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