Australian Council on Children and the Media

Honey I Shrunk the Kids

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Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 10 (violence, scary scenes of peril, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Honey I Shrunk the Kids
  • a review of Honey I Shrunk the Kids completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 May 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to themes, perilous scenes and violence.
Children aged 6–10 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, perilous scenes and violence.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Scene of low-level violence
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) has spent ages attempting to create a shrinking machine. He has been so obsessed that it has nearly cost him his marriage. The day he realises that no one will take him seriously is the day he discovers that his machine actually works. Unfortunately, he is not there at the time and it shrinks both his daughter Amy (Amy O’Neill) and his son Nick (Robert Oliveri), along with his neighbour’s two children Ron (Jared Rushton) and Russ (Thomas Wilson Brown). When they are accidentally swept into the trash and left on the side of the street the kids must make their way back through their yard, which has suddenly become frightfully dangerous, if they are to have any hope of getting back home and getting back to their regular size.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Dysfunctional families, marital breakdown, children being separated from parents, disrespectful attitudes and children whose lives are in peril.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • During the opening credits two tiny, animated, kids flee from numerous life threatening situations such as being crushed by typewriter keys, caught in a dog’s jaws, shredded in a pencil sharpener, sucked into a vacuum, attacked by gigantic bugs, burned in a toaster, etc.
  • A man is hit with a suction arrow that winds up being super glued to his forehead.
  • An apple is repeatedly exploded by a laser beam.
  • In a fit of frustration Wayne bashes and tries to destroy his shrinking machine.
  • The kids are swept up by a broom and put into the trash. This causes them to be bashed around and hit with numerous objects.
  • A giant bee looks like it is about to attack Nick. Ron grabs hold of the bee to try to help and they both go for a wild ride around the back yard before they crash into tall grass.
  • Huge drops of water fall like bomb blasts all around the kids.
  • The kids are bucked off a large ant as they try to ride it.
  • A huge, violent scorpion tries to attack the kids, stabbing at them with his tail. The kids stab at it with sticks until it backs away.
  • Nick gets sucked out of a hole and is nearly killed by a lawn mower.
  • Nick is nearly eaten when he falls into a bowl of cereal.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There is a large ant that terrifies Amy. He looks menacing and enormous when compared to the children and they are all frightened at first. Initial images may frighten some children but the ant turns out to be friendly.
  • There is a scorpion that attacks the kids in the middle of the night, trapping Russ in a Lego brick. He is terrified and screaming as the scorpion tries to stab him with his tail. The others manage to distract the scorpion and get Russ down but they are pursued as they try to escape. Their ‘pet’ ant intervenes but is mortally wounded and the children manage to stab the scorpion with sticks until it runs away. They find the ant dying and Russ is devastated as they watch it draw its last breath. The scene is intense and suspenseful and may upset some young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Amy falls off a ledge into a muddy puddle and nearly drowns. Ron jumps in to save her but at first he cannot find her. When he manages to drag her out she is limp and unresponsive. He performs CPR and she begins to breathe again. Nick is very upset, believing that she might die.
  • Nick is sucked out of a hole by a lawn mower. He is screaming as the others try to grab him and hold on but the suction is too strong and they are all pulled out of the hole towards the blades. The mower is shut down just in the nick of time.
  • Despite all their efforts and all they’ve been through, Nick begins to cry when he realises that his parents still can’t see them and he begins to despair that they will ever be saved. Some children may be upset by the image of the children crying out for their parents and the parents just walking away.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Some children on the younger side of this age bracket may also be concerned by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • The Camel brand of cigarettes is clearly shown at one point in the film.
  • Alpo dog biscuits.
  • Nick falls into a bowl of Cheerios and uses one as a make-shift life preserver.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Amy’s mom worries about her and Ron being together at night in the dark and says that, “they had better behave themselves.”
  • Ron says that he learned his CPR skills in French class.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Amy and Ron kiss.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Ron’s dad repeatedly smokes cigarettes.
  • Adults drink wine over dinner.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Occasional name calling and other terms such as: “Dumb,” “Worm,” “Nerd face,” “Space Boy,” “Wimp,” and “Shut up!”

In a nutshell

Honey I Shrunk the Kids is a science fiction comedy with decent special effects considering it was made in the 1980’s. This is a family film in which families learn to get along and, eventually, appreciate their differences. It is suitable for children over 10 with parental guidance for ages 6-10.

The main messages from this movie are to keep trying, to stick together and to realise that family is not something to take for granted.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Persistence
  • Ingenuity
  • Courage
  • Tolerance
  • Helpfulness.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The derogatory way that men in this film speak to and treat women and the lessons this may teach their children.
  • Placing more value on things or jobs than on family and what can happen as a result.
  • Leaving dangerous machinery on or unattended, especially around children.
  • Forcing children to conform to a preconceived idea without taking into consideration their individual talents and capacities or their own personal preferences and belittling or bullying them in order to try and get them to do what you want them to.

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