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It came as no surprise when we first heard last year that Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was getting a reboot called Shrunk starring Josh Gad. After all, it’s a Disney property, and reboots, remakes and sequels of nostalgic properties are a huge part of Disney’s big and small screen strategies. The Sandlot, The Mighty Ducks, Turner and Hooch and Willow are all getting series on Disney+, and Home Alone and Hocus Pocus will be getting new movies on the streaming service. It was only a matter of time before Joe Johnston’s 1989 film got tapped.
But what makes the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids reboot Shrunk particularly interesting is that it’s not a reboot. It’s a sequel. Not only that, it is unique among the aforementioned properties in that Shrunk will be a theatrical release. However, the most exciting thing about Shrunk is that Rick Moranis is at long last coming out of retirement to reprise the role of inventor Wayne Szalinski.
Before this news came out and the reboot was first reported on, if you had asked fans of the original movie what the number one most important ingredient to a successful new Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie would be, I suspect many would answer Rick Moranis. So Moranis’ return is exciting and turned Shrunk into a must see.
That being said, Rick Moranis’ return, while a highly encouraging sign for Shrunk, does not guarantee success. Therefore, it is worth considering the other things that the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel can do to succeed, such as the following five ideas:
While I’m open to something entirely new, I think there are only so many permutations you can do with this premise. This might be nostalgia talking, but I think this series needs to get back to what it did best, and that means sending the shrunken kids on an outdoor adventure. Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves worked well with the adults shrunk inside the house, but we’ve seen that kind of thing more recently in films like Ant-Man and, to a lesser extent, Toy Story. It’s time to go back outside.
Putting the kids outdoors would give Shrunk a real adventure feel and could capture some of the mild scariness of the original. In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Nick was a nerdy kid with a ton of allergies who had to brave the wilderness of the backyard. Perhaps this film can have a subtle message for kids to go outside by again throwing an indoor kid into an outdoors adventure. Plus, we can get more insect friends, which is a must. Rest in power, Anty.
A Great Cast
A great cast is not an absolute guarantee of success, but adding talented people certainly won’t hurt Shrunk. At the moment, we only know of two actors set to star in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel: Josh Gad and Rick Moranis, who will play Nick Szalinski and, of course, Wayne Szalinski, respectively. Having Rick Moranis involved is a great start, but needless to say there are more actors who will be added, and while the adult actors will be important, the kids are even more so.
What do Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Goonies, The Mighty Ducks, Stand By Me, The Sandlot, IT and Stranger Things all have in common? A great cast of child actors. The kids don’t have to be well known, and it’s perhaps even better if they’re not. They just have to be good and have fun chemistry with one another. For any childhood adventure movie to work, you have to care about the kids, so casting is super important.
A Good Blend Of Practical Effects And CGI
When Honey, I Shrunk the Kids released in 1989, its special effects were a marvel for the time. Joe Johnston was a visual effects guy on the original Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it showed in his directorial debut. The special effects-heavy family film used a lot of practical effects like miniatures, large-scale sets, foam sculptures and robotic puppets. The result was a tiny world that felt quite big.
Sure, you can nitpick certain things, but for the most part, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids still holds up visually to this day, so I’d like to see Shrunk employ a similar practical-centric focus. The world the new characters inhabit and interact with should feel real and tangible. That doesn’t mean that CGI shouldn’t be used. On the contrary, CGI can be used to achieve effects practical cannot and to enhance things to make Shrunk look much better and feel more immersive overall.
Acknowledge The Past
If Disney chose to just reboot the property entirely with a straight remake of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, there wouldn’t be any sort of requirement to address what came before. But instead, Shrunk will be a sequel to a series that already has three entries. I think it is important that the past events and continuity be acknowledged in a real way, particularly when it comes to the characters.
There are some rumors out there about the plot and characters in the film, but we haven't learned much other than Josh Gad’s Nick Szalinski will wind up shrinking his own kids. What we don’t know is whether the other Szalinski kids Amy and Adam will be involved in any way. The same goes for their mom Diana, who rumors indicate may have passed away before Shrunk begins. I don’t know if Disney would bring back Amy O’Neill or Bug Hall for a cameo, but these characters have played major roles in this franchise, so we need to know where they are now.
Don’t Go Too Big
This one is important. If you didn’t know anything about this sequel, you’d probably guess that Shrunk would be coming to Disney+. But instead, the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel will be a theatrical release, and while that is exciting for a whole host of reasons, including a potentially bigger budget and the opportunity to see Rick Moranis on the big screen again, it also raises the concern that Disney will be tempted to make this movie too big.
Disney’s theatrical slate mainly consists of blockbusters after all, but the Mouse House needs to resist making this franchise into something it’s not. This isn’t Ant-Man; I don’t want to see the world at stake or a CGI extravaganza. The original Honey, I Shrunk the Kids works because while the tech is impressive and the concept fantastical, at its core it is a childhood adventure story that says things about family and friendship. So Shrunk should stay small.
These are just a few ideas to make Shrunk as meaningful and memorable as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was. If done well, Shrunk will appeal to a whole new generation of kids while still hitting a nostalgic sweet spot for fans of the original. And hey, even if it’s terrible, at least Rick Moranis is back!
Shrunk does not have a release date yet, but we’ll keep you updated. For films that do have release dates, check out our 2020 Release Schedule. Let us know what you want from Shrunk in the comments below and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest movie news.