BABE is a talking animals picture. Now, don't touch that dial!
Don't give up before it has a chance to work its charms on you. I need
to point out that the plot of this movie has a striking resemblance to
the recent major critical bomb called GORDY, but this is not that
movie. Moreover, although it starts slow, BABE's inherent sweetness
will hook you. It is a hard movie not to like if you do not give up
the ghost in the beginning.
All of the animals in BABE talk, but only to each other and never
to humans. The animals have a caste system a la ANIMAL FARM. Each one
has its place and many of them learn that their purpose in life is to
be eaten by their masters. They are not amused. Be warned, seriously,
that many kids may leave this movie wanting to become vegetarians. As
for Jeffrey, he had no problem in consuming his hot dog during the
Babe is a young pig that gets lucky and is spared a trip to the
packing house when her time comes. She is won by the Hoggett family
(James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski), and they take her home to their
farm to fatten her up for the Christmas dinner. Babe turns out to be
extra smart and soon becomes a sheep dog wannbe. The movie consists of
the twists and turns of her life as future bacon vs. a sheep dog
The acting by Cromwell is straight out of Grant Wood's "American
Gothic" except here the farm looks English, although it was actually
filmed in New South Wales in Australia. Cromwell gives a monotonic and
yet interesting performance at the same time. A more animated and
better job is done by Szubanski. The special effects are realistic and
the voices of the animals are well cast.
The cinematography is the best part of the movie. Sometimes it is
so dramatic you think you are watching Tara in GONE WITH THE WIND.
The music score performed by the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra is
equally dramatic with loud horns and winds playing in key scenes. The
script is by MAD MAX writer George Miller, and it is quite funny in
parts. The movie has about ten different sections and each is named
and the name is sung by three small mice that sound like those singing
chipmunks from the 50s.
BABE runs 1:31 which was a little long. It starts slow, but don't
walk out or give up. It will work its magic on you. It is an
extremely well crafted show, especially for its genre. It is correctly
rated G. There is no sex, nudity, violence, smoking, drinking, or cuss
words. One animal used the word "butt" once and my son went wild with
laughter. Finally, one minor animal does die, but it is handled well.
I think any aged kid could see BABE, and I recommend it for them as
well as the young at heart of any age. Jeffrey (age 6) got a little
scared in a few parts as he frequently does, but loved the show overall
and gave it a double thumbs up. This is a good family film. It gets
** 1/2 in my book.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes