Babe (1995) Jul 10, 2020 13:43:09 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 10, 2020 13:43:09 GMT -5
Directed by: Chris Noonan
Directed by: Chris Noonan
Babe is a stout pig with a mop of hair in the Chris Noonan classic.
With the world seemingly growing more contemptible and cynical, it's movies like Babe that, even 25 years later, can still remind us of the kindness and compassion that exists in the world. Even if that kindness and compassion comes from a litany of talking animals who confirm to us that they do indeed feel deep emotional feelings despite not always being able to communicate it to so-called sophisticated beings we know as humans.
The movie is set in Australia, where a stout little pig known as "Babe" (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh, most famous as Chuckie Finster in Rugrats) initially witnesses a truckload of pigs whisked from their home. He can only fathom they're going to paradise, or, as he so innocently puts it, "a place so wonderful that nobody ever came back." Babe, instead, is picked up by Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell), who takes a liking to him and brings him to his family farm. The lonesome fella is taken in by a female border collie named Fly (Miriam Margolyes), who raises him as if he is one of her puppies. Life on the farm is mostly peaceful, albeit populated by animals going through their own identity crises: there's a duck who is convinced he's a rooster, Fly's male counterpart, who doesn't much care for the sheep he is expected to herd, and a spoiled princess of a cat who acts as she's been enabled.
Babe overcomes his loneliness enough to admire the slowness of farm-life. In time, he discovers he has a natural ability to herd sheep, which raises Farmer Hoggett's eyebrow as he contemplates enlisting him in the annual sheepherding contest. After all, the form just says "name of entry;" it doesn't specify the species that will be doing the herding.
If anything brings Babe down in quality, it's the abundance of syrupy schmaltz that's laid on thick from the jump. We have squeaking mice that punctuate the interludes of the film on top of mawkish music that overplays nearly every dramatic turn of events. Being one of the sole angles of the film is to offer compassion or remorse on the plight of the animals, it makes one seem heartless to critique such inclusions. At a certain point, however, I became numb to Babe's attempts to win me over with aggressive sentimentality. In its chapter-laden presentation and softly colored, whimsical presentation, it admirably resembles a storybook even if that same storybook is littered with the type of emotional manipulation the very best films of the genre try to avoid in favor of portraying more typical behavior. Might I recommend the grossly underrated Shiloh trilogy as a more effective execution of a comparable approach?
NOTE: My review of Babe: Pig in the City: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6491/babe-pig-city
Starring: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, and Brittany Byrnes. Voiced by: Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes, Hugo Weaving, Danny Mann, Miriam Flynn, and Russi Taylor. Narrated by: Roscoe Lee Browne. Directed by: Chris Noonan.