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
Starring Magda Szubanski
James Cromwell
Mary Stein
Elizabeth Daily (voice)
Danny Mann (voice)
Steven Wright (voice)
Narrated by Roscoe Lee Browne
Music by Nigel Westlake
Randy Newman (songs)
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Edited by Jay Friedkin
Margaret Sixel
Production
  company
Kennedy Miller Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 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 (also known as Babe 2) 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 causes an accident involving Arthur as he is repairing the water pump in his well, which results in him ending up in hospital. Struggling to cope without her husband, Esme has no success tending the farm on her own. A few days later, 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 from their farm. Among the many letters from their fans, Esme locates one 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 together.

At the airport in the city of Metropolis, a sniffer dog named Snoop falsely senses that Babe and Esme are carrying illegal substances and drugs. Airport security interrogate them, causing them to miss their connecting flight to the fair. Esme calls a lot of hotels, asking if they take pets, but they all say no. With nowhere to go, Babe and Esme spend the night in the airport, but a security guard escorts them out the next morning. While leaving the airport, an airport cleaner tells them about a hotel called the Flealands Hotel that takes animals, so Esme and Babe arrive there. At first, the landlady pretends to not let them in, because of her neighbors, but when Esme and Babe begin to walk away, the landlady takes them in. While Esme runs an errand, Babe goes after a white capuchin monkey named Tug after he steals Esme's suitcase. Fleeing into a hotel room, Babe follows it and 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 to use in his act. Babe initially refuses but when the chimps lie and tell him he'll be rewarded, he falls for it and goes along, hoping to gain enough money to save the farm. When Esme returns, Fugly tricks her into thinking that Babe ran into the city. Panicking, Esme goes to look for Babe in the city, but is arrested after a gang of street thugs try to snatch her purse, but she sends one of them hurtling into two police officers on motorcycles, and they accidentally cause a riot in the streets. In the confusion, on a nearby billboard, two billboard painters inadvertently drag half the poster off the billboard with them and then launch a large bucket of glue which tumbles onto Esme's head. Meanwhile, Fugly performs his clown act in a hospital, but after a short while Babe accidentally trips him up and he throws a flaming torch into the stage curtains which catch fire, activating the sprinklers and forcing everyone out.

The next morning, Fugly goes to the hospital in a food coma from diabetes and is escorted by the landlady. Babe has discovered that they lied to him and sits in his room, terribly hungry and waiting for the "boss's wife" (referring to Esme) to return. With the humans gone, that night, the chimpanzees try to steal some food from a store and use Babe to distract two viscous dogs. A bull terrier and a Doberman then chase Babe around the city and back to the canal in front of the hotel. Babe loses the Doberman after it is injured in the chase but, as his life flashes before his eyes in his terror, he turns to the bull terrier and gives up. The bull terrier almost kills Babe by biting at his throat but Babe falls into the canal and swims away. The bull terrier attempts to follow, but its chain (now attached to a lawnmower) becomes lodged against the bridge struts which dangles him in the water with his head submerged. A nearby group of cats and dogs ignore it but Babe decides to save him by pushing a rowing boat underneath his head. The bull terrier, now in his debt, becomes friends with Babe, and Babe invites him and the other homeless animals into the hotel after they see the stolen food (a jar of jelly beans). They share the food around and then sing "If I Had Words", alerting the duck Ferdinand (who had come after Babe from the farm). After Zootie then 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 for Babe, Tug, Ferdinand and a disabled Jack Russell named Flealick. Flealick is knocked unconscious after attempting to chase the trucks as they leave but comes around shortly after, and the four of them track the people to an animal testing facility the next morning. Meanwhile, Esme is released from jail by the judge after explaining her situation. That night, Babe, Tug, Flealick, and Ferdinand sneak into the hospital and open their friends' cages. Esme then returns to the quiet 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 all the animals taken away. Dressed in Fugly's old clown suit to replace Esme's glue-covered dress (from the riot), Esme and the landlady confront Hortense in order to find out where the animals have been sent. Both women then set off on a two-seater bicycle to find them.

Esme and the landlady track the animals to a gala dinner in a ballroom, where they battle the chefs and waiters with fire extinguishers to defend themselves and their animals. In an attempt to get Babe back, Esme ties the suspenders of her clown trousers to one of the chandeliers ribbons and bounces up and down after the chef holding Babe. After failing to catch him, she inadvertently knocks into a nearby waiter protecting a tower of champagne glasses, who falls into the dessert table and yanks out a sign with the words "DO NOT PULL" on it. A flesh colored rubber suit proceeds to inflate into a large balloon beneath her waist, tearing through her trousers. She bounces around by the elastic suspenders until she finally grabs Babe, when suddenly the chandelier cord breaks. Esme falls to the ground as Bob and Zootie leap from the chandelier into canopies of blue balloons, letting them all fall to the ground. Babe notices one of Zootie's babies hanging from the electrical cord of the chandelier and quickly alerts Thelonius just in time to catch the baby chimp. Bob and Zootie thank him but Thelonius reminds them to thank Babe.

In the epilogue, 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 stay at the farm, where Arthur has recovered from his injury. As they congregate in the barn to watch, he fixes the water pump and, with a last look at Babe, says again, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."

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[citation needed] 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, as did a promotional poster. By the time the film was released in theaters it had been re-rated as G (like the first film), based on a final edit that removed most of the dog violence (but retaining a shot that shows the bull terrier pushing down Babe into the river)[citation needed]. 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

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)
  • November 12, 2004 (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]

  1. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City (1998)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  2. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (November 30, 1998). "Studio Disappointed on 'Babe' Sequel". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  3. ^ Brownfield, Paul (December 18, 1998). "How the 'Babe' Sequel Butchered the Image of Cuddly Screen Hero". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  4. ^ Zoom and Pan: Babe: Pig in the City
  5. ^ Top 10 Overlooked Movies (Part Two)
  6. ^ [1] Babe: Pig in the City, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 07/28/10
  7. ^ The New Cult Canon: Babe: Pig In The City
  8. ^ Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for weekend of November 28/98 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 11, 2000)
  9. ^ Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for the weekend of January 02/99 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2000)
  10. ^ Babe: Pig In The City Babe: Pig in the city, Roger Ebert, Retrieved 07/28/10
  11. ^ Zborowski, James (2010-06-27). "Between Sympathy and Detachment: Artists crossing mediums". Betweensympathyanddetachment.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  12. ^ Bullseye with Jesse Thorn (2013-11-04). "The Outshot: Babe: Pig in the City by Bullseye with Jesse Thorn on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 

External links[edit]