Old School 4 Life‘s Today’s Memory
Premiere of the movie Babe
Originally shared by Old School 4 Life™
On this day:
At 4th August of 1995, the movie „Babe” was released.
Remember the times when a parent or a grandparent would read to a child in bed, so that the child can visualize the story and comfortably sink into his/her dreamworld ? Well, ‘Babe’ feels like such a story. It is a heartwarming tale about a Pig (called Babe by her ‘Mom’) and her friends at the farm. Co-written and directed by Chris Noonan, it is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith’s 1983 novel ‘The Sheep-Pig’, also known as ‘Babe: The Gallant Pig’ in the USA, which tells the story of a pig who wants to be a sheepdog.
The film is broken into chapters (just like in a book) and the lovable talking animals appear like very real and humanistic characters. The voice-acting is very well done. Christine Cavanaugh’s childlike voice remarkably fits Babe. Miriam Margolyes, Danny Mann, Hugo Weaving and Miriam Flynn are all pleasing. James Cromwell is wonderfully restrained.
The movie takes place in Australia, where the hero, a young pig, watches wistfully as all the other pigs are trucked away, never to return. They are going to Pig Paradise, he thinks: „a place so wonderful that nobody ever came back.” But Babe is somehow spared the trip. Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) sees him, and likes him, and, yes, something passes between them that has the faintest hint of a common destiny.
And so Babe is brought to live on the Hoggett farm, where he is adopted by a female border collie named Fly and raised as one of her puppies. Life is pleasant on the farm, although the animals have various problems. Ferdinand, the duck, thinks he is a pig, and watches sadly as the humans eat an animal for dinner: „There must be far-off lands with kinder dispositions.” Rex, the male collie, hates sheep and is hard of hearing. And Cat, the cat, has a mean disposition.
Farm in „Babe” is not just a beautiful dream-like setting, it happens to be a codified universe where each species has a specific place depending on its utility. The rooster wakes up the farmer, the hens make eggs, cows give milk, dogs herd the sheep, cat chase mice, horses transport etc. In this hierarchy, pigs are in the bottom. The film deals with pigs’ fate with a gravity that mirrors the dramatic death of Bambi’s mother, but also through comedy with the unforgettable Ferdinand the Duck who tries to replace the rooster to be spared from being eaten.
Babe is an outcast, but like „Dumbo” and in a lesser measure „Pinocchio”, in the gentle sense of the word. Indeed, he wants to be useful, to be part of the farm’s collective effort. The charm of „Babe” is to create a character to which any kid can identify with; inspired by the idea of following their dreams no matter how silly they sound.
But nothing is silly when handled in a smooth and sensitive way. Babe respects the order and the leadership of Rex, the male sheepdog, he plays with Rex and his female Fly’s puppies, but they have the right to be in home, along with the cat, but he can’t. This feeling of rejection is the cement of kids’ personalities because it’s a way for children to determine what they can bring to the others.
However, Farmer Hoggett and Babe share a special relationship that confounds his wife, the sheep dogs, and the sheep. Hoggett trains Babe how to herd sheep and he’s a mighty smart and fast learner, ultimately changing the rules that dominated the pecking order of the barnyard – „because that’s the way it’s always been” with good manners and friendship.
Still, life is a pleasure for Babe, who is very smart (everyone knows pigs are smarter than horses and maybe dogs and certainly sheep). And the episodes of the story are punctuated by little musical passages by a group of tiny mice, who act as a sort of chorus, and whose rendition of „Blue Moon” must be seen to be appreciated.
Clever animation, well done animatronic creature-doubles, and a menagerie of superbly trained farm animals makes the story of the little pig who could be more than just bacon for breakfast a film for the entire family. A simple story that underscores that hard work and tolerance for those different from oneself is to be respected in the kingdom of all animals, Babe certainly brings to the screen through comedy and drama, lessons all ages can understand.
‘Babe’ received widespread critical acclaim. It was also a box office success, grossing $254,134,910 worldwide. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won the award for Best Visual Effects, defeating ‘Apollo 13’. In 2006, the American Film Institute named Babe #80 on its list of America’s Most Inspiring Movies.
Aside from the efforts by the farm animals not to end up on the dinner table, there is a deeper message: life is better when everyone is nice to each other. Kindness, generosity and a cheerful disposition are worth more than any material treasures. This is a wonderful, sweet-hearted comedy-drama with a nice ending, too, guaranteed to leave you with a smile or a tear, or both. This is one of the best „family” movies of all time.