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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Honey I Shrunk The Kids
Honey I Shrunk The Kids
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // October 8, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Siechen | posted October 18, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" had one goal - to deliver a thrilling adventure of fun and excitement...and it succeeds! That elated feeling I get when I visited Disneyland as a kid is what I look for in Disney films like this. Now available on DVD, this is the family film that will have kids and their parents entertained for years to come.

Meet the Szalinkskis, a typical family of 4 with a very atypical absent-minded inventor for a father, Wayne (played by Rick Moranis) who is hard at work on his new shrink ray invention to pitch to his colleagues at work. Young Nick Szalinski wants to be just like his enthusiastic inventor dad, and does a wonderful job at showing his own ingenuity with plenty of inventions of his own. Amy Szalinski is the teenage daughter who loves boys and going to the mall. Through an accident, Ronald Thompson from next door has hit a baseball into the attic of the Szalinskis and activated Waynes Shrink Ray invention. While investigating the baseball incident, Amy, Nick, and the 2 kids next door, Russ and Ron find themselves in a world of trouble after the Shrink Ray reduces them down to the size of a BB. The parents next door, Mae, and Russel Thompson Sr. (Kristine Sutherland and Matt Frewer) become suspicious when the kids don't return home. And now in a world where everyday items are humongous in size the kids must navigate through the yard to get back to the house after accidentally being put out with the trash at the end of the yard. Adventure unfolds with danger and excitement as the kids encounter giant ants, scorpions, bees, and a lawn mower to trip them up. Wayne finally realizes that the kids have been shrunk and with help from Diane Szalinski, begins a careful and hilarious search for the kids in the back yard.

This film was directed by Joe Johnston who more recently directed Jurassic Park 3, Jumanji, and October Sky. Joe was also Art Director and Visual Effects illustrator for the Star Wars films. The production design is superb and very obviously a lot of work, imagination, and attention to detail went into it. Many of the effects still hold up nicely even after almost 14 years have passed. The scene where the kids ride the bee around is an especially amazing bit of camera work. I only wish the DVD has some extras on the making of some of these fantastic shots.

While watching this I kept imaging how cool this concept could be now as a Pixar computer animated feature. The large insects so expertly animated by Phil Tippet using stop motion techniques hold up nicely in this film and I couldn't help but think about the film, "A Bug's Life". There is something very appealing and interesting about being very small and exploring common environments around you that are now 100 times larger. The film, "The Goonies" frequently came to mind while viewing this film. They each have a lot of similarities - both have very interesting victorian neighborhoods, lots of scrappy inventions to keep it interesting, and even the score sounds very similar in many places. Each of these films caters to very similar audiences too.

VIDEO: You are NOT given a choice with this film. It's only available in a Pan & Scan Full Screen version. The colors are a bit muted and the picture lacks any real sharpness. There is also a noticeable amount of dust and even some spots on the film that they failed to clean up. Artifacts are noticeable throughout. A very big hand slap to Disney for releasing this DVD with such sloppy production value. It deserves better treatment.

AUDIO: Quality is fairly dull and lacks any punch in this 5.1 Dolby Digital track. Beyond your basic ambience, the surrounds are not engaged with this mix, and the LFE channel is very subtle. The center channel is well seperated from the left and right front for dialog.

MENUS: The menu designs are static and typical of low budget production.

BONUS MATERIALS: Absolutely none. Again, shame on Disney for not giving this film better treatment. With the production design and extensive effects work, I want to see more on the making of this film and a commentary.

Summary: While the DVD is very poorly done, if you love to tickle the kid inside you once in awhile with silly, funny, inventive, imaginative fantastic tales then this film is a great roller coaster ride, with comedy, heart, and even a giant Lego!
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