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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Babe

Starring: James Cromwell, Miriam Margolyes
Director: Chris Noonan
Rated: G
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: August 1995
Genres: Kids, Family, Comedy

*Also starring: Danny Mann, Hugo Weaving, Miriam Flynn, Russi Taylor, Evelyn Krape

Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

It was the battle of the pig movies. Who would come out on top? Would it be Gordy or Babe? Both played in theaters in the summer of 1995. Gordy had a three month head start, but it was Babe who was the clear winner, both in terms of box office gross and in quality.

When the Golden Globe awards for 1995 were announced, the surprise winner for Best Comedy Picture was "Babe", a movie that featured pigs, dogs, and sheep. Unfortunately, Babe the pig was not nominated for Best Actor, a clear case of Hollywood discrimination! Since dozens of different pigs played Babe, it would have been quite a spectacle for them all to clomp down the stairs to the microphones for their acceptance speech.

"Babe" is the story of a pig, destined for greatness rather than gravy. Parted from his mother at an early age, and chosen at random to escape the factory for a life on the farm, Babe must find his place there. He hangs with the dogs, and is adopted by them. He learns their ways, including how to herd sheep. He is entered in a sheepdog contest by the Boss, the farmer husband. But Babe must overcome many obstacles if he is to win the contest and prevent the Boss from being the laughingstock of the country.

There are some sad moments in this film. Some of the animals meet cruel fates. The powerlessness of farm animals comes across: the may not fear God, but they certainly fear man.

Why is this an outstanding film? First, Babe is a sympathetic character, an orphan, a little guy, who has to prove himself worthy, instead of being a pork dinner. The story is compelling. The cinematography is beautiful, with the lush greens of the fields, and lovely black and white puppy dogs. The various animals each have their own distinct personalities. Finally, the casting of the farmer (James Cromwell) and his wife (Magda Szubanski) is perfect. After seeing the movie, it is as if no one else could have played the roles.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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