Babe, a short children’s novel by British author Dick King-Smith was turned into one of the loveliest children’s films ever, thanks to writer/producer George Miller (a man better known for writing and directing the Mad Max movies) and director Chris Noonan.
As well as having an adorable story at its heart, what makes this movie so special is that the animals ‘speak’ thanks to computer trickery and animatronic doubles (the film won an Oscar for its visual effects).
It is, of course, the story of an orphaned pig named Babe, who is taken in by Farmer Hoggett (a wonderful James Cromwell). (Those of a sensitive nature should note that the circumstances that bring Babe to his farm may bring on a few tears.) Mrs Hoggett (Magda Szubanski) isn’t too impressed by the new addition, but Farmer Hoggett warms to the little cutie (as voiced by Cavanaugh), especially when Babe – who shares a barn with various animals, including the sheepdogs – shows an aptitude for herding the sheep. Should Hoggett enter Babe the ‘sheep pig’ in a sheep-herding competition, risking ridicule from the other farmers?
Even the most animal-phobic person will melt at Babe’s adventures (actually forty-eight piglets were used during filming as they grow so fast), many of which are very funny, and his pals, including the duck who thinks he’s a rooster and gets Babe into much trouble. With the various ‘chapters’ of the film introduced by a chorus of singing mice, this is cuter than a room full of fluffy puppies and purring kittens and is a must for all ages.
Is Babe suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Everyone, young and old, will find the early scene when Babe is taken away from his mother very upsetting.
Kids may be upset when Ma the sheep is attacked and dies bleeding.
There are two main frightening scenes, one where Babe walks into a dark slaughterhouse and another when he is taunted by Duchess the cat.