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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Babe: Pig In the City (1998)



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Without knowing anything else about this movie other than that it's a sequel to the great, intelligent Babe from 1995 with the ridiculous name Babe: Pig In the City, you'd swear it would be insufferable. It turns out not only is it a marvelously creative work, but its title is quite appropriate after all.

Although the mood of Babe: Pig In the City is substantially different from that of the original, they both have that enchanting fairy tale quality. In this movie, retaining that essential element hinged on skewing the city into a manifest exaggeration. That director George Miller most certainly does. "The city" is a pure product of the imagination, filled as much with shadows and dark emotions as it is with hulking hotels and neon lights. The people that inhabit it are exaggerated to similar effect. Paradoxically, the animals are more human; children, used to being the only ones they can understand in a world dominated by mystical adults, will relate to the animals quite easily. At the same time, be forewarned that this is not for small children; in fact, this movie is more directed at adults. A G-rated movie about talking animals? No wonder this movie had an uphill battle finding its intended audience.

As much as I admire the film, however, I wouldn't say it even comes close to the original film, whose perceptiveness and cheery splendor make it one of my favorites. The slapstick, for instance, is overdone, and not all of the animal co-stars hit home for me. But the good far outweighs the bad.

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