The original caught the world's attention. The sequel has already captured the world's ire. Why? Because today's audiences don't want to be shocked, amazed, genuinely moved, they want easily digestible fairy floss.Continuing as producer and taking over the reigns as director, Miller (Mad Max, Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo's Oil) has made the movie his own. Although some accused him of stealing Chris Noonan's thunder on the original, you can definitely tell the difference when Miller directs. The camera virtually becomes another character, and although it's the only one that doesn't do any physical talking, it rivets the audience to attention and guides them through every emotion.
The movie leaps off where the original ended. Babe and Farmer Hoggett return triumphantly to their farm. Life's soon back to normal except for the invitations Babe receives to appear in pageants. Unexpectedly Hoggett is hospitalised (the first in a succession of 'shocking' scenes) and he and the bouncy wife are forced to board a plane to ward off bank threats.
When they arrive in the big smoke (an amusing collage of international landmarks), all sorts of pig out of farm confusion reigns. First Babe is exploited by a bunch of clown working monkeys, then he nearly starves, is almost killed by guard dogs, only to emerge as the king of the urban jungle.
The big argument with this film focuses on its G rating. Yes, it might have been more suitable to give it a PG. But that's taking away from the fact that the two scenes which would probably warrant the stricter rating (the raid on the animal house, Babe's triumph over the guard dogs) are the reasons the film should earn at least three 1999 Oscar nominations.After a disappointing box office opening in the States, let's hope this Sydney-shot magical tour earns its just rewards around the world. Just like the first one, only better. ---Dov Kornits