Russ and Amy at the end of the movie.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Anty (the only character in the whole franchise to be killed).
    • Though in all fairness, the kids had to deal with some other important stuff shortly after her demise, and Ron does mention how she "saved him from a giant scorpion" during the ending.
  • Giant Food: To the shrunken kids, an Oatmeal Cream Pie is "as big as a house", and Cheerios could be used as life preservers.
    • In the second movie, Adam's pocket contents get blown up too. "Have a raisin!" ...that's about two feet across.
  • God Guise: In Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, Wayne's brother Gordon pretends to be the voice of God, scaring off all the guests at his daughter Jenny's party. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Happily Married: Wayne and Diane (although they're having some difficulties at the beginning of the first movie) and Russ Sr. and Mae.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Anty again.
  • Here We Go Again: At the end of the second movie Nick and Mandy are still shrunk in the car and Adam's stuffed bunny is still huge. Wayne tells a doubtful Diane he'll get the machine fix to shrink it back. Though Adam doesn't seem to mind.
  • Hollywood Science: Shrinking an object by reducing the open space inside it wouldn't remove any weight, and the Square/Cube Law would mean that the shrunken characters wouldn't be able to move at all. They also probably wouldn't be able to breathe or digest normal-sized food and would stand a good chance of imbedding themselves in most materials they stood on.
    • Similarly, enlarging an object by increasing the open space inside it wouldn't add any weight, the subject would still have trouble breathing or digesting food, and any enlarged objects would become much more buoyant in air, possibly light enough to float away if they're made large enough.
  • Homemade Inventions
  • How Did That Get in There?: Russ Sr., almost word-for-word, when Mae finds a packet of cigarettes hidden in his baseball cap.
  • I Lied / That's Not What She Told Me: Mae told Russ Sr. that Russ Jr. didn't make the team, which Russ Sr. was upset over. Later in the movie, while talking to the cops, Mae slipped that Russ Jr. actually quit but was afraid to tell his dad.
  • Impact Silhouette: Adam in the second movie.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Anty.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The premise of the plot.
    • And the third movie, and a few episodes of the series. Though in the second movie, Wayne accidentally shrunk Nick (again) and his girlfriend Mandy when he shrank Diane and Adam back to normal size. But they don't mind getting some alone time.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dr. Hendrickson from Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.
  • Ironic Echo: "Weird family."
  • It's a Small World After All: (And we're not even going for Incredibly Lame Pun here!) Russ Jr. and Nick get caught on a bumble bee and flown all over the yard, inexplicably being dropped off not far from Amy and Ron.
  • It's All Our Fault: Diane feels this way, and its more than just the kids getting shrunk.
    Diane: Somehow I feel this is all our fault.
    Wayne: It's my fault. I should have been more careful with the machine.
    Diane: That's not what I mean. It's not important that I sold another house or you getting a grand this year or the next, we just gotta get our family back.
  • Jerk Jock: Ricky in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Russ Sr.
  • Jerkass: Ron, initially. He isn't such a jerk by the end of the movie, though.
    • Dr. Hendrickson in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid..
    • Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves features a similar but distinct instrumental theme in the opening credits.
  • Kids Wilderness Epic: The first movie spends a lot of time in the backyard, playing it up for all its hazards.
  • Kiss of Life: Russ performs this on Amy without doing chest compressions, and it somehow still works. They do show her coughing up the mud she inhaled when she comes around, though.
  • Late to the Punchline: Russ told Nick in the middle of the movie that he learned CPR (which he used to save Amy's life) from French Class. At the end of the movie:
    Nick: Hey wait! I get it! FRENCH CLASS!
    • Which could also serve as a meta-example, given that a kid watching this movie might not get that joke until several years later.
  • Leaving Audience: Happens to Wayne Szalinski.
  • Line in the Sand: Russ Thompson Sr. willingly volunteers to be the test subject to see if the repaired shrink ray will work.
  • Mama Bear: From Honey, I Blew Up The Kid:
    Diane: (Quietly and dangerously) "Doctor Hendrickson, that looked like some sort of rifle that you were shooting at my baby."
    Dr. Hendrickson: "They were tranquilizer cartridges, they wouldn't have hurt him, I assure you."
    Diane: (sarcastic laughing) "Tranquilizer cartridges..." (KNOCKS OUT Hendrickson)
    Wayne: (to Adam) "Never cross mommy."
    • And, moments befor that, when she also turned into a giant, stopped the helicopter Hendrickson was in, trying to shoot her baby with said tranquilizers.
  • Medium Awareness
  • Miraculous Malfunction: A stray baseball landing on the shrinking machine is what actually makes it work. Though Wayne is able to figure out why the baseball made the machine functional, and replicate the results.
  • Mistaken for Quake: The movie has what Ron mistakes for an earthquake actually turn out to be a remote-controlled lawn mower. As the kids are a quarter of an inch tall, this means things have gone From Bad to Worse.
  • Mood Whiplash: A romantic scene between Russ Jr. and Amy in the first movie suddenly turns into a moment of sheer terror when the scorpion turns up...
  • Motivation on a Stick: The shrunken kids do this with Anty and a discarded piece of food.
  • Mouthy Kid: Ron.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Wayne, after realizing his kids have shrunk, when he looked at his broom...
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes:
    Nick: "When we crashed, my entire life flashed before my eyes. It didn't take too long."
