Babe, fresh from his victory in the sheepherding contest, returns to Farmer Hoggett's farm, but after Farmer Hoggett is injured and unable to work, Babe has to go to the big city to save the... Read allBabe, fresh from his victory in the sheepherding contest, returns to Farmer Hoggett's farm, but after Farmer Hoggett is injured and unable to work, Babe has to go to the big city to save the farm.Babe, fresh from his victory in the sheepherding contest, returns to Farmer Hoggett's farm, but after Farmer Hoggett is injured and unable to work, Babe has to go to the big city to save the farm.
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!
- Oct 21, 2009