Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Big Picture

Yesterday was a pretty big day.  I had auditions for the senior class play (which went well considering only five students showed up), a full day of reading in my sophomore classes (we FINALLY started Act III of the Crucible), and the CCT awards dinner (from which I won nothing, but I don't mind...the best folks did indeed win) and by the end of it all, I was fairly pooped.  You'd think I'd sleep really well after such a busy day...and yet, you'd be dead wrong.  I ate three desserts at the dinner (because I had walked up so many extra calories going back and forth across the school yesterday) and since I hadn't done that many sweets in a terribly long time, I think all the sugar kept me awake.  It was a very good day, however, and once I got into the afternoon it flew by so quickly.  However, I still had time to watch a movie before bed and here it is for your consideration.  It's probably spoiling my usual lead-up to tell you that the film is the sequel to the film I covered yesterday, but given my level of exhaustion I kinda don't care.  I suppose sometimes our emotions are just bigger than usual...which goes along with the film nicely.  It is a film about growth and size...and for once that is meant in the literal rather than in the figurative sense.  So I bring to you one of the screen's BIGGEST stories (Ok, I'll stop the puns after this) entitled Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.

The Szalinski's (Wayne, Diane, Amy, Nick, and their new 2-year old baby Adam) have moved from their Fresno, California residence into a new address in Vista Del Mar, outside of Las Vegas, due to the success of Wayne's shrinking technology.  The family still keeps the tale of how he shrank the kids on the down-low to keep Amy and Nick from being questioned, harassed, and tested and Wayne is discovering how challenging corporate science can be.  His partner (read: boss) Dr. Charles Hendrickson is constantly trying to keep Wayne from being involved in their new project, reversing the process to make things grow, and Wayne has mainly remained in the project as a figurehead because he cannot tow the line and do as he's told.  Meanwhile, Amy is leaving for college and Diane insists on going with her to help her set up in her new dorm so that leaves Wayne, Nick, and Adam to enjoy a temporary bachelorhood.  However, before you can say "sequel", Adam is accidentally exposed to Wayne's new growth-ray and starts to gradually grow in size every time he comes in contact with an electrical appliance.  Despite Nick's, Wayne's, and Diane's efforts, they cannot keep him from growing and soon Adam is a towering 112 feet tall.  It is then up to the Szalinskis and Wayne's boss Clifford Sterling to find Adam and shrink him back down to size before he destroys the city of Las Vegas completely.

Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is a hard film to like...and at the same time a hard film to dislike.  The film expands on the original characters and gives everyone, from Wayne to Diane and down to Nick (sadly excluded is Amy, who is written into going to college) more to do than the last installment.  However, the plot is so predictable and easy to figure out (I mean, you literally imagine the producers discussing the story "First he made teenagers small...what if he made a baby BIG?") that you spend much of the film waiting for things to happen rather than wondering what will happen.  There is a certain level of suspense in wondering whether Adam really will seriously hurt someone or destroy something...but after a while, you realize that nothing of the sort will really happen because as precocious as Adam is...he is ultimately gentle and merely at play.  In fact, I think if Disney had placed any of the scampering humans at Adam's feet in genuine peril that the audience would have objected and the film would have gone to much darker places than this summer blockbuster really has any right to go.  It's true that the film was rewritten from a original script into a "Honey" sequel and so the limitations of the plot's imagination isn't completely it's fault (though it's a good thing they made it a sequel...because if this were trying to look original everyone would have just compared it to the first Honey anyway).  The comedy is solid and the direction, given the limitation of the early 90s effects, is also solid so I can't fault the film there.  I really is just a highly predictable and by-the-numbers film that is fine but never a replacement for it's much superior original.

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