1998; Rated PG; 97 Minutes
Magda Szubanski: Esme Hoggett
James Cromwell: Arthur Hoggett
Mary Stein: Landlady
Mickey Rooney: Fugly Floom
Julie Goodfrey: Neighbor
Produced by Catherin
Barber, Barbara Gibbs, Colin Gibson, Bill Miller, George
Miller, Doug Mitchell, Guy Norris and P.J. Voeten; Directed
by George Miller; Screenwritten by George Miller,
Judy Morris and Mark Lamprell
by DAVID KEYES
Pig In The City" is what great sequels are all about. It
reminded me to an extent of "Scream 2," the horror sequel
that literally defined how good sequels can be after the
success of their predecessors. The only difference is, both
"Scream" pictures were troubled with some little problems.
"Babe"s producer and "Pig In The City"s director, George
Miller, doesn't make the sequel in the style or mood of
the original picture. He reconstructs the entire theme of
Babe as a hero, the setting of the story, and the evolution
of the film's plot structure so that they don't feel like
duplicates of what went on in the first movie. It's a completely
new experience for the audience and the film's characters,
and virtually, one of the best sequels that has ever come
along in the past decade.
though, the film received some (if not several) very negative
reviews, and turned up little money at the box office. It
was neglected for supposedly being 'too dark' for children
to handle. I have no doubt that such a movie might make
small children weep or cower down in their seats, but what
did you expect? Most of the great children's movies had
that aspect of darkness and cruelty woven into their stories.
Think of the older Disney cartoons: Bambi's mother was killed,
innocent children were changed to donkeys at Pleasure Island,
Pinocchio was chased by Monstro the whale, Snow White bit
an apple and died, and an evil queen transformed herself
into a hideous hag. All of these events would likely leave
your child running into the other room with tears streaming
down their face. But it's a way to expose them to the harshness
of real life. Filmmakers have found that the way to get
to them is by taking darker elements and planting them into
the movies they find appealing, like cartoons, animal movies,
and etc. Why do you think those old and dark Disney movies
are considered to be Masterpieces? For their names?
still, for some unexplainable reason, "Babe: Pig In The
City" was neglected by critics and viewers. All of it seems
to harsh and unfair. This is a magical, beautiful, fun,
humorous, and often incredible movie. They say that good
movies can never have sequels better than the original,
but now we have proof that the rule is false.
film opens with an accurate note from the narrator. He says
that the "first hazard for a returning hero is fame." After
we are taken back into the landscapes of farmer Hoggett's
farm, Babe and he are celebrating their recent victory at
the sheep-dog championship at the town fair. After a freak
accident leaves Mr. Hoggett in a wheelchair, the farm is
in serious trouble since the farmer is unable to work and
cannot pay his bills. Esme, Hoggett's wife, and Babe pack
up and head to the city where they hope that they can make
money to save the farm. This is, after all, Babe, that brave
and ambitious porker who wanted nothing more than to prove
in the first movie that pigs do have a purpose on this Earth
other than leaving table scraps for the other barnyard animals.
then, after another accident in which Esme ends up being
suspected of drug possession, they miss their flight and
wind up stranded in a city. Oh, and this city is an unnamed
wonder. Within its skyline are dozens of worldwide landmarks
taken from Earth's other big cities, like the Space Needle,
the Hollywood Sign, and, of course, everyone's favorite,
the Statue of Liberty. The site of it is so mesmerizing
that it rivals the other creative cities or landmarks that
have shown up in past movies.
within the city, they encounter a boarding house for animals.
The owner apparently thinks that god's little creatures
deserve equal rights when it comes to room and food, too.
Inside, we meet several talking animals, like chimpanzees,
cats, and so on. The humans in the picture receive less
attention so that the animals can carry the movie. Also
back (besides Babe) is Ferdinand the duck, who, after his
appearance in the original film, deserves a film franchise
all by himself. He has the kind of appeal that characters
like Jiminy Cricket and Pluto had in the old Disney cartoons,
and thanks to a hefty script, he's just as entertaining
and memorable as he was in the first film.
only thing you can bring yourself to hate about the movie
is the fact that the studio released it during the same
weekend as Disney's "A Bug's Life." You should never release
a kids' movie at the same time as another kids' movie, especially
when Disney is involved. You know what movie audiences will
flock to. Disney is a big-name for our youth, and even though
most have been exposed to the original "Babe" film in the
past, wouldn't they rather see talking insects than talking
if they had delayed or pushed the opening of the movie with
a two-three week difference from Disney's, something could
have been done with it. I'm not one to believe that the
supposedly "dark elements" could frighten most of them away.
Even so, this is a movie for adults to admire; it is a more
grown-up, serious, and yet playful continuation of everyone's
favorite 'gallant pig.' Despite what might have happened
to the movie financially, it is great. That rare sequel
that is better than the first has shown up for the first
time in years.
just a shame that the movie won't be bringing home the bacon
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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