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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.73%
Average: 5.45%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.64%

2 reviews, 43 user ratings

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by Slyder

"I DARE YOU… to hate this movie!"
5 stars

They say that children’s movies are just that, children’s movies. They serve only the purpose of entertaining kids, and from time to time, teach something useful in them. Rarely however does a film become universal with kids and adults with satisfying results. Family movies for the most part corny and annoying if not totally absurd. The title of this movie flatters to deceive in the sense that it makes you think you’ll be watching just another bullshit excuse for a kiddie flick involving farm animals and a cute pig; thank goodness it wasn’t. The most amazing thing about this film is its lack of pretensions, it doesn’t strive to change the world, but rather reaffirm the traits of courage and respect with such honesty and sincerity. It’s these traits that make the film slip right under the radar of the most cynical or hardened viewers and reach their hearts dead on target. I’ll be honest with you people, I never expected this film to be anything other than “good for viewing once and forget about it”. At movie’s end, I was almost in tears of happiness and joy and applauding. Babe is unquestionably one of the best films ever made and arguably the greatest family film ever. I’ll recant my position that I had before regarding Braveheart. My respects to Mr. Gibson, he did an awesome movie, but Babe was undoubtedly the best film of 1995.

Adapted from the children's book "The Sheep Pig" by Dick King-Smith and set in Australia, Babe (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) is a young piglet recently and painfully separated from his mother in the local pig farm who by chance is selected for a Christmas giveaway at the local fairground. It is thanks to this giveaway where Babe meets his new owner, Farmer Hogget (James Cromwell). Farmer Hoggett isn’t a pig breeder, but takes Babe in anyways for obvious reasons come Christmas time, although Hogget’s wife Esme Hoggett (Magda Szubanski) ponders on whether or not having pork or roasted duck for that special occasion. Though the only pig in the Hoggett Farm, Babe is immediately adopted by Fly (voiced by Miriam Margolyes), the female border collie, who takes Babe under her wing to the delight of her pups and despite begrudging reservations of Fly’s husband Rex (voiced by Hugo Weaving), the male sheepdog and unquestionably Farmer Hoggett’s right hand dog, head of all the farm animals. For the longest time, Babe tries to adapt to his new environment with the aid of Fly, and yet his innocence and naiveté are challenged by the supposed rules of nature that animals should accept what they are, and pigs, as well as ducks are stupid animals that get eaten. A dissenter on that line is Ferdinand (voiced by Danny Mann), a neurotic duck who wants to be a rooster, but sees his efforts hampered when the Hoggetts get an alarm clock. Babe however soon proves to be a natural regarding herding, much to the dismay of Rex, a sheepdog so proud he will not admit to anyone he has a hearing problem, and to the surprise of Fly. Originally taught to treat sheep like the stupid animals they are, Babe realizes that the opposite direction is possible as well, and soon Farmer Hoggett gets the crazy idea of entering the Annual Sheepdog Contest with his pig and see if he can score gold.

Where to begin? Let’s start with the obvious, there are so many fascinating and hilarious characters found in this film. We get to meet each one of them and glance at their personalities that make them stand in their position on the farm. Apart from the mentioned characters, we also meet Maa (voiced by Miram Flynn), an old ewe that advises Babe to be himself when it comes to sheepherding; Duchess (voiced by Russi Taylor) a spoiled cat who has an uglier self inside her glamorous self; We even get a trio of singing mice which appear on every chapter introduction and on the ending of some. The mice’s take on the doo-wop classic Blue Moon has to be seen in to be believed. The narration by Roscoe Lee Brown is also a character by itself and is also impeccable, always subtle, reflective and observant.

2nd most obvious thing, the special effects, very subtle but extremely effective; combining then-groundbreaking computer graphics and animatronics, screenwriter/director Chris Noonan is able to avoid the laughable pitfall of Mr. Ed-like proportions and provide effective mouth matches for the voices. Thanks to this, Noonan is able to approach these animals as actual characters themselves. Both Noonan and George Miller (who co-wrote the film and produced it as well) are wise not to rely too much on the cuteness factor of the piglet (for it’s a given) and rather target and achieve a true veracity and honesty in each of the animal’s character portraits by fleshing out their personalities and emotional feelings. This is remarkable considering that the material here could have easily fallen in to the sappy and saccharine, and even the corny. Moments of true emotion, including a couple of very tragic ones for two of the main characters, which come off truly heartfelt and honest, are seamlessly balanced with moments of absolute hilarity.

Which brings to the 3rd obvious standout: James Cromwell is marvelous as the quiet, stoic and taciturn Farmer Hoggett, and is kind of curious seeing a human being branded as a supporting role, but it serves the obvious purpose, as well as an interesting side commentary regarding the food chain and how animals see man from their perspective. Cromwell fits the role like a glove and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in his role; his character seems to have a chip on his shoulder considering his wife’s overachieving nature, and his only pride (sheepherding) clearly has left him with some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of. Speaking of Mrs. Hoggett, Magda Szubanski is hilarious as well in the role, very quirky, proud and very fragile (in a funny as hell way) when it comes to certain things that are out of control.

