Study Guide

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Science

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AMY: I've got to hang around a while and keep an eye on Nick. He likes to take things apart.

Nick is a total chip off the old block. For instance, the movie opens with him creating a tiny scale replica of his dad's patented shrink ray machine, which both shows how much he admires his dad as well as how smart he is.

NICK: You know, Dad, I was calculating—if you took all the all molecules in this house… 

WAYNE: Listen, Nick, I've got to get this working before I leave. Why don't you go help your sister?

Despite the fact that Nick takes after his dad's prodigious intelligence and fascination with science, Wayne Szalinski doesn't pay much attention to his son's attempts to connect. What's up with that? Our best guess is that he's too focused on his own scientific experimentation to pay attention to the human side of the equation. Talk about missing out on a key variable.

WAYNE: If this thing works, this'll put us up there with the invention of electricity, the first man in space.

It might sound a little ambitious, but Wayne's shrink ray truly has the potential to change the world. This also goes a long way towards explaining his laser focus on this pet project, which comes at the expense of his relationship to his wife and children.

WAYNE: Given that my machine can substantially reduce the size of bulky payloads and fuel supplies, the savings to the space program would be staggering.

These are a few great examples of the potential uses of Wayne's shrink ray. Think about how much easier it would be to ship life-saving medical supplies to people in need if you could make them a fraction of their size during transportation. Think about how many landfills polluting the planet could be shrunk down to the size of a penny in an instant.

[Both Nick and Ron are shrunk by Mr. Szalinski's machine after Ron hits the machine with a baseball.]

This might seem like a silly way to make an invention work, but scientific history is littered with accidents that end up creating something amazing. Take penicillin, for example: this life-saving substance wasn't discovered on purpose at all.

RON: What if time shrunk too? I mean, what if it's hours to us, but it's years to the rest of the world?

This sounds like the sort of half-baked philosophical conversations that are happening in every dorm room in America as we speak. Far out, man. Still, as Nick points out, this sort of navel-gazing isn't backed up by science in the least.

[Diane finds Wayne asleep after working all night to repair the shrink ray.]

Ironically, Wayne works harder than ever on his shrink ray once his children's safety depends on its repair. Maybe he doesn't need to choose between scientific success and his family after all.

BIG RUSS: You're not trying it on my kids until you try it on something living. [...] Do it on me.

Although Big Russ is the jerkiest of jerks for the bulk of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, he proves his love for his family by volunteering to be the test subject for the newly repaired shrink ray. It might not be the flashiest job, but it's a crucial part of any scientific innovation.

NICK: I was right, wasn't I? It was the ball, wasn't it? 

WAYNE: You were right. You were brilliant.

We've got so many feels right now—can anyone shrink them for us? Jokes aside, it's a beautiful thing that science becomes the point of connection between Wayne and his son Nick.

[The Szalinskis and Thompsons sit down for a meal together, which consists of comically oversized food items.]

We talked a little bit about the practical applications of Wayne's shrink ray technology, but we totally neglected to mention its impact on Thanksgiving dinner. Giant turkeys. Basketball sized potatoes. Macaroni the size of your pet cat. It's a dream.

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