Babe: Pig in the City

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Babe: Pig in the City
Babe pig in the city.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by George Miller
Produced by Doug Mitchell
George Miller
Bill Miller
Written by George Miller
Judy Morris
Mark Lamprell
Based on Characters by Dick King-Smith
Narrated by Roscoe Lee Browne
Starring Magda Szubanski
James Cromwell
Mary Stein
Elizabeth Daily (voice)
Danny Mann (voice)
Steven Wright (voice)
Music by Nigel Westlake
Randy Newman (songs)
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Editing by Jay Friedkin
Margaret Sixel
Studio Kennedy Miller Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates November 25, 1998
Running time 95 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Box office $69,131,860

Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 comedy-drama film, and the sequel to the 1995 film Babe. It is co-written, produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original film. Most of the actors from the first film reappeared as their respective roles, including James Cromwell, Miriam Margolyes, Hugo Weaving, Danny Mann, and Magda Szubanski. However, most of them have only brief appearances, as the story focuses on the journey of Babe (now voiced by Elizabeth Daily) and the farmer's wife Esme (Szubanski) in the fictional city of Metropolis.

Despite being a sequel to a highly acclaimed children's film which, for the most part, had a charming and light-hearted atmosphere, Pig in the City had an unexpected darker tone and contained more mature subject matter. As a result of its dark tone, Pig in the City was a flop at the box office and received mixed reviews from critics, although the late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert highly praised the film, with Ebert calling it better than the first one and Siskel later naming it the Best Movie of 1998.[2][3] However, over the years, the film became seen as a very underrated sequel.[4][5]

Plot[edit]

Set after the events of the first film, Babe (now voiced by Elizabeth Daily) and his master, farmer Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell), are given a welcome home parade after Babe's success as a "sheepdog", much to the joy of Arthur's wife Esme (Magda Szubanski). One day, Babe inadvertently trips Arthur as he is repairing a water pump, which results in him ending up in the hospital. Esme has no success tending the farm on her own. Two men from the bank tell her she and Arthur have not paid their rent on time, and at the end of the month Esme and Arthur will be evicted. Esme receives a letter saying that if she enters Babe in a sheepdog herding contest, held at a fair far away, she will win a large amount of money. She decides to enter Babe, and they leave the farm.

At the airport in the city of Metropolis, a sniffer dog named Snoop inaccurately senses that Babe and Esme are carrying illegal substances and drugs. Airport security takes them into an interrogation room, causing them to miss their connecting flight. While they are leaving the airport, an airport cleaner tells Esme about a hotel called the Flealands Hotel that takes animals, so Esme and Babe gothere. At first, the landlady pretends to not let them in, because of her neighbors, but when Esme and Babe walk to the back, the landlady takes them in. While Esme runs an errand, Babe goes after a monkey named Tug after he steals Esme's suitcase. Babe meets three chimpanzees: Bob, his pregnant wife Zootie, and his little brother Easy, as well as Thelonius, an orungatuan butler for the landlady's elderly uncle Fugly Floom, a clown who kidnaps Babe. When Esme returns, he tricks her into thinking that Babe went to the city with him. Panicking, Esme goes to look for Babe but is arrested along with a gang of thugs.

The next morning, Fugly goes to the hospital in a coma after eating a big dinner and a big dessert and is escorted by the landlady. With the humans gone, the chimpanzees try to steal some food from a store and use Babe to distract two guard dogs. A bull terrier and a Doberman chase him to a canal. The bull terrier nearly drowns in the canal, but Babe saves him. The bull terrier is now friends with Babe, and Babe invites him and other stray cats and dogs into the hotel. After Zootie gives birth to twins, several people from animal control, having received a call from the landlady's nosy neighbor Hortense, break into the hotel and steal all the animals except Babe, Tug, the duck Ferdinand (who went after Babe) and a disabled Jack Russell named Flealick. They track them to an animal hospital the next morning. Meanwhile, Esme is released from jail by the judge. That night, Babe, Tug, Flealick, and Ferdinand sneak into the hospital and open their friends' cages. Esme returns to the hotel and reunites with the landlady, who is mourning her uncle's death, and tells her that her neighbor Hortense was the one who got the animals taken away. Dressed in Fugly's old clown suit, Esme and the landlady set off on a two-seater bicycle to find the animals.

Esme and the landlady track the animals at a gala dinner in a ballroom, where they reunite. The landlady sells the hotel, which turns into a nightclub called Dancelands, and gives the money to Esme so she can save the farm. The landlady and all the animals come to the farm, where Arthur Hoggett has recovered. He fixes the water pump and, with a last look at Babe, says, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."

After the credits roll, one of the mice thanks the audience for watching the movie.

Cast[edit]

Voices[edit]

Production[edit]

Christine Cavanaugh, who played Babe in the first movie, was approached to reprise her role, but declined because of the low salary and was replaced by her Rugrats co-star Elizabeth Daily.

