Recounting a ‘memory movie’ before I launch into the formal review of it is what I generally do, but this recounting is going to be painfully short because there’s nothing extraordinary about when I first saw it. I caught it at the drive-in back in 1981 and then on cable years later. I was a fan of it back then, but back then I was in my early teens. So, there you have it, my recollection. I haven’t seen it since then and how do I think it held up? A mixed bag, I think, now that I’m grown. It feels like something more aimed at kids than adults, yeah, I can see that now, but I still enjoyed it enough that I’ll be adding it to my collection.
I’ve only seen three notable “shrinking movies” in my lifetime starting with Universal’s The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), which Shrinking Woman is obviously inspired by, plus it’s also a Universal movie, and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989). This flick has more in common with the latter than the former in that it and Honey are both scifi comedies. Incidentally, we still don’t have a blu-ray here in the U.S. of Shrinking Man, but there is one in existence in the U.K., and this past summer Disney blued Honey, but the one catch with that is you can only get it if you’re part of the Disney Movie Club.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman is a very stylized looking movie with everyone wearing bright, pastel colors that also bleed into the environment too with the Kramer household. Lily Tomlin is housewife and mother Pat Kramer who’s the movie’s ‘Shrinking Woman’ and the cause of her shrinkage is blamed on a three-fold exposure to the various products the average human uses on a daily basis (i.e. hairspray, weed killer, soap, toothpaste, glue, soap, detergent, etc), unknown environmental conditions, and a genetic component, but a great deal of blame is put on rampant consumerism her husband, Vance (Charles Grodin), also has a hand in since he’s an advertising executive who constantly exposes her to the various experimental products they intend to put out. Well, one day, out of the blue she starts shrinking, and it’s not done in private either. Her condition makes the media and she becomes famous, making life harder for her and her family, the shrinking factors in too, and she learns trying to break up her raucous kids is pretty much impossible the moment she reaches six inches high.
An “evil corporation” figures into this plot, headed by actor John Glover (In The Mouth Of Madness, Ed And His Dead Mother) as the head of a toy company. Their plans seem to be to acquire Pat, get her blood and derive a serum that can be put into the water supply and basically shrink everyone in the world, leaving them the only normal-sized humans. Pat is eventually captured and housed in a gerbil cage in a lab with a caged gorilla played by FX artist Rick Baker and monitored by lab assistant, Rob (Mark Blankfield of Jekyll And Hyde, Together Again). This part of the movie gets a bit too slapsticky for me. It does have a happy ending; right after it fakes you out with the downbeat one where we think Pat has finally shrunk out of existence, but she ends up in a pool of various chemicals that reverts her back to normal again—with a twist I would’ve liked to have seen in a sequel. Before the movie ends we see she may still be growing leading us to the logical conclusion she’ll be fifty feet tall eventually!
Most of the shrinking scenes still hold up as they used the tried and true oversized props and sets to make Tomlin look tiny. Tomlin also plays a couple of other characters in the movie too, a neighbor named, Judith Beasley, and a telephone operator based on a character in the comedy variety show she was a part of in the late 60s, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1967-1973). Sadly, I’m actually old enough to remember that show and that character.
Universal first released this on disc as a DVD-R from their Vault Series MOD Program in 2009, they then re-released it as a pressed disc this past summer, both of which are still in print. This debut blu-ray comes courtesy of Shout! Factory’s second sub-label, Shout Select, on November 14th. Order it here at Amazon!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH subs only
Like Shout’s Into The Night blu this is another transfer I wasn’t wowed by, but with this one Shout seems to know it for after you put the disc in before the main menu comes up a disclaimer states the transfer has been ” . . . taken from the best video and audio elements available to us.” Colors, however, do manage to pop in various scenes.
Extras included . . .
- NEW 2017 High-Definition Transfer
- NEW A Conversation With Actress Lily Tomlin And Writer/Executive Producer Jane Wagner (26:28)
- NEW Interview With Director Joel Schumacher (28:16)
- NEW Interview With Cinematographer And Visual Effects Supervisor Bruce Logan (23:22)
- NEW Audio Interview With Composer Suzanne Ciani (24:52)
- NEW On Location: Now And Then Featurette (3;06)
- “Edith Ann” Deleted Scene (1:03)
- Still Gallery (5;13)
- Theatrical Trailer