Should I Watch..? Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
What's the BIG deal?
Honey, I Blew Up The Kid is a comic family sci-fi film released in 1992 and is the sequel to the 1989 film Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. Star Rick Moranis returned to the role of wacky inventor Wayne Szalinski who accidentally exposes hid toddler son Adam to a growth ray, causing him to grow to an enormous size. The film's cast also includes Marcia Strassman, Keri Russell, Robert Oliveri, John Shea and Lloyd Bridges. Made only three years after the first film, the film received a mixed reaction from critics and audiences themselves were unimpressed as the film's worldwide takings were around $76 million - around a third of the total of the first film. The film would be followed by a third film in the series Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves which was released direct to video, signalling the end of the series.
What's the BIG idea?
Five years have passed since crackpot inventor Wayne Szalinski accidentally shrunk his children with his home-made shrink ray. Now living and working in Las Vegas, Wayne is heading up research at Sterling Labs on a similar device that can enlarge objects instead. Bullied by his resentful manager Charles Hendrickson, Wayne's work with his fellow scientists appears to be baring fruit. Visiting the labs with his two-year-son Adam, Wayne attempts to use the growth gun on Adam's stuffed bunny but unknowingly manages to hit Adam instead during an unexplained power surge. With no visible changes to either Adam or the bunny, Wayne goes home disheartened.
But it quickly appears as though Adam is far from well as exposure to electricity causes him to grow at a phenomenal rate. After surging to seven feet tall and causing chaos around the house, Adam continues to grow at such a rate that Wayne and his disbelieving wife Diane are unable to get things under control. As Adam escapes the house and causes mayhem wherever he comes, Wayne must quickly think of a solution before Adam comes to any harm - or anyone else, for that matter...
Daniel & Joshua Shalikar
Dr Charles Hendrickson
Thom Eberhardt, Peter Elbling & Garry Goodrow *
Release Date (UK)
5th February, 1993
Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
What gets a BIG thumbs up?
The movie is essentially an updated "creature feature" like Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman but played for laughs instead. Sure enough, there are some old-fashioned giggles to be had as Adam waddles his way through Las Vegas and people run in screaming terror. But boy, does the film make us wait for such antics! Until then, this is an extremely formulaic family comedy with a hokey script and a game cast trying their best. Moranis holds the film together as the scientist whose confidence about the situation rapidly disappears once his toddler smashes a hole through the side of his house. The only other memorable cast members were Shea as the constantly sneering villain and Bridges as the benevolent billionaire funding Szalinski's work. I still expected him to pull a handkerchief through his ears, though.
The effects are adequate and certainly not as spectacular as they were in the first film. The earlier scenes with Adam in the house are better than the latter scenes as Adam chases his parents around the house and smashes doors off their hinges. But considering this film's budget was twice that of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, I can't help feeling that they blew it somehow.
- The script originally started life as a stand-alone film called Big Baby until Disney saw the potential in a sequel to Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. The script was rewritten with existing characters replacing those in the original script - unfortunately, this meant that there was no room left for the elder Szalinski daughter Amy who is sent to college at the film's start.
- A lawsuit was filed against Disney in 1991 by Paul Alter, who claimed to have conceived the idea of a giant baby for his screenplay Now That's A Baby! The complaint was upheld and Disney were forced to pay $300'000 in 1993.
- Vegas landmarks seen in the film include the Hard Rock Café, the Mirage and Fremont Street. The "Wet 'n' Wild" water park where Mandy is introduced closed in 2004.
So what's the BIG issue?
Aside from the film's average special effects, there are other issues as well. There seems to be a strange lack of enthusiasm from the cast who labour to get any real laughs from the material (apart from the toddlers playing Adam, who simply look to be having a whale of a time) and even the film's running time suggests that the one-joke premise was stretched too far. Strassman, Oliveri and Russell seem to become surplus to requirements once the film finally gets going - the latter to are placed in mild peril when Adam picks them up but generally speaking, that's it. They don't contribute anything memorable to the film.
The story really is too weak to support a feature film with gaping gaps in logic and cohesion. Why does Adam only grow when exposed to electricity like microwaves, television or direct current - and correct me if I'm wrong but isn't only one of those things actually electricity? By the time the finale arrived during the stand-off in downtown Vegas, I had already lost interest to the point where I wasn't bothered about any of the characters. The film has also dated quite badly compared to the first film but that shouldn't be that surprising given how old the concept is.
So what's the BIG decision?
I wanted to enjoy Honey, I Blew Up The Kid because at heart, there's a workable concept there that could have provided big laughs. But the film's poor production values and lame script fail to capitalise on the idea and the film instead resorts to being a overly kiddie-friendly mess that will only really entertain the youngest of viewers. I won't say my hopes were as high as Adam's shoulders but I do feel as though the film is a massive let-down, especially compared to the more enjoyable first film.
Great For: very young viewers, fans of Rick Moranis
Not So Great For: fans of the first film, anyone looking for all-round family entertainment, 100 foot toddlers
Any other BIG ideas?
The obvious recommendation is the first film which, despite its age, is much more enjoyable and imaginative. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids does exactly what it says on the tin, reducing the size of the Szalinski children and the neighbours kids before unknowingly throwing them out into the backyard with the trash. Truly an epic adventure of tiny proportions, the film is a firm favourite among adults who watched it the first time around and younger converts.
Unsurprisingly, this film's plot closely mirrors that of another - The Amazing Colossal Man is a cult classic sci-fi from 1957 which sees Glenn Langan's military officer exposed to plutonium radiation and who quickly grows to over 60 feet tall before heading to nearby Las Vegas to wreck havoc there. It's certainly not a great film - both it and its sequel were covered on the cult show Mystery Science Theatre 3000 - but if you're going to catch a film like this then this is as good a place as any to start. At least it's a recognisable human trashing the place and not Godzilla.
© 2015 Benjamin Cox