Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves

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Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Dean Cundey
Produced by Barry Bernardi
Written by Karey Kirkpatrick
Nell Scovell
Joel Hodgson
Based on Characters by
Stuart Gordon
Brian Yuzna
Ed Naha
Starring Rick Moranis
Eve Gordon
Bug Hall
Robin Bartlett
Stuart Pankin
Allison Mack
Jake Richardson
Music by Michael Tavera
Cinematography Ray Stella
Edited by Charles Bornstien
Distributed by Walt Disney Home Video
Release dates

March 18, 1997 (1997-03-18)

runtime = 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million

Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves is a 1997 live-action direct-to-video sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. It is the third and final film in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids trilogy. The directorial debut of cinematographer Dean Cundey and released through Walt Disney Home Video, it tells the story of the "nutty" inventor Wayne Szalinski as he accidentally shrinks his wife, brother, sister-in-law, and himself with his electromagnetic shrink ray.

Rick Moranis returns to portray Wayne Szalinski. He is the only returning cast member from the previous films. His wife, Diane, is portrayed by Eve Gordon, and their youngest son Adam, now a preteen, is played by Bug Hall. Amy and Nick have gone off to college (as discussed between Diane and Adam in the film) and the Szalinskis' pet dog Quark has died (as never discussed in the film). This film includes Wayne's extended family, including his brother Gordon and his wife, Patti. Unlike the first film, where the kids had to get their parents' attention, the parents have to get their kids' attention.

Only a few months after this film was released, the Disney Channel picked up a show based on the Szalinskis' troubles: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show. It starred Peter Scolari in the role of Wayne. This was the last incarnation of the franchise; this is also Disney's first live-action movie to get a direct-to-video release.

This was Rick Moranis' final live-action role before his subsequent retirement from acting.

Plot[edit]

Eight years following the events of the previous film, Adam Szalinski has grown to be an active ten-year-old boy with an interest in sports; a fact that seems alien to his parents Wayne and Diane. Nick, like his sister has moved out of the house and Wayne has become the president of his own company Szalinski Labs alongside his brother Gordon. The two men get a chance to view a space shuttle launch, but Diane interrupts the message reminding him that they need to watch Adam and his cousins Mitch and Jenny while she and Gordon's wife Patti take a trip to a Wayne Newton concert. When they arrive, they are not at all interested in the scientific activities that Wayne and Gordon have planned for them, but they are sent to the store to gather supplies for it. Meanwhile, Patti realizes that she had forgotten to give Mitch his bottle of pills for his potassium deficiency and the women head back to the house. While the kids are out of the house, Wayne and Gordon decide to use a new shrink ray to shrink a Tiki-Man (which Diane explicitly instructed Wayne to get rid of) down to a size where she won't even notice it. However, a pool ball falls onto the button when they are looking for the shrunken object and they themselves are shrunk. Diane and Patti discover the shrink ray and they are shrunk when another pool ball falls, leading Diane to discover Wayne's deception.

The kids return from the store, but Patti's car brakes failed, sending it unsuspectingly into another yard, after hearing Wayne's message from earlier, the kids believe themselves to be alone for the night. Using a fishing hook, the adults lower themselves down into Adam's room, where Wayne discovers his son's love of sports. They then decide to try and get the kids' attention by getting downstairs using a matchbox car on a racing track, but the plan goes awry and they fall into the laundry, only to be brought back upstairs by Jenny who is discussing plans with her friend for a small party. They are brought back upstairs and have to make their way back down to try again to get their attention. Jenny's friends arrive to have fun, and they bring out a bubble blower. The adults decide to use the bubbles to float safely down to the living room, and the women land safely, but Wayne and Gordon end up in the dip and are nearly eaten before they are dropped out of the bowl. Patti and Diane go into the kitchen to try and push Mitch's pills into view and they encounter a daddy long legs, trapped in a roach motel. Diane realizes her own fears of being small, relating to the daddy long legs, which she had tried earlier to kill. They then make their way up to the counter when they notice Mitch beginning to show signs of distress, but he ignores it.

Boys crash the party including Jenny's crush Ricky King who takes her into the kitchen to talk while his friends wreck chaos at the party. Attempting to steal a kiss from Jenny, she stands up for herself, rejecting Ricky's advances and making her mother proud of the responsible way she is acting. After they go out into the living room again, Mitch arrives, weakened from his lack of potassium. He sees Patti and Diane on the counter and passes out, either from his deficiency or from the surprise of seeing them. Adam and Jenny realize Mitch's distress, and Adam remembers a lesson he learned that bananas are loaded with potassium, and he begins to feed Mitch bananas until he recovers. Meanwhile, the insanity of the party stops when Wayne successfully rewires the speakers as a microphone and Gordon, pretending to be the voice of God scares the partygoers out of the house. He then explains the situation to the children.

