Hey, parents! If your kids have a dark streak - they're the kind that would rather watch your copy of "Blue Velvet" than one of those lame-ass Disney heaps - "Babe: Pig in the City" is the ultimate movie. Get your kids' asses in those theater seats.
Hey, kids! If you're reading the Filthy Critic, you're in the wrong fucking place. Get the hell out of here before I reach out through your screen and slap the pink right out of those little cheeks.
Truth be told, "Babe: Pig in the City" was not my first choice of movies to see over the holidays. My first choice was "Very Bad Things" because I thought maybe Cameron Diaz would take off her top. But, I went to "Babe" because Mrs. Filthy loves cute animals and I try not to cross Mrs. Filthy very often. Now that I've seen "Babe," I am glad as hell that I went.
"Babe" is one of the most kick-ass movies of the year, so long as you are not a young child and you like animals. I am not a little kid, and I like animals. I like petting them and I like eating them.
I don't know where the legend of Babe came from, but I think it was Greek mythology. So, for those without an education in the classics, Babe is a little pig that bosses sheep around. At the beginning of the film, Babe has accidentally fucked-up his boss. That means the farmer's wife (Magda Szubanski) must tend to the chores. She can't keep up and the place quickly falls into debt. Well, the only way to raise enough dough to get the farm out of hock is for Babe to make a guest appearance at a county fair. Around here, most county fairs have bikini or wet T-shirt contests, so this fair must have been in boring Iowa or Buttfuck, Egypt.
On the way to the fair, the wife is suspected of being a drug dealer, and she is strip searched (no, we don't get to see her goods). The delay forces her to miss her flight and she and the pig can't get to the fair. Instead, they are stuck in a big-ass crazy city, where Babe is not welcome. They shack up at a screwy hotel, the only one in the big bad city that will take animals. The cats are boarded on one side, the dogs on the other. A family of unfriendly circus chimpanzees and an orangutan reside on one floor with their owner Mickey Rooney, a sad, creepy circus clown.
Rooney steals Babe and makes him part of his circus act. During a performance in a hospital, Babe accidentally starts a fire that burns down the children's ward. Well, this is so traumatic for Rooney that it puts him in a coma, and he's rushed to the hospital. The hotel's owner is Rooney's niece and she leaves to be at his bedside. Meanwhile, Szubanski is arrested because some policemen think she called them pigs. That leaves Babe, the primates, the cats and the dogs back at the hotel, alone to fend for themselves.
So, can you see how this isn't your typical kiddie movie?
When the abandoned animals almost starve, they try to rob a grocery store. In the process, Babe pisses off a pit bull who then wants to kill him, but ends up dragging a lawnmower all over the crazy city in hot prusuit of our pig friend. This is the best chase scene I have scene all year. It ends with the pit bull hung by his chain over a canal, his head submerged and him struggling for survival. The pit bull comes within a hair of actually drowning, but Babe rescues him and he becomes Babe's protector.
Because of a rude neighbor that does not like animals, Babe's friends are captured by animal control and put on doggie death row. It is up to Babe to save them, and he has nothing except his above average smarts and his basic decency to do it.
Of course, I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that he succeeds, and in the process, saves his master's farm. But, the way he does it involves a daring jail break and the interruption of a high society party where Szubanski bounces around a ballroom in inflated bloomers, a baby chimpanzee is almost electrocuted, and tuxedoed well-to-do's swing from the balustrades like Tarzans.
"Babe" is the freakiest sequel I have ever seen. The folks that made the original could have said, "Stupid kids don't know shit from shinola. We'll just put the fucking pig back up on the screen and watch the dough roll in." They didn't, though. They actually gave a rat's ass and said, "Let's blow the kids God damn minds with the weirdest, darkest children's movie ever made." They went out of their way to make a sequel that is a hell of a lot more imaginative than the first one. It's also so freakin' sad and spooky in parts that most of your kids will wet their little pants. That is your fault, parents, for not properly preparing them for the real world.
More than anything, I dug the imagination, particularly the characters and the settings. It should be noted by many Hollywood assholes that every animal in this film has more charisma and charm than any Bruce Willis character they've ever thrown up there. When the script was written, the authors actually tried to not to imitate whatever was popular last week. And, this is coming from a guy that usually gags when the fucking animals start talking baby-talk.
The setting is the dangerous big city. It is meant to scare Babe and Szubanski, as well as your kids. It's an amazing composite of many big cities and landmarks, but it mostly reminded me of the settings of a couple of French flicks, "Delicatessen" and "City of Lost Children," with a dash of "Brazil." The city has canals and crooked buildings. It has dark corners, murky citizens and decrepit government officials. It's like the shit I see every day, but with the grotesque and odd magnified. It's a complete vision of the city, too. It's not like they wanted to make it look crazy, but didn't think of anything beyond that. This city is alive and breathes in all its weirdo coolness. And it's so fucking awesome to look at that I almost shit myself (no lie - although I was dangerously full of Thanksgiving turkey).
Finally, the plot is so good that I wanted to bottle it and sprinkle a little on the next Adam Sandler bomb I'm forced to sit through. This little pig is not super smart. He isn't strong. He has no magical powers. It's his decency that makes him
I wish I could give this masterpiece five stars, and believe
me I was tempted. But, I'm holding back my thumb because I don't
know who "Babe" is meant for besides me. I'm flattered
to think that Universal is making movies just to please the Filthy
Critic, but I doubt they are. Rather, they made a David Lynch
film with funny talking animals, and I just can't figure out
why or for whom. I love them dearly for doing it, but I doubt
their sanity. Four big fingers for the courageous animals.