Babe: Pig in the City
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2012)|
|Babe: Pig in the City!!|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George Miller|
|Produced by||Doug Mitchell
|Written by||George Miller
|Based on||Characters by Dick King-Smith|
|Narrated by||Roscoe Lee Browne|
Elizabeth Daily (voice)
Danny Mann (voice)
Steven Wright (voice)
|Music by||Nigel Westlake
Randy Newman (songs)
|Editing by||Jay Friedkin
|Studio||Kennedy Miller Productions|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release dates||November 25, 1998|
|Running time||95 minutes|
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 praising it to be better than the first one, and Siskel later naming it the Best Movie of 1998. However, over the years the film became seen as a very underrated sequel.
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). Soon after, Babe inadvertently trips Arthur as he is repairing a water pump, which causes a crippling injury. Esme is having no success tending the farm on her own. A few days later, two men from the local bank tell her she and Arthur have not paid their rent on time and at the end of the month, if they don't pay it, Esme and Arthur will be evicted. Esme, desperate and distraught at the prospect of losing the farm, receives a letter in the mail that if she enters Babe in a sheepdog herding contest, held at a fair, far away, she will win a large amount of money. Esme decides to do it hoping she will win the prize money necessary to ensure the safety of the farm.
At the airport in the city of Metropolis, a sniffer dog named Snoop senses that Babe and Esme were carrying illegal substances. Airport security take them into an examination room and strip-search Esme and X-ray Babe. They miss their connecting flight. Esme calls a lot of hotels asking if they take pigs, but they all say no. While leaving the airport, an airport cleaner tells Esme there's a hotel nearby called the Flealands Hotel that takes animals, so Esme and Babe arrive there. The kind landlady takes them in. While Esme runs an errand, Babe goes after a monkey wearing a kilt 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. Babe is then kidnapped by the landlady's elderly Uncle Fugly Floom, a clown and when Esme returns, he tricks her that Babe went to the city with him. And Esme foolishly believes him. Panicking, Esme goes back out to look for Babe, but gets sent to jail with a gang of thugs on roller skates who tried to snatch her purse for causing a pandemonium with two police officers on motorcycles who overheard her and two painters who were gluing a poster on a billboard and Babe and Fugly ruin a circus show after causing the stage curtains to catch fire.
The next morning, Fugly goes to the hospital in a coma after eating a big dinner and dessert and is escorted by the landlady. With the humans gone, later that night, the chimpanzees try to steal some food from a store near the hotel and use Babe to distract two guard dogs behind a fence near the loading dock. A bull terrier and a Doberman chase him into a junkyard, where the bull terrier accidentally knocks over a stack of tires almost falling onto Babe. The bull terrier chases him back to the canal near the hotel and nearly drowns but Babe saves him. The chimps, meanwhile, finish robbing the store and steal a box of chocolates and a jar of jellybeans. The bull terrier is now friends with Babe and Babe invites him and other stray cats and dogs in. After Zootie gives birth to twins, animal control, having received a call from the landlady's nosy neighbor Hortense, break into the hotel and impound all the animals except Babe, Tug, the duck Ferdinand (who went after Babe) and a disabled Jack Russell named Flealick. They track them at an animal hospital the next morning. Meanwhile, Esme is released from jail by the judge (the airport cleaner who was seen earlier in the film) later that day because he grew up on a farm and had a lot of pig friends. That night, Babe, Tug, Flealick, and Ferdinand sneak into the hospital and open their cages. Esme returns to the hotel and reunites with the landlady mourning her uncle's death and tells her that her neighbor Hortense was the one that got the animals taken away. Dressed in Fugly's old clown suit Esme and the landlady set off on a two-seater bike to find the animals. At the hospital, Babe and the others climb up a ceiling tile and cross on a vent pipe to another building. Meanwhile Esme and the landlady get tired of pedaling and grab onto an ambulance. At that moment, Babe and others go through a children's ward and out into the hallway, where they find an elevator. They take it down to the lobby, but the elevator stops at one of the floors. A doctor was using the elevator, but another one stops him to fill out some papers, but they don't notice the animals inside the elevator and when the doctor was done, the elevator closed. When Esme and the landlady arrive at the hospital, they ask a cook if he saw any animals, but he didn't believe they were looking for them. The elevator arrives at the ground floor, but instead of opening to the lobby, the rear door opens into the kitchen. A chef carrying dishes turned to the elevator to see Babe and the others. In shock, he drops the dishes and they smash to pieces. When Esme and the landlady hear the crash and Babe squealing, they rush into the kitchen.
