Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows that come that time, he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen.
Farmer Hoggett wins a runt piglet at a local fair and young Babe, as the piglet decides to call himself, befriends and learns about all the other creatures on the farm. He becomes special friends with one of the sheepdogs, Fly. With Fly's help, and Farmer Hoggett's intuition, Babe embarks on a career in sheepherding with some surprising and spectacular results. Written by
A simple, likable feel-gooder. In lesser hands, 'Babe' might easily have risked excruciating death by treacle, or by camp. It does have a couple weak spots (those non-sequitur mouse songs, for instance, do nothing for me, and I always wonder why they used fake American accents for the idiomatically British dialogue). But for the most part the inventive direction and sense of genuine whimsy (not unlike those of 'Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain') steer it away from the most dangerous pitfalls. The blend of CGI, puppetry, and real animals is subtle and wonderfully believable, with the 'performances' of Fly and Rex standing out in their eloquence and realism. Much has been made, of course, of James Cromwell's acting here, and he certainly is an authentic, very charming presence throughout. But Magda Szubanski's work shouldn't be overshadowed either--even her walk is rich in comic detail. In the end, there's not a whole lot to this film, but the good things outweigh the bad, the dark edges keep it all from getting too sappy, and some of the more expressive moments truly achieve a kind of magic. 8 out of 10.
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