Upstairs, Jenny, Mitch and Adam discuss the merits of living without their parents. Briefly considering keeping them shrunk; but together, they decide they love their parents more and simultaneously hit the button to return them to their original sizes. Patti confides that she is proud of Jenny for how she stood up for herself and said no to what she didn't want, while Wayne tells Adam that it's fine for him to enjoy sports, and agrees to sign him up for the baseball camp that Adam wanted to sign up for. Wayne, having also rediscovered his love for inventing realizes that the more open and personable Gordon should be responsible for running the lab, while Wayne decides to return to his inventing department. Also, Diane tells Wayne that she won't sweat the small stuff anymore and that he can do whatever he wants with his Tikiman. In the last scene, the Tikiman is seen enlarged bigger than the house.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Originally, the film was going to be released in 1996 to theaters. Karey Kirkpatrick was called in to write the script, while working on James and the Giant Peach. The finished script was sent in to Jeffrey Katzenberg, who decided that the studio did not want to continue with the film. It was shelved for a few months while Kirkpatrick resumed work on James and the Giant Peach. While working on the film, Kirkpatrick learned that it was going to be picked up again.

The Walt Disney Company at the time was having success with releasing direct-to-video sequels, such as The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves. They wanted to test how live-action sequels would do, so they picked Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves to be their first.

Nell Scovell and Joel Hodgson were recruited to try to reduce Kirkpatrick's script due to the budget restraint. In Kirkpatrick's script, the group of shrunken parents would originally fall into a fishtank. The scene was cut from the script, and then revised to the bubble machine scene. One scene shows one of Wayne's inventions, a machine that translates dog barks to human speech. It is similar to the devices in the "invention exchange" Hodgson did when with Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Casting[edit]

Rick Moranis is the only returning cast member from the original films. He returns to portray “nutty” inventor Wayne Szalinski, now the head of Szalinski Labs. Marcia Strassman, who portrayed his wife Diane in the first two films and in the 3D film would not reprise her role anymore. Eve Gordon, who was best known as Marilyn Monroe in A Woman Named Jackie, was cast as Diane instead.

Their onscreen kids, Amy O'Neill and Robert Oliveri, had quit acting by the time the film was released and their characters were only mentioned in a conversation between Diane and Adam. No one replaced Amy or Nick either. Joshua and Daniel Shalikar, who portrayed Adam in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, had signed on for two additional sequels in 1992. They had reprised their role in Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, but were recast by Bug Hall.

Stuart Pankin and Robin Bartlett were cast as Gordon and Patti Szalinski, Wayne's brother and sister-in-law. Allison Mack and Jake Richardson were cast as their children, Jenny and Mitch Szalinski. Mack would later become famous as Chloe Sullivan on Smallville. Two of Jenny's friends in the film are portrayed by Mila Kunis and Lisa Wilhoit. Kunis would later portray Jackie Burkhart on That '70s Show, and voice Meg Griffin on Family Guy while Wilhoit would later voice Connie D'Amico on the same show.

Direction[edit]

The film marked Dean Cundey's directorial debut, replacing Randal Kleiser. Cundey is most-known for his cinematography on films such as Jurassic Park, Hook, and some of John Carpenter's early directorial efforts such as Halloween (as well as its first two sequels), The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York, & The Thing. Originally when the film was going to be released to theaters, the production budget was $40 million. When it was announced that the film would be released to home video, the budget was cut down to $7 million.

Due to the production cut, the studio decided to use television resolution to save money on effects by not having to pay for a projectable format. Also, the original script included that the party had gotten out of control with around 150 kids, akin to Sixteen Candles or Say Anything. This was considered too costly and it was cut down.

Despite the smaller budget, the availability of more advanced SFX technology created a more elaborate effect for the shrinking and enlarging sequences. Designer, Carol Winstead Wood worked on product placement (see below)to increase her budget enabling her to design & build more 'over scale' prop and set elements.

The film was digitally composited on three Apple Mac computers, using After Image and Ultimate software, at Cundey's home before it was sent to the Dream Quest effects company for finessing.

Product placement[edit]

In just about every scene in the kitchen, the Trix cereal box is turned directly towards the camera. Other product logos shown include Lays, Coke, Diet Coke, Tostitos, Skippy Peanut Butter, Street Sharks, Hot Wheels, Sports Illustrated for Kids, the San Francisco 49ers logo, Sony, Osco Drug, Minute Maid, and Honey Nut Cheerios. All of these products are featured throughout the movie, making it one of Disney's few films that encouraged using real-world products and companies.

Production Designer of this project, Carol Winstead Wood worked with the show's property master to find companies that would agree to have their products featured. Typically, " as a film designer, we try to avoid having our films look like a commercial" however this script was ideally suited for product placement. My original budget was not over two hundred and fifty thousand. These companies helped to increase the Art Department's budget and gave me the opportunity to "put more production value" on screen. In Honey We Shrunk Ourselves it was challenging to fabricate realistic 'over scale props' that our characters could interact with. Dean Cundey was a great director to work with, his background as a cinematographer paid off handsomely. The integration of the actors working with 'over scale props' into our computer generated backgrounds made this project one of my most interesting films and a privilege to design.

Reception[edit]

Sales[edit]

The film was released direct-to-video on March 18, 1997. It tied neck-and-neck with the video releases of The Long Kiss Goodnight and The First Wives Club.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]

Unlike the previous films, it received mostly negative reviews from critics. On the film rating website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25%, based on 8 reviews.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]