Rated G. Running time: 1 hour 37 min.
Our content ratings (1-10): Violence 3; Language 0; Sex/Nudity 1.
Our star rating (1-5): 5
If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on their heads, and Proverbs 25:21, quoted in Romans 12:20 by St. Paul, who added:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The most popular little porcine since Porky Pig is back, this time leaving the friendly farm to navigate the dangerous streets of the big city. With Farmer Hoggett laid up with an injury, Mrs. Hoggett takes Babe and sets off for a fair in a far country where she hopes Babe will win the sheep herding contest and thus win the prize money which will save their farm from being taken over. Of course, across the sea they miss their plane connection, and the two are stranded in a metropolis that looks like a combination of New York, Toronto, Sydney, Paris, and more, including Venetian canals. They find shelter in a strange hotel that serves as a clandestine city pet refuge, the owner always watching out for the Pet Police. A series of wild adventures occur when the two are separated, Babe having to contend with robber chimps, vicious watch dogs, an assortment of street dogs and cats, and the Pet Police, the latter called by the nosey neighbors who hate animals.
The film is darker than the original, so parents would do well to see it first before taking pre-school age children. The attack dogs are truly scary; and there is a scene of a hanging dog nearly drowning in the canal. This latter, however, from a Christian perspective is the best scene: The Pit bull had chased Babe around and around the block in a Keystone Cops type chase that threatened to become deadly at any moment, the large dog snapping viciously at times at Babe’s behind. It chases Babe over the rail of a bridge and into the canal. The little pig easily swims away, but the Pit bull’s broken chain catches in the bridge rail, causing the dog to dangle head-down into the water. The animal struggles wildly, but cannot free itself, the chain holding fast to the bridge. The street animals watch, as do the chimps and other animal denizens of the hotel. No one moves to help the drowning dog. Babe by now has climbed out of the canal. He too watches motionless for a moment, then he dives back into the water, swims to the now inert form of his attacker and manages to nudge the body into a near-by gondola. All are astounded at this rescue of an enemy by the little creature who was almost his victim.
When the Pit bull revives he is equally taken aback. He undergoes what the New Testament would call “metanoia,” a change of direction/mind/heart–repentance. The homeless animals ask Babe to help them survive the harsh city streets. Please, they plead, “We’re the excluded.” Shades of the Gospel! Babe agrees to be their leader, and the Pit bull says, “Whatever the Pig says, goes!” (Since Babe has been a successful sheep herder back home, might we say that, like Jesus (see Mark 6:34), he has now taken on the role of shepherd of “the excluded”?)
Director/writer George Miller, aided by a fine cast and tremendous technical assistants, has again brought us a delightful parable that adults will enjoy every bit as much as children. In fact, the three singing mice, again closing off a scene, are really for the enjoyment of the adults in the audience.