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Babe Movie Review

voice film noonan animals

1995 – Chris Noonan –

This charming fantasy about a talking pig who thinks he's a sheepdog, adapted from a children's novel by Dick King-Smith, was something of a surprise hit with audiences and critics and became one of the few films of its kind to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. What makes Babe such a wonderful movie is that it rises above standard children's film fare. The story is funny yet poignant, with a message about prejudice and about daring to challenge social conformity. The dialogue is clever and witty, the characters (most of whom are animals) are endearing, and the overall tone refuses to condescend or patronize. Consequently, Babe is not merely a good family film, but a good film, period, and its appeal reaches adults as well as children.

The world of farm animals in which Babe finds himself in is a microcosm of the human world, with the rivalry between different animals representing the divisions and prejudices so common within humanity. Sheep dogs look down upon sheep, for instance, as inferior, stupid creatures, but Babe learns that the sheep are in fact just as intelligent as any of the animals on the farm. Yet, while such “racism” is targeted for attack, it is shown to be the result of ignorance, and its perpetrators, such as the dogs Fly and Rex, are not depicted as villains.

The innocent yet wise little pig Babe, himself a member of a disenfranchised class, becomes the instrument of peace and the bridge to a tolerant and understanding world. Not only does he overcome the boundaries of prejudice that exist between different animals, but he also challenges social conventions and expectations by learning to herd sheep, a task normally assigned to dogs, thereby saving himself from the fate awaiting most pigs and also demonstrating that through tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect, almost anything can be accomplished. Thus, the little pig who simply wants a nice life and a place in the world becomes a big hero.

Cast: Christine Cavanaugh (voice of Babe), Miriam Margolyes (voice of Fly), Danny Mann (voice of Ferdinand), Hugo Weaving (voice of Rex), Mariam Flynn (voice of Maa), Russi Taylor (voice of Cat), Evelyn Krape (voice of Old Ewe), Michael Edward-Stevens (voice of Horse), Charles Bartlett (voice of Cow), Paul Livingston (voice of Rooster), Roscoe Lee Browne (Narrator), James Cromwell (Farmer Hoggett), Magda Szubanski (Mrs. Hoggett), Zoe Burton (Daughter), Paul Goddard (Son-in-Law) Screenwriter: George Miller, Chris Noonan Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie Composer: Nigel Westlake Producer: Bill Miller, George Miller, and Doug Mitchell for Universal MPAA Rating: G Running Time: 89 minutes Format: VHS, LV, DVD Awards Academy Awards, 1995: Visual Effects; Nominations: Art Direction/Set Decoration, Director (Chris Noonan), Editing, Picture, Supporting Actor (James Cromwell), Adapted Screenplay (George Miller, Chris Noonan); Golden Globes, 1996: Motion Picture—Comedy/Musical; National Society of Film Critics Awards, 1995: Film; New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 1995: First Film (Chris Noonan) Box Office: $66.6M (domestic gross).

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