Before Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’: 7 Movies With Shrinking Characters

After much anticipation, Ant-Man finally hit theaters this week. Marvel’s latest superhero flick stars Paul Rudd as the eponymous hero with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength. The movie, which has been generating a fairly positive response, is only the latest in a long line of titles that feature characters who dwindle down in size. Below, check out 7 of Ant-Man’s shrinking film predecessors :

1. Fantastic Voyage


The 1966 medical science fiction film, starring Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien and Donald Pleasence, chronicles the story of a scientist who is nearly killed in an assassination attempt, as well as the medical team who shrinks to microscopic size and ventures into his body to repair damage to his brain. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards and inspired both a paperback novelization and an animated series. It also basically paved the way for the many films about miniaturized mayhem that followed its release.

2. Innerspace


The 1987 action adventure film, starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan and produced by Steven Spielberg, follows a hapless store clerk as he faces criminals in order to save the life of the man who is miniaturized in a secret experiment and gets accidentally injected into him. The movie, which won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, is known for its zany and charming blend blend of sci-fi, comedy, and romance.

 3. The Incredible Shrinking Man


The 1957 science fiction film, directed by Jack Arnold and adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from his novel The Shrinking Man, follows Scott Carey (played by Grant Williams) after he’s exposed to a radioactive cloud and starts shrinking. He begins to fear a cure will never be found, since even as he becomes a national sensation, he’s still shrinking. The film won the first Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1958 and was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant in 2009.

4. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids


Who doesn’t love this classic 1989 family film? The sci-fi flick follows the scientist father of a teenage girl and boy, who accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to ¼ of an inch with his electromagnetic shrinking machine. The teens must then fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them. The film wasn’t well-received critically at the time of its debut, but it was still a huge commercial success. The movie grossed over $222 million worldwide, held the record for highest-grossing live-action Disney film ever for five years, and later spawned two sequels.

5. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory


Many of the Golden Ticket finders suffered some not-so-great fates during their trip to the chocolate factory in Roald Dahl’s story – and Mike Teavee was no exception. The bad-tempered, television-loving child manages to shrink himself to a tiny size while Wonka is showing off a display of miniaturization technology. To the horror of Mike’s parents, the candy man then has an Oompa Loompa take the family to the gum-stretcher room to get Mike stretched back to a normal size.

6. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad


The 1958 fantasy film follows the story of Sinbad, who must undertake a quest to an island of monsters to cure a princess after she is shrunken by an evil wizard. This was the first of three Sinbad feature films from Columbia Picture, the much later two being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The original is considered the best of three, with critics still praising the nostalgic value to this day. In 2008, the movie was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally and historically significant.

7. Alice in Wonderland


In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice changes size constantly. When she first arrives in Wonderland, she’s too large to make it through the little door into the beautiful garden; after she drinks from the mysterious bottle, she drinks down to ten inches high. The famous scene is captured in Tim Burton’s 2010 film adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novel, as seen in the video above.

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