  • Never My Fault: After Ron accidentally hits his baseball through the Szalinskis' attic window:
    Russ: Just tell 'em what you did.
    Ron: It never would've happened if the house wasn't so close!
    Russ: He hit a baseball through your attic window.
    Amy: He what?
    Ron: It shouldn't have been closed in the first place; it's a nice day!
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, released in 1997, is set in 2000.
  • No Antagonist
  • No OSHA Compliance: The shrink ray faced the attic door and they left the door to the attic unlocked with minors in the house despite the fact that the ray was capable of blowing things up. Add to this the lawn mower left outside and available for minors to use unsupervised.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: After Wayne tests the shrink ray on Russell Sr. and subsequently resizes him, Russ Sr. finds that his baseball cap is a little big for him.
  • Object Tracking Shot: A complex system at the beginning of Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves makes it easier for the Szalinskis to get their mail.
  • Oh, Crap: A LOT of these throughout the series.
    • To name one example: "No, worse! LAWNMOWER!"
    • A notable facial equivalent occurs in the first film: after Wayne noticed the shrunken couch and realized that his shrink ray did work and, in fact, shrunk the kids, he begins carefully searching for them on the attic floor... only to bump into his broomnote .
      • It doesn't end there! The next shot has him outside examining the trash bag and noticing the rip... causing him to realize that the kids are in the backyard.
    • Then, in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, this exchange happens right after Wayne and Clifford Sterling figure out that it's electromagnetic fluxes that are causing Adam's growth spurts:
    Marshall Brooks: Would this electromagnetic... would it surround neon lights too?
    Wayne: Yeah, why?
    Marshall Brooks: Your kid. He's heading toward Las Vegas.
    Diane, Wayne and Clifford Sterling: (in unison) UH-OH.
  • Papa Wolf: Russ Sr.
  • Pet's Homage Name: Bumbling inventor Wayne has a dog named Quark.
  • Pride: The only possible reason why Russ Sr. didn't tell his fishing buddy the truth why he couldn't go.
    Russ Sr. Eighty bucks, Mae! Nonrefundable! Those kids are grounded!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Clifford Sterling in the Honey I Blew Up the Kid.
  • Rescue Romance: Russ Jr. and Amy suddenly get very friendly after he saves her life.
  • Running Gag: Diane faints in each movie upon the reveal of the shrink ray's effects.
    • Though in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, it was Mitch. Mostly because his potassium is running low.
  • Scary Scorpions: Oh dear God.
  • Scavenged Punk: There are shades of this as the kids begin to piece together some makeshifts equipment out of full sized scraps.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: The Thompsons after the first movie, only mentioned once by Nick in passing.
    • Bit of a Justified Trope since Wayne and his family move. No reason to think their neighbors, the Thompsons would move with them.
    • Nick and Amy were each only mentioned once in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (when Adam talks with Diane about going to baseball camp), replaced by cousins Mitch and Jenny.
  • Shoo the Dog: Attempted with Anty.
  • Shout-Out: In the sequel, when Wayne and Diane are looking for the boxed-up shrink ray in the warehouse, there is a very clear shot of him standing in front of a crate labeled "ARK OF THE COVENANT".
    • In the first movie, there's a shoutout to the classic movie To Have and Have Not when Amy says to Russel "You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and blow."
    • The original shrink ray's display seems evocative of the digitizing laser's in TRON (and the equipment is even tested on a piece of fruit).
  • Square/Cube Law: Obviously broken for Rule of Funny; otherwise, the kids would be crushed by air pressure by virtue of not having an insectoid exoskeleton. And the baby wouldn't have the strength to stand up when he's 50 feet tall.
  • Team Pet: Anty, to an extent.
  • Tempting Fate: When the kids take refuge from the lawnmower in an earthworm tunnel:
    Nick: I think we'll be safe in here.
    (lawnmower rests on top of an exit in the tunnel, resulting in Nick suddenly getting sucked towards it)
  • This Is no Time to Panic
    Ron: They're never gonna find us! We were right under their noses and they didn't even see us!
    Russ Jr.: Don't panic, Ron. We'll... we'll find a way.
    Ron: (panicking) I'm not panicked! Who's panicked? NOBODY'S PANICKED!
  • Tim Taylor Technology: Inverted, the shrink ray only works by using less power. Go figure.
  • Title Drop:
    Wayne (in the first movie): I shrunk the kids.
    (in the second movie): I blew up the baby.
    • And at the end of the second movie, Wayne title drops the full name of the first movie.
  • Totally Radical: Ron sometimes talks like this. Given his age and the time the first film was made, it's not too offputting.
  • Verbal Tic: Mae keeps shushing Russ Sr.
    • The male cop in the first film, all he says is "mm-hmm".
  • Wild Teen Party: Happens in the third movie, while the parents are shrunk.
  • Window Pain
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Russ Sr. is happy Ron so psyched about the fishing trip. He wonders why can't Russ Jr. be like Ron. Mae just tells him to give him a chance.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    (mysterious sound appears)
    Ron: What's that?
    Amy (nervously while looking up): Or more like a swarm of...
    Nick: Bees!
  • Your Size May Vary: Nick mentions they're a quarter of an inch tall, but they're still able to ride a bee, and an ant, and fit inside a cheerio.

Alternative Title(s):

Honey I Blew Up The Kid