After Babe's great victory in the shepherding contest, Farmer Arthur Hoggett turns down all offers to make money with his pig's talents. But when he gets hurt severely in the well, his wife has to take up farming. She does her best but cannot meet the bank's requirements, which results in the necessity of getting back to Babe. Soon, Esme Hoggett is sitting in a plane headed for "the" city. There, Babe unwillingly causes deep trouble. He has to stay with Mrs. Hoggett in the only hotel in town that accepts pets. Friendly neighbours send officials who catch all animals from the hotel: Cats, dogs, chimpanzees and many others. Babe, who managed to stay free, decides to help his new friends and gets unexpected help - not only by Ferdinand, who flew all the way to the city. Written by
Julian Reischl <email@example.com>
Babe: Pig in the City commenced production at Fox Studios Australia in May 1997 and completed in August 1998. To say this film was produced at Fox is technically incorrect. When production commenced, ownership of the site had only just been transferred from the NSW Royal Agricultural Society to Fox a mere 1 month beforehand. The site was a complete shambles. Not only did the producers of "Babe, Pig in the City" have to make a film, they had to create a place in which to make it. An ex. Agricultural showground certainly threw up plenty of suitable facilities for which to make a film where animals were the star performers - but the sheer amount of work needed to bring "Babe, Pig in the City" to the screen is not readily apparent when watching the film. As production commenced, construction of the new studios also got underway. "Babe, Pig in the City" occupied the "old and decrepit" sections of the showground. Towards the latter stages of production, the "new side" construction fences encroached ever closer on the spaces being used and a "Cat and mouse" game ensued. Relocation of entire departments was common. More than half of the production was shot at night. "Babe, Pig in the City" still holds the record for the largest and most complex outdoor film back lot ever constructed in Australia. This back lot was constructed atop what was previously a large paved area for "sideshow alley" at the Royal Easter Show and remained in place on display at Fox until 2002. Likewise many locations around Sydney were also used including quite a few buildings within the old show grounds before they were demolished or refurbished into their new Fox roles. See more »
When Esme's suit is fully inflated, you can see that the front part of the pants are still there. In the next shot directly after that, when Babe and Ferdy come running, you can clearly see that the front part is not there, even though she is in the exact same position. See more »
When George Miller's sequel to the popular and prestigious family film Babe hit cinemas in late 1998 it was squeezed into a crowded family film market, having to share the spotlight with Pixar's second film A Bug's Life and the surprising popular cinematic debut of Nickelodeon's Rugrats. As a result very few people actually saw Babe: Pig in the City while it played in theatres. In proportion to the film's budget so few that it lead to the dismissal of several high-ranking executives at Universal. While it is true that the public cannot truthfully dislike a film it has not seen, I think it's fair to say that the film got an at best mixed response among those of the public that did see it both on it's original theatrical release and subsequently on video and TV, with many viewers alienated by it and few finding it as endearing as the original. Yet there have been many vocal and noteworthy fans of the film ever since its release. The much missed Gene Siskel placed Babe: Pig in the City at the very top of what would tragically turn out to be his last annual Top 10 list. His on screen partner Roger Ebert also found room for it on his Top 10. While not many professional critics quite shared their level of enthusiasm (although the film received generally decent reviews) the film nonetheless developed a kind of cult following who did, among their number being acclaimed musician Tom Waits and popular "internet personality" the Nostalgia Critic.
I saw Babe: Pig in the City upon its UK television premier when I was 13; not really, in my opinion, still a child, yet not at an age where I feel I had fully developed critical facilities that might appreciate the nuances and qualities the film's strongest advocates see in it. At the time I thought it was pretty much a fiasco. Would I keep that opinion or join the film's list of fans after revisiting it as an adult?
Well I'm sorry to say I side with the public over the critics on this one, and still found it to be pretty much a fiasco. I can't even really see what the film's fans see in it. Ultimately, it's a pretty dull slog of a film, with not enough of interest to justify even its slender running time. Granted, there is some good stuff in here. The cinematography, camera-work and production design are often sumptuous, and far above anything you would normally see in a live action kid's movie. The early scenes, set on the same farm the first film took place in, do have the kind of mythical, fairy tale quality Miller clearly intended the whole film to have, but which didn't come across in later parts of the film. And towards the end there is a imaginatively staged and pleasingly old-fashioned slapstick romp involving a clown suit, a lot of bouncing, a well-stacked pyramid of wine glasses and a frustrated waiter. And... that's about it. Which is not to say I cannot appreciate the level of ambition Miller brought to the movie. I think it's ultimately failed ambition, but I can certainly appreciate the effort. Pig in the City is certainly one of the more unusual big budget sequels out there and about as far away from a carbon copy of the original you can get (although perhaps the mice and "that'll do pig" could have been left out this time). But sometimes you find failed ambition entertaining and interesting to watch in it's own right, and sometimes you merely appreciate it. Unfortunately for me, Babe: Pig in the City falls into the later category.
I also find Pig in the City to be short on the charm that its fans must see in it. After the early scenes we are "treated to" near-fatal injuries, a (thankfully off-screen) cavity check, an group of terminal ill children, starvation and a dog facing something which comes disturbingly close to water-boarding. That's could all be fine in the right context, but this time out Babe doesn't have an interesting enough adventure or a strong enough narrative to get us through it; we just slog from one depressing incident to the next. Do I think kids will be adversely affected by this stuff? Not for a minute, but I don't think they'll be particularly entertained either. I know I wasn't.
Also, I hate to say this as I know they can't talk back and are maybe even dead now and certainly didn't ask for this kind of exposure, but a lot of the animals in this movie are awfully hard on the eyes. Am I alone in really not liking looking at monkeys wearing T-shirts, dresses and lipstick? About the only likable animals who have considerable screen time are Ferdinand the Duck, and Babe himself (adorably voiced by singer Elizabeth Daily, ironically perhaps best known for voicing Tommy Pickles from the Rugrats), both of whom can be enjoyed in the vastly superior first film.
Babe: Pig in the City is well intentioned and in some areas well executed, but if you want to be charmed or entertained you're probably better off watching Peppa Pig!
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