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
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
Running time
96 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Box office $69.1 million

Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian/American 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 and the farmer's wife Esme in the fictional city of Metropolis.

Plot[edit]

Set after the events of the first film, Babe and his master Arthur Hoggett are given a welcome home parade after Babe's success as a "sheepdog". One day, Babe inadvertently causes an accident to befall Arthur, who ends up in the hospital. Esme is unsuccessful 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 soon 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 instead, and they leave the farm together.

At the airport in the city of Metropolis, a sniffer dog falsely detects that Babe and Esme are accused of carrying illegal substances. Airport security officers interrogate them, causing them to miss their connecting flight. An airport cleaner tells them about a hotel that is suitable for accommodating animals, so Esme and Babe go there. While Esme runs an errand, Babe chases a black and white capuchin monkey named Tug after he steals Esme's suitcase. Fleeing into a hotel room, Babe follows it and meets three clothed chimpanzees named Bob, Zootie and Easy, as well as Thelonius, an orangutan butler for the landlady's elderly uncle Fugly Floom (Mickey Rooney), a clown who kidnaps Babe to use in his act. Babe initially refuses but accepts when the chimps mention a reward he'll receive after doing the act. When Esme returns, Fugly tricks her into thinking that Babe ran off into the city. Esme goes to look for Babe, but ends up getting arrested after causing an uproar with some thugs. Meanwhile, Fugly performs his clown act in a hospital, but Babe accidentally trips him 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 escorted by the landlady. Babe is in his room, hungry and waiting for Esme to return. That night, the chimpanzees try to steal food from a store and use Babe to distract two dogs, who chase Babe around the city. Babe falls into a river and swims away, but returns and saves one of the dogs from drowning. The dog becomes friends with Babe, and Babe invites him and the other homeless animals into the hotel. They share the food around and then sing, alerting the duck Ferdinand (who had come after Babe from the farm). Zootie gives birth to twins. Animal control officers capture all the animals and take them away except for Babe, Tug, Ferdinand and a Jack Russell named Flealick. Esme is released from jail by the judge after explaining her situation. That night, Babe, Tug, Flealick, and Ferdinand sneak into animal control and open their friends' cages. Esme returns to the hotel and reunites with the landlady, who is mourning her uncle's death, and tells Esme that her neighbor Hortense was the one who got the animals taken away. Esme and the landlady confront Hortense to find out where the animals have been sent, then set off to find them.

Esme and the landlady track the animals to a charity dinner in the hospital's ballroom, where they battle the chefs and waiters with fire extinguishers. In the epilogue, the landlady sells the hotel and gives the money to Esme so she can save the farm. The landlady and the animals come to stay at the farm, where Arthur has recovered from his injury.

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 personal matters[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, and a controversial shot of the bull terrier hanging on the chain over water by his neck)[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 18 November 2007 and AMC on 9 December 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 movie received a 62% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes.[2] The movie has developed a cult following,[3] and film critic Gene Siskel named it as his choice for the best movie of 1998, saying it was better than the first film.[4][5] Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and saying it was "more magical than the original Babe."[6] The film was 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.[7] Radio personality/podcaster Jesse Thorn has also praised the film.[8]

Soundtrack[edit]

The musical score for Babe: Pig in the City was composed by Nigel Westlake, who wrote the music for the first film. A soundtrack album was released on 24 November 1998 by Geffen Records featuring Westlake's score as well as sound clips taken from film. The soundtrack also includes source music such as "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller and "That's Amore" by Dean Martin. Additional tracks include the Academy Award-nominated theme song "That'll Do" and a song sung by Elizabeth Daily.

  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]

  • 4 May 1999 (VHS, DVD, and laserdisc) (The DVD was in both widescreen and pan and scan formats.)
  • 22 May 2001 (DVD - 2-Pack with Babe)
  • 23 September 2003 (DVD - "The Complete Adventure Two-Movie Pig Pack" was released in separate widescreen and pan and scan formats.)
  • 12 November 2004 (DVD - Family Double Feature, includes Babe) (This set has the 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 2015-11-13. 
  2. ^ [1] Babe: Pig in the City, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 07/28/10
  3. ^ The New Cult Canon: Babe: Pig In The City
  4. ^ Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for weekend of November 28/98 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 11, 2000)
  5. ^ Siskel & Ebert capsule summary for the weekend of January 02/99 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2000)
  6. ^ Babe: Pig In The City Babe: Pig in the city, Roger Ebert, Retrieved 07/28/10
  7. ^ Zborowski, James (2010-06-27). "Between Sympathy and Detachment: Artists crossing mediums". Betweensympathyanddetachment.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  8. ^ 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]