The Legacy of James Horner: No. 8 “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”
[This article is part of a 10 part short retrospective of the career of the late film composer James Horner. Be sure to check below for a link to the introduction, and a link to the next item in the Top 10 list.]
Even before I knew this was a James Horner soundtrack, I was a fan of this opening theme.
As it is stated on the Wikipedia page for the film, and confirming my initial suspicions, this opening theme heavily references Raymond Scott’s famous jazz song, “Powerhouse,” which is most well-known for being featured in numerous Looney Tunes shorts from the 1930s and 1940s.
Unfortunately, Disney did not pay credit to or initially get the rights from the Scott estate in order to reference the song, so they had to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Not the smartest idea there, folks.
But despite that hairy issue, I really really love how Horner re-worked the song into the mood and story of the film’s narrative, as he does reference it further in later scenes, I believe.
Coupled with the unique 2D/3D animation hybrid on display here—which up to that point had only been done in The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and the anime film, Lensman (1984)—the entire opening sequence sets a very strong precedent for the type of imagery and strangeness that we will be in store for once the rest of the film gets going. And the visuals featured in Honey I Shrunk the Kids certainly does not disappoint. Horner’s strange turn with this soundtrack perfectly accompanies the otherworldly nature of the premise.