Marvel Studios released Ant-Man this weekend. For those of you still unfamiliar, Ant-Man can shrink himself down to the size of… you know… an ant. He can also, apparently, communicate with ants as well. But, seeing as how there aren’t that many movies where people do that, we’re going to focus on the shrinking part as we take a look (with a magnifying glass) at some of the best movies where people get miniaturized.
Innerspace was directed by Joe Dante, and it’s essentially about Dennis Quaid getting miniaturized and being injected inside Martin Short. We need to point out two things. One — Joe Dante is the man who directed Gremlins (and its sequel), Explorers, and Matinee. Two — out of all of these films, this is the only one that ever won an Oscar (Best Visual Effects). Not only is it a cool science fiction flick, but also a pretty damn funny comedy thanks to he winning grin of Quaid’s and Martin Short’s dynamic physical comedy skills.
It was the 1960s — an era where a movie about shrinking people could be described as a “cold-war thriller”. That’s exactly what Fantastic Voyage was, too, and a pretty good one at that. The United States and the Soviet Union are in a race to develop and protect the one technology that can help them win — miniaturization. When the Soviet scientist who has done just that defects to America and is shot, it’s up to a team of scientists to shrink down and save his life.
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
There was a time when if a Hollywood studio needed someone to play a nerdy scientist or accountant, all they had to do was push a button on their desk and it would immediately put them in touch with Rick Moranis. In this family classic, the SCTV star played a scientist who has developed a ray that can — well, you probably know what it does by now. Unfortunately, both his and his neighbors’ kids get shrunk (hence the title) and end up in the backyard. The film was followed by Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (they made it bigger, they didn’t actually blow up a baby), and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. If Ant-Man makes all the money this weekend, look for some wiz-kid at Disney to suggest a reboot.
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Imagine taking a leisurely boat ride, attempting to relax and let the weight of the world get off your shoulder. Then, imagine getting rained on. Now, imagine that rain is radioactive and it’s making you shrink. Now, imagine a kitten because, geez, that’s just insane. This is what happens to Scott Carey, who becomes The Incredible Shrinking Man. Based on the Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) novel, The Shrinking Man (Matheson also wrote the screenplay) film explores how this unthinkable condition affects Carey and also has him fight a spider. That part is so awesome, you guys.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
In 1981, Joel Schumacher (Falling Down, Batman and Robin) directed Lilly Tomlin (Nine to Five) in what was, essentially, a remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man. This time around, Tomlin is The Incredible Shrinking Woman. After getting sprayed with perfume (oh, wait, it gets better), her shrinking eventually makes her a national celebrity — famous enough to get her kidnapped by mad scientists who want to discover the secret to her condition so they can take over the world muahahahahahaha. In the end, she’s rescued by a gorilla and her condition is cured.
(Trailer may be NSFW)
When tough space cop Brick Bardo is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, his quest for redemption leads to him being teleported to Earth — and being shrunk down to thirteen inches! Dollman (because he’s really small, you guys) stars Tim Thomerson from Trancers and the pilot for the first Flash TV-series. Like Trancers, Dollman is low-budget and doesn’t take itself too seriously — as you can probably tell by the trailer.
Attack of the Puppet People
When The Incredible Shrinking Man tore it up at the box office in the 1950s, producer/director Bert I. Gordon took one look at it and thought “Shrinking! That’s the ticket!” (He may not have actually said that) In 1958, Gordon directed and released Attack of the Puppet People. Kindly old Mr. Frantz runs a seemingly benign doll factory – except that a.) people are disappearing from it and b.) some of these new dolls are really lifelike. If you’ve never seen a Bert I. Gordon film, they’re actually a lot of fun — a number of them have been made into Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. This one is a good, weird romp.
As usual, this is just a small list — you got a favorite movie where people get shrunk and have to fight bugs or something? Be sure to let us know about all the omissions from this list in the comments.