Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
Starring: Magda Szubanski, James Cromwell, Mary Stein, Mickey Rooney, and the voices of E.G. Daily, Gleanne Headly, Steven Wright, James Cosmo, Stanley, Ralph Ross, Danny Mann, Roscoe Lee Browne / Director: George Miller II
“Babe: Pig in the City” could be billed as “Babe: Exposed to the Sins of the City.” While it retains its “G” rating by the MPA, there are a few scenes that could have easily given it a “PG” rating. I was horrified when Esme Hoggett (Magda Szubanski, “Babe”), the wife of Babe’s owner, Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell, “Deep Impact”, “Babe”), was mistakenly arrested and ordered to remove her clothing for an obvious strip-search. We are never exposed to this undignified procedure; yet, the very idea of ordering someone to remove his or her clothing, in a family film, is preposterous. To further insult us, the director, George Miller II, blatantly exposes our children to scantly clad women (in thong bikinis) with the sides of their breasts and buttocks hanging out.
I realize that many of your children see this on TV. Shows like “Baywatch”, for instance, constantly reveal women in this state of dress (or undress, if you will). However, to bill a movie as a “family” film and talk about disrobing and showing women roller-skating in thong bikinis is simply insulting to our integrity!
Babe’s adventure begins where the original movie left off. The now-famous pig returns home triumphantly. Shortly afterward, Arthur is injured and the result is catastrophic. Either he will lose his farm, because he is unable to work, or Babe will have to raise the money by appearing at a county fair.
Leaving their native Australian farm, Babe and Esme fly to New York where they immediately are stranded by a series of unfortunate circumstances.
They find lodging at the “Flealands Hotel,” in a city where cultures and time periods collide. Amongst its buildings one can find the signs and architectures of such famous sites as the World Trade Center, the Sydney Opera House, the Space Needle, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, the Hollywood sign and many other landmarks including the canals of Venice. Here they make friends with “The Fabulous Flooms (Mickey Rooney) and their Amazing Apes” (Easy, Zootie and Bob). Also, among the friends they make are Thelonius, an old orangutan; Tag, a capuchin monkey; Flealick, an arthritic dog who wheels himself in a wheelchair; Nigel, a bulldog; and Alan, a mastiff. There is even a singing goldfish!
Their adventures, at times, seem whimsical and at other times bizarre. But everything works out in the end. There is a happy ending. And the children, at least the ones I talked to, really enjoy this movie. My niece, Nicole said it was “cool” and my nephew said he liked the way the pig told the bully, “I may be a pig, but I can be ferocious.”
In spite of this, there is a dark side to this movie! There is a scene in which a dog is seen convulsing as he dies. In another scene, a Pitbull is seen drowning. Thankfully, he is rescued before his life is ended. There are other scenes depicting near-death experiences. Most of the kids did not seem to be affected by these scenes; but it did seem to me to be a little overdone, for a children’s movie. Furthermore, some parents may be appalled to learn that the dog, which dies, is revived when another dog pleads for him to live and not die. While many adults will readily pick up on the New Age belief in reincarnation, the children I talked to only viewed it as a dog, who was dreaming because he was injured. They did not understand that he had died and went to doggie heaven. And they certainly did not understand that he was resurrected/reincarnated.
If you go to see this movie, please take the time to tell your children about God’s wonderful plan of salvation. Explain to them about His divine protection of us and about life after death. It will be time well spent!