Matt Damon may have done serious science fiction work in Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic parable Elysium, but it looks like his best sci-fi movie is coming out this year. A trailer for the upcoming comedy Downsizing provides a glimpse into what looks like the best genre film of 2017.

On Monday, Paramount Pictures released the trailer for Downsizing, a new film written and directed by Alexandar Payne. Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon star as a couple who opt to undergo a shrinking process which has become a worldwide fad. Payne is probably most famous as a writer-director of dark comedy hits like Election and Sideways, making him uniquely suited to tackle this concept.

The idea of humans “shrinking” is, of course, a very old science fiction trope made most famous by the 1957 film The Incredible Shrinking Man. That film was written by original Twilight Zone scribe Richard Matheson and based on his short story “The Shrinking Man.” Isaac Asimov tackled the concepts of humans being shrunken-down to help repair a human body when he wrote the novelization of the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage. To be clear, Asimov didn’t come up with this idea, the movie was written by a bunch of people, including Otto Klement, Harry Kleiner, and original Star Trek scribe, Jerome Bixby. Still, Asimov did double-down on tiny people in a human body when he wrote a book sequel called Fantastic Voyage 2: Destination Brain.

These people are inside a human body.

This book and film were referenced in the 2014 Doctor Who episode “Into the Dalek” when the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) quipped “fantastic idea for a movie terrible idea for a proctologist; are you going to miniaturize me?” Paul McCartney was also shrunken by a ray gun in the 1965 Beatles movie Help!

But, before Downsizing the mainstream movie that dealt with shrinking the most famously was, without a doubt, the Rick Moranis classic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Still, Downsizing probably has a little bit more social commentary than that film. Because even though people being shrunken-down in sci-fi has an automatic humorous appeal (little things are funny) there’s usually more going on that just the visual gag. The relative sizes of things play into the nature of human biases and power, which is probably why sci-fi has been so fixed on the concept for so long. Downsizing then is probably going to end up a little closer to an Asimov tale than a Rick Moranis farce. We hope.


Downsizing will be in wide release on December 22, 2017.


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