Shrinking Movies


Marvel’s Ant-Man releases in theaters this Friday (well, technically Thursday), and if you aren’t aware, the basis of his power is a suit that miniaturizes him to the size of an ant, which gives him the strength of a man at the size of an ant, as well as the power to communicate with insects telepathically. What captures the imagination about his power is the ability to shrink- Bruce Banner (the Hulk) grows huge, but Ant-Man shrinks on command.

First created in 1979, Ant-Man isn’t the first character to shrink, whether by choice or not. In honor of his unique power, I’ve pulled together a shrinking movies playlist that have plot lines revolving around shrinking or miniature characters that have stuck with me over the years. Know of more? Share in the comments!

Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951): Alice stumbles into the world of Wonderland. Will she get home? Not if the Queen of Hearts has her way. I know, I know, there’s the Tim Burton live action and a sequel of the live action coming, but I adore the original cartoon with the flamingo “dodo birds”.


Fantastic Voyage (1966): A brilliant scientist has developed a way to shrink people and other objects for brief periods of time, and wants to defect from Russia to America, but is attacked en route. In order to save the scientist from a lethal blood clot in his brain, a team of Americans use his technique to clear the clot before he dies or the miniaturization wears off. This is the basis for the TV cartoon of the same name.

The Rescuers (1977): Two mice of the Rescue Aid Society search for a little girl kidnapped by unscrupulous treasure hunters. I love the mice, and the realness of the kidnapped little girl.

secret of nimh

The Secret of NIMH (1982): To save her ill son, a field mouse must seek the aid of a colony of rats, with whom she has a deeper link than she ever suspected. I remember watching this when I was little and the rats were so scary, but I loved the bird, Jeremy, and his fascination with “sparklies”. Even now when I see sequins or glitter or jewelry, I can hear his voice in my head. 

An American Tail (1986): While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country. I remember watching this in the theater, and being so worried he wouldn’t find his family.


Innerspace (1987): A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.  I love the science in this one but then I’m a science geek. 

Beetlejuice (1988): A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house. The dinner scene where Beetlejuice possesses everyone is just one of my favorite scenes of all time.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989): The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them. I think that we wore the VHS tape out in my house, my brother loved this so much. That Guy and I tried the attraction at Epcot and I had to leave because one of the effects spooked me back when it opened (I can’t remember what now), but if you ever go to Hollywood Studios, romp around the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. 


Army of Darkness (1992): A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. If you have NOT watched this, go watch it immediately. How can you have NOT watched it?!?!?!?!

Ferngully (1992): The magical inhabitants of a rain-forest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus. Made at the height of the eco-awareness, it’s really a cute movie.


The Secret World of Arrietty (2010): The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. It’s just beautiful, and I actually prefer the Japanese version with English subtitles, because I think it matches the film more; then again, That Guy and I do that with all of Studio Ghibli’s films. 


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