Two chefs grab Esme by the clown costume elastic suspenders. They bounce back, pulling Esme into them. Esme and the landlady finally track the animals at a gala dinner in a big ballroom where Esme and the landlady blast security and guests away with fire extinguishers. Esme ties the elastic of the suspenders to a streamer on the chandelier. She swings around the ballroom, the suspenders stretching. She hits a butler who falls from a ladder, trying to protect a champagne glass tower he created, but falls into the dessert table, yanks out the tag on Esme's clown pants. The tag says "DO NOT PULL". Esme's clown pants then rip open as a flesh colored balloon inflates from beneath the clothes. Still attached to the suspenders, she bounces about after her suit gets blown up. Babe is soon reunited with her as the chandelier falls, the suspenders snapping. Thelonius, thinking her to be Fugly Floom, tries to help her. Bob and Zootie pull a rope and blue balloons, intended for a finale to the gala, fall on the ballroom floor. Esme is tangled up in her suspenders and the inflated clown suit impedes her as she tries to get up. Zootie realizes she's missing one of her babies. Babe sees it as it falls from the broken chandelier cord. He alerts Thelonius who catches it, just in time. Zootie and Bob thank him but Thelonius tells them to "thank the Pig." 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, thankfully, Arthur Hoggett has recovered. He then fixes the water pump and, with a last look at Babe before the film ends, he says, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do." Babe looks at his boss as he holds his suspender straps. The film comes to a close.
After the credits roll, one of the mice thanks the audience for watching the movie.
- Magda Szubanski as Esme C. Hoggett
- Mary Stein as Miss. Floom
- James Cromwell as Arthur Hoggett
- Mickey Rooney as Fugly Floom
- Paul Livingston as the Angry Hot Headed Chef
- Julie Godfrey as Hortense
- Elizabeth Daily as Babe
- Danny Mann as Ferdinand and Tug
- Roscoe Lee Browne as the Narrator
- Glenne Headly as Zootie
- Steven Wright as Bob
- James Cosmo as Thelonius
- Stanley Ralph Ross as The Bull Terrier/The Doberman who was "BABE" with other people
- Russi Taylor as The Pink Poodle, and a Choir Cat
- Myles Jeffrey as Easy
- Adam Goldberg as Flealick the Jack Russell Terrier
- Eddie Barth as Nigel and Alan
- Bill Capizzi as Snoop
- Miriam Margolyes as Fly
- Hugo Weaving as Rex
- Jim Cummings as a Pelican
- Katie Leigh as a Hungry Kitten
- Charles Bartlett as a Cow
- Michael Edward-Stevens as a Horse
- Nathan Kress as Easy, and a Tough Pup
- Al Mancini as a Fish
- Larry Moss as a Fish
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.
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, Sears Tower, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, IDS Center, MetLife Building, Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fernsehturm Berlin, Big Ben, Red Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and many other landmarks.
The DVD covers feature a similar but different skyline, keeping the World Trade Center, Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben, Sydney Opera House, and Red Square. Several skyscrapers added include 40 Wall Street (Two of them), Empire State Building, 500 5th Avenue, the Flatiron Building, World Financial Center, and several Los Angeles Skyscrapers including the U.S. Bank Tower. The river near the hotel is similar at the canal of Venice, Italy or Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The film has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The movie has a 61% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes. 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, 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. Roger Ebert also praised the movie, giving it a perfect four stars and saying it was "more magical than the original Babe." 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. Radio personality/podcaster Jesse Thorn has also repeatedly praised the film.
This more recent praise comes despite the film returning a $21 million gross loss, compared to the first movie's $224 million gross profit.
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.
- Main Title / Babe the Brave Little Pig 2:89
- Save the Farm - 1:15
- Airport - 3:59
- Stranded - 3;20
- Apartment Place for Babe - 4;10
- A Pig Gets Wise - 6:38
- Sanctuary's End - 1:45
- Animal Control - 2:39
- Chaos Revisited - 3:16
- Where's the Animals? - performed by The Mavericks - 2:59
- Wrap-Up - 6:49
- Babe's Bathtub Party / End Credits - 7:49
Promotion and sponsorship
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.
- 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.)
- Weinraub, Bernard (November 30, 1998). "Studio Disappointed on 'Babe' Sequel". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- Brownfield, Paul (December 18, 1998). "How the 'Babe' Sequel Butchered the Image of Cuddly Screen Hero". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- Zoom and Pan: Babe: Pig in the City
- Top 10 Overlooked Movies (Part Two)
-  Babe: Pig in the City, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 07/28/10
- The New Cult Canon: Babe: Pig In The City
- Internet Archive of Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for weekend of November 28/98
- Internet Archive of Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for the weekend of January 02/99
- Babe: Pig In The City Babe: Pig in the city, Roger Ebert, Retrieved 07/28/10
- Babe: Pig in the City at allmovie
- Babe: Pig in the City at the Internet Movie Database
- Babe: Pig in the City at Box Office Mojo
- Babe: Pig In the City at SiskelandEbert.org