Prior to the film's theatrical release, it was originally rated PG by the MPAA. The TV spots for the film's theatrical release mentioned this rating. However, by the time the film was released in theaters, it was a given a G rating by the MPAA (like the first film), so the TV spots for the film's theatrical release currently mentioned this rating instead of its original rating. The reason why the final cut was rated G by the MPAA was because most of the dog violence was cut, leaving a shot that shows the bull terrier pushing down Babe into the river. Despite the original poster mentioning the movie's original PG rating, the film has had a G rating from the MPAA since its theatrical release. This was Universal's last theatrically-released feature-length film to be rated G by the MPAA until 2006's Curious George. As of 2007, Babe: Pig in the City and Mr. Bean's Holiday are Universal's last two theatrically released live-action films to be rated G by the MPAA. However, when the film aired on Superstation WGN on November 18, 2007, and AMC on December 9, 2007, the shot that shows Ferdinand almost getting shot by humans was removed.[citation needed]

Babe: Pig in the City takes place in an imaginative, fantasy-like metropolis. It notably resembles Oz but is in modern-day form. The city has numerous styles of architecture from around the world. It also has a variety of waterways, noticeable by the hotel at which Babe stays. The downtown area appears to be situated on an island not dissimilar to Manhattan Island. The Downtown Skyline features numerous skyscrapers such as the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building,the IDS Center, the MetLife Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fernsehturm Berlin, Big Ben, Red Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Christ the Redeemer (statue), and many other landmarks.

The DVD covers feature a similar but different skyline, keeping the World Trade Center, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, and Red Square. Several skyscrapers added include 40 Wall Street (Two of them), the Empire State Building, 500 5th Avenue, the Flatiron Building, the World Financial Center, and several Los Angeles skyscrapers including the U.S. Bank Tower. The river near the hotel is similar to the canals of Venice, Italy, or Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Reception[edit]

The film has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The movie has a 61% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes.[6] Most of the negative reviews came from people who enjoyed the first Babe, as well as those who were expecting a more family-oriented film, like the first installment. However, the movie has developed a cult following,[7] and film critic Gene Siskel named it as his choice for the best movie of 1998 and claimed it to be better than its original.[8][9] Roger Ebert also praised the movie, giving it a perfect four stars and saying it was "more magical than the original Babe."[10] The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1998. Tom Waits is apparently a fan of the film, as he expressed in a 2010 feature in Mojo Magazine.[11] Radio personality/podcaster Jesse Thorn has also repeatedly praised the film.[12]

This more recent praise comes despite the film returning a $21 million gross loss, compared to the first movie's $224 million gross profit.

Soundtrack[edit]

The score is again by Nigel Westlake, it also includes sound clips taken from the film. There is also a big band classic "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller, and "That's Amore" by Dean Martin. More tracks including "That'll Do", the Academy Award-nominated theme song, and a song at the end sung by Babe's voice actress.

  1. Main Title / Babe the Brave Little Pig 3:29
  2. Save the Farm - 1:15
  3. Airport - 3:59
  4. Stranded - 3;20
  5. Apartment Place for Babe - 4;10
  6. A Pig Gets Wise - 6:38
  7. Sanctuary's End - 1:45
  8. Animal Control - 2:39
  9. Chaos Revisited - 3:16
  10. Where's the Animals? - performed by The Mavericks - 2:59
  11. Wrap-Up - 6:49
  12. Babe's Bathtub Party / End Credits - 7:49

Promotion and sponsorship[edit]

When it was released on VHS and DVD on May 4, 1999, Babe: Pig in the City featured a commercial for Universal Orlando Resort (formerly Universal Studios Escape) in Orlando, Florida featuring two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, with the former slogan "Are You Ready?" which began with a teenage boy and his parents on the flight to Orlando. When he heard the bump on the plane outside while his parents were asleep, the boy open the blind of the plane window only to see Spider-Man fighting Doctor Octopus on the plane's wing. Spider-Man was almost knocked down off the plane by Doctor Octopus when he sees the boy unable to bare to watch him lose (his eyes glows to the boy when he saw him) and uses an effort to defeat Doctor Octopus. He sprays his web around Octopus' leg (with him off guard), grab him and send him falling (along with Spider-Man) down to the city below. As both hero and villain fell, Doctor Octopus screams in vowing for revenge, "We'll meet again!", just then the boy turned to see the plane's message telling the tourist "Are you Ready?". Later, as the boy, his parents and the other tourists were at Universal Studios Florida riding Back to the Future: The Ride (a former attraction, now closed and replaced by The Simpsons Ride), Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus were back in the fight, this time on the ride behind the tourists.

Home media[edit]

  • May 4, 1999 (VHS, DVD, and laserdisc) (Note: This DVD was in both widescreen and pan and scan formats.)
  • May 22, 2001 (DVD - 2-Pack with Babe)
  • September 23, 2003 (DVD - The Complete Adventure Two-Movie Pig Pack, this DVD box set was released in separate widescreen and pan and scan formats, due to the DVD re-release of the first film)
  • February 1, 2005 (DVD - Family Double Feature, this contains Babe) (Note: This DVD shows pan and scan versions of both films and the widescreen version of this film.)

References[edit]

External links[edit]