Babe Pig in the City

USA/Australia 1998

Reviewed by Nick Roddick


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Having won the local sheep trials, Babe the pig returns to Hoggett Farm in triumph as his fame spreads around the world. Farmer Hoggett and his wife Esme turn down all invitations for Babe to make personal appearances, until an accident leaves Hoggett laid up in plaster. Esme is unable to cope and the bank threatens foreclosure. The Hoggetts then accept an invitation for Babe to open a state fair for a large appearance fee, and Esme and Babe set off for the city by air.

Babe strikes up a conversation with a drug-sniffing dog at the airport, resulting in Esme being detained and them missing their connecting flight. Stranded in the city, they end up in the Flealands Hotel - the only one which will take pigs. The Flealands is home to a wide selection of animals, many of whom work in Fugly Floom's circus. Excepting Babe's difficulty with a group of light-fingered monkeys, things go well enough until the little pig disrupts one of Fugly's shows, setting off a series of disasters which culminate in a raid on the Flealands by the city authorities, who impound all the animals.

Babe and several others escape and mount a successful rescue plan, after which Esme returns to the farm with rather more animals than she left with.


Although there can be no denying its extraordinary (and well deserved) success, the original Babe was never quite the out-of-nowhere film hailed by commentators at the time. Like Crocodile Dundee, it carefully calculated its appeal for the North American market; and, as with the Paul Hogan hit, international distribution was handled by a US major, ensuring that worldwide release would follow if it scored in the US. But, for all the calculations that went into its making, it did preserve a sweetness and a limited focus - with the exception of the prologue and the climactic sheep trