Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Randal Kleiser|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, guess the running shoe brand|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Let me see - I want to do a sequel to Honey, I Shrunk The Kids in which we shrunk the kids, then blew them back up to normal size. Hey, how about we blow up the kids and then shrink them back again? Oh, that sounds like a whiz bang of an idea for a sequel - lets make it. But even better lets make the kids just a cute little baby boy so that we get the mommies out there into sympathetic mode.
I know I am a cynic at heart but I really cannot see that the pitch for this film did not go exactly along those lines - it is just too d*** obvious (not withstanding the fact that the film was originally called Big Baby and not intended to be a sequel).
And so it is that three years after Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, the first of the sequels emerged: Honey, I Blew Up The Kid. This is one of those unfortunately not-too-rare occurrences where the title gives away the whole story of the film.
On the strength of the success of his amazing matter shrinking device, as seen in the first movie, Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) has caught the corporate gravy train and has relocated to Las Vegas to continue working on the commercialisation of his invention. Naturally wife Diane (Marcia Strassman), daughter Amy (Amy O'Neill), son Nick (Robert Oliveri) and baby son Adam (Daniel and Joshua Shalikar) are along for the ride (albeit briefly in the case of Amy). With things not being all that hunky dory at work thanks to a condescending "boss" in Dr Hendrickson (John Shea), inevitably they only get worse when Wayne's latest brainwave to make the enlarging process work turns out to be the bottom of a certain well known cool drink manufacturer's bottle. So whilst testing his theory, Adam gets zapped and starts to grow rather large - with the inevitable problems that creates in a suburban home. Cue the hijinks as Wayne and Diane try to resolve the situation.
Once again the plot holes are the size of the Nevada desert, but that is not the main problem here. The cutesy aspect of the film really drags the whole thing down and watching endless snippets of singing baby to sleep, dancing with baby to keep his attention and so on really does result in the film dragging. All things considered, Amy probably had the right idea in making a cameo and then jumping ship. There is little if anything here that is genuinely funny and certainly the acting and directing did not improve here. Of course part of the former is simply due to the fact that you cannot expect a two year old kid to have the acting chops of a Lawrence Olivier and so with said kid being the focus of the entire story, it suffers in consequence. The special effects are not so special at times, adding a leaden weight to proceedings too.
All in all, even huge fans of the original film would be hard-pressed to find nice things to say about this sequel. I know I am.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which accords with the original theatrical release. Despite the suggestion made on the packaging, the transfer is actually 16x9 enhanced.
This is something of an improvement in most respects over the transfer afforded the original film, but not by a whole lot. Sharpness is somewhat better, lacking the obvious softness of the original film's transfer, but with just enough to take the fine sharpness of the transfer. Definition is almost very good and the overall detail level is unlikely to cause too many concerns. The opening credits exhibit some grain but that is basically where the problem remains and only a very minor grain issue was noted thereafter. Shadow detail is good and were it not for some film dirt the clarity of the transfer would have almost been very good.
The colours come up a little better this time too. Whilst there is still a dearth of really vibrant, bright primary colours, the night-time in Las Vegas is not too bad and the look is not as flat as the original film. Vibrancy is improved overall but there would certainly have been loads of scope for something even better. Black levels are decent but not spectacular. Despite the potential for a problem, in the end saturation was kept at a decent level and no oversaturation was noted. Colour bleed appeared to have been kept in check too.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Unfortunately, one area where the film does get decidedly worse than in the original film transfer is in film-to-video artefacts. Whilst individually there are none that I would call really gross, there is a high consistency in their presence that tends to detract somewhat from the enjoyment of the film. Aliasing is the major offender: it can be seen just about everywhere to a greater or lesser extent. The more obvious examples are on the roof at 3:35, the blinds at 4:09, the playpen at 4:49, the microwave on numerous occasions, the picture at 15:40, the van on numerous occasions and so on. Moiré artefacting can also be seen on the roof at 3:35 and on the shirt at 46:42. Film artefacts are less of a problem here although film dirt would seem to be a problem in the opening credits and there are a few black dirt specks floating around.
This is a single sided, single layered DVD so there is no layer change.
Just for a bit of inconsistency in the presentation of the box set in which you will find this title, one of the subtitle options (Finnish) has gone, leaving just the five options. The English and English for the Hearing Impaired efforts are very good and no major omissions were noted.
There is just the one soundtrack on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
The dialogue comes up well in the soundtrack and there are no problems understanding what was being said. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync.
The original music score comes from Bruce Broughton and a staggeringly uninspired piece of work it is too. However, given the uninspired nature of the film, that was not the least bit surprising.
Whilst it has probably even less to do than the soundtrack of the original film, this seems to do a slightly better job overall. There is some nice surround encoding here, no more so than around the 29:00 mark where the baby noises are nicely dealt with in the front surrounds whilst the dialogue continues in the centre channel. There are not too many opportunities for such encoding but when they arise they certainly seem to be fairly well handled. The low frequency effects channel gets a fair run at times too, especially when baby starts dancing. But we cannot ignore the fact that this is still a quite predominantly dialogue driven film and the soundtrack reflects that.
|Surround Channel Use|
They was blown up I tell you...
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Whilst there is once again a distinct lack of any reliable reviews of the DVD, it does appear that the Region 1 release of the film is again as bereft of extras as the Region 4. It too is also apparently missing a widescreen presentation. On the other hand, the Region 1 release is available as a separate DVD to purchase, rather than being part of a box set, although as I write this I am battling to explain why that is actually an advantage. Still, the Region 4 release would again have to be the better choice I would think. The Region 2 release appears to be the same as the Region 4.
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids was hardly a great film, but was slightly better than Honey, I Blew Up The Kid. Whilst I can still enjoy the first film, there is nothing about the sequel that I really find at all engaging. Too much cutesy stuff is included to the detriment of some decent storyline-advancing stuff (just how much stuff of a kid running around a house was really necessary as opposed to just being filler?). If the first film was the cinematic equivalent of a Chinese meal, then the sequel is the cinematic equivalent of burnt toast. At least it gets a slightly better transfer if that is any help.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|