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.
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 Parks3-D MovieShort 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
Fridge Brilliance: He hid his cigarettes in the hat; his wife may have removed them while holding it.
Object Tracking Shot: A complex system at the beginning of Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves makes it easier for the Szalinskis to get their mail.
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 Earlier, frustrated with his supposedly nonfunctional shrink ray, Wayne beat the crap out of it, resulting in bits of it to fly off and on to the floor... which he swept up into a garbage bag... along with the kids.
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.
The Other Darrin: Diane (Marcia Strassman in the first two movies, Eve Gordon in the third movie).
The entire cast, in the TV show.
Within the TV show, Quark, who was a white terrier in the original movie, is inexplicably a larger, black-and-white dog named Matese in season one, and is replaced with another terrier in season two — as a plot point.
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."
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.