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Film / Babe: Pig in the City

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Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 film directed by George Miller. It is a sequel to the film Babe.

Despite its cutesy-poo title, Babe: Pig in the City manages to take an already fairly dark story and turn it Darker and Edgier. The fact that George Miller takes over as director (he produced the first film and Chris Noonan directed) has quite a bit to do with it. It has been called The City of Lost Children — Except This Time the Children are Adorable Kittens, which gives you an idea of the tone. Although at the same time it is much Denser and Wackier, which is why the film received such a mixed reception.


This film contains examples of:

  • All-Loving Hero: Babe to a subtle degree and pointed out when he saves a bull terrier right after the said dog had tried to kill him, and all the other animals watching the drowning dog retreated from helping.
  • Animal Talk: All animals can understand each other, though their understanding of humans is limited. Humans can't understand the animals at all.
  • Ascended Extra: Mrs. Hoggett has a much larger role than the first film.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The entire climax of the movie.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The bull terrier who tries to kill Babe, and is then rescued by him, immediately employs himself as Babe's right hand man. Also pointed out in his speech of how it's a bull terrier's job to "be malicious" and that most others would have let him drown.
  • City of Canals: The film takes place in a mashuptropolis that, among other, weirder things, has Venice-style canals in place of streets.
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  • City of Everywhere: The view from Babe's window at the animal hotel includes the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Rio de Janiero statue of Christ, the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, what appears to be a Moscow cathedral, and possibly other famous landmarks. Signage in the film indicates the city Babe visits is called "Metropolis", which has a Metropolis Gun Club and Metropolis Institute of Medicine.
  • The City vs. the Country
  • Cross-Cast Role:
    • Thelonius is a male orangutan, but he is portrayed by a female; female apes are easier to train and handle than males.
    • Just like in the first movie, Babe is a male pig portrayed by a female pig and voiced by a woman.
  • Cute Mute: Tug the capuchin monkey comes off as particularly cute because he's the only animal who doesn't talk.
  • Darker and Edgier: According to some people. The original was about a little pig on a farm who was taken in by the female sheepdog and was mostly lighthearted, a Tear Jerker here and there, but the darkest element was when Babe's parents are herded to the slaughterhouse. In Pig in the City, there's a hotel with illegal pets, animal control, a vicious bull terrier that nearly drowns trying to kill Babe, and one of those little wheelchair dogs who almost dies. Terrifying for some kids. On the other hand, in the first part a duck is killed for the Christmas dinner and a sheep is killed by feral dogs and in the second part no animal is Killed Off for Real.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The mice. Je ne regrette rien after Babe accidentally injures Farmer Hoggett? At times, slips outright into Comedic Sociopathy; the mice giggle merrily at nearly every dark turn of the plot.
  • Demoted to Extra: Farmer Hoggett, who gets injured at the beginning, and healed at the end. As well as the farm animals except Ferdinand, the mice and Babe himself.
  • Denser and Wackier: Despite the sequel being considered Darker and Edgier, it was more cartoonish than the first film and features gobs of slapstick unlike the original film and more over-the-top Large Ham human characters in the city in contrast to the more grounded county villagers of the first movie and outrageous kinds of Cloudcuckoolander animals in the city in contrast to the more realistic (if not counting the talking part) group of the Hoggett farm animals.
  • Disaster Dominoes: In the chapter appropriately titled "Chaos Theory".
    • Farmer Hoggett's injury is the result of a sequence of this. The narrator even spells out the various pieces of the sequence.
      Narrator: If only [Babe] hadn't been so careless; if only the weight of the pig and the pump did not exceed the weight of the farmer; if only the farmer did not connect with the platform on the way up, or jam his fingers at the top; if only the pump hadn't fallen off at the bottom; and if only the poor farmer had the presence of mind... to hold onto the rope.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Parodied in a shot showing the view out of Babe's window, which features a cluster of landmarks from multiple cities.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema
  • Evil Debt Collector: Two arrive near the beginning of the film to threaten the farm with foreclosure.
    Narrator: Before long, two men showed up. Two men in suits. Men with pale faces and soulless eyes. Such men could have come from only one place: the bank.
  • Fantastic Racism: The apes, who wear clothes and are part of a circus act, believe themselves superior to other animals because of how human-like they are. In the end, they discover they can be happy just by being themselves.
  • Gag Boobs: When dressed in the clown costume, Esme's breasts squeak and honk suggestively a few times.
  • Greek Chorus: The mice, and usually in a darkly sarcastic way that belies their cheery singing.
  • Ho Yay: At times during the film, there is sexual tension between Esme Hoggett & The Landlady. Most notably the scene where Esme returns from jail back to the Hotel to meet up again with the Landlady.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Tug the capuchin monkey can only communicate himself by making primate sounds, but all of his fellow animals understand him alright.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thelonius the orangutan.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Implied, as Esme's shoes suddenly disappear in-between shots during the ballroom scene. However, a Missing Trailer Scene reveals that they were actually pulled off by a chef and a waiter trying to catch her.
  • Monster Clown: How unsettling is the Fabulous Floom? Let us count the ways...
  • Motor Mouth: Mrs. Hoggett. A courtroom stenographer had a hard time keeping up with her ranting.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Happens to Babe when he's being menaced by the bull terrier.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Fugly Floom, a kind elderly clown who does shows for children in hospitals despite his failing health.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Since adult pigs aren't cute Babe never grows up, despite the fact that it must've been a year by the time the sequel begins.
  • Panty Shot: Esme Hoggett's dress splits open as a result of being drenched in billboard glue earlier in the movie, revealing her underwear.
  • Sad Clown: The Fabulous Floom is a literal sad clown.
  • Saving the Orphanage: The plot involves having to save the farm.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted; Ferdinand is largely absent for the first part of the movie and then shows up in time for the darkest parts. Guess the moviemakers figured some comic relief would be welcome at that point.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Mrs. Hoggett gets dragged around in pretty undignified fashion.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Snoop the airport security dog. If he hadn't demonstrated his calling bark to Babe, he would've never caught the attention of the airport security, who wouldn't have caused Babe and Esme to miss their flight, thus kick starting the plot.
  • Those Two Guys: Nigel and Alan.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Snoop the airport sniffer dog. He only appears briefly, but in his limited screen time when demonstrating how he does his job at the airport, he unintentionally misinforms the airport security that Esme and Babe are carrying illegal substances and gets them temporarily arrested. This causes them to miss their connecting flight and the whole plot of the movie kicks off from here.
    • Babe himself is this at the beginning of the film. While trying to "help" Farmer Hoggett repair a pump, he inadvertently sets off a series of events that lead to Farmer Hoggett being seriously injured.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The city of Metropolis (No, not that one). At first glance, it appears to be an American city. But it has the Hollywood Sign, the Twin Towers, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. It also has the Christ the Redeemer statue, the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower. As in the first film, this was presumably done so viewers could assume it could, indeed, be a major city anywhere in the world.


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