Special mention goes to future Lord of the Rings cameraman Andrew Lesnie, for a very nice and beautiful work, highlighting several primary colors in order to give us a “children’s book” kind of feel.

Another amazing thing about this movie, apart from being very intelligent and provider of a thoughtful and meaningful message of coming of age and achieving triumph over adversity, is the fact that George Miller was the main protagonist behind the scenes. That’s right, the very man that gave you the Mad Max movies, as well as the emotionally wrenching drama Lorenzo’s Oil, is one of the driving forces here. Miller is one of those filmmakers that every film fan knows but hasn’t really been given the star stature of people like Spielberg, Kubrick or even like his fellow countrymen Peter Weir or Ridley Scott. Miller’s talent however, is unquestioned and he and Chris Noonan manage to produce a little miracle of enormous proportions, and deserved every single ounce of praise they earned in this film. Babe is now a modern classic that has rightfully earned the place in many a family video library. Definitely a must-see! 5-5

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originally posted: 01/31/09 17:00:38
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User Comments

11/22/11 Bob Dog A masterpiece. 5 stars
4/25/10 gordon Purcell My son's favorite live action film-easy to rewatch and enjoy! 5 stars
12/01/09 Becky One of my favorite movies. In addition, the musical score is wonderful. 5 stars
7/20/09 AJ Muller Not just for kids, but everyone. A truly excellent movie. 5 stars
3/08/09 Linda Diaz Babe I'm leavin.. oops wrong gerne! Wonderful! 5 stars
1/09/09 Alexandra one of the best animal movies ever :] 5 stars
3/20/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
7/29/06 David Cohen Excellent on every level, shows what can happen when producers care about their movie 5 stars
10/18/05 Indrid Cold Fantastically well done for what it is, which isn't much. 4 stars
6/18/05 Joseph Lee This film, is one of the best yet, of a useless runt, becoming a champion sheep-dog. 5 stars
5/03/05 Gary More than just a children's movie. One of the best movies ever. 5 stars
1/08/05 The Mockingbird I had forgotten how incredibly sweet and delicate this movie is. Classic cinematography 5 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj Completely winning--a classic for years to come 5 stars
12/06/03 john will be discoverded by generations to come -a great surprise - a wonderful movie 5 stars
9/28/03 Alice I just LOVED this one ! 5 stars
8/15/03 marjorie Tecne nabus its uniquely done!!!!! execellent!!! 5 stars
8/02/03 DM Fuck you, S.A. 5 stars
7/22/03 lawrence nabus A must seen movie of all time,,, technically, the director made a great job!! 5 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby An American classic. Heartwarming and ingratiating. A total Triumph. 5 stars
3/13/02 Betty Samson Jesus, Jusus, Jerked, a Beema-baima-bo, and I all enjoyed it! 5 stars
8/31/01 Henry Ginsberg I didn't like this film,but I guess it's good if you like animals. 4 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat It's okay if your REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY in the mood. 3 stars
4/10/01 Gary This is by far the most touching family film since "ET" 5 stars
4/05/01 Andrew Carden Get Babe for you're in the mood for a good cry. 5 stars
1/07/01 R.W. Welch Innovative fantasy film, done with a fine touch. 4 stars
12/10/00 Jed Sorry E.P, D.R, B69 but this was a good family film. 4 stars
11/18/00 Chrissy This is one of the best movies I've ever seen. It has such a great message! 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin Don't watch this: This is a KID film 1 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla great, touching movie, a must see!!! 5 stars
10/01/00 Gray Seeing it a second time you realise the lack of substance in it. 3 stars
2/05/00 Richard Wright I love this film. A children's (and adults!) classic for all time. 5 stars
8/19/99 Matthew Bartley Heart warming,but Im still gonna eat ham 5 stars
7/15/99 GothamDK Real nice movie, but not in the realms of Best Pic quality. Good film 2 watch w/ the kids. 4 stars
7/15/99 J. Random Hacker Guaranteed to touch the heart of even the most cynical bastards :) 5 stars
7/11/99 Daria One of the most charming films I've ever seen. 5 stars
6/21/99 Angie an adorable movie!! i loved it 5 stars
6/17/99 matchbox20 Bacon anyone? 5 stars
4/21/99 Ah Dooey Teen Movie Critic's review said it all. 5 stars
4/21/99 lucas jackson it is a good family film,the talking sheep are interesting 5 stars
4/20/99 PodPerson I was skeptic BUT I loved it!!!!! Bacon anyone?? 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson A surprise for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1996 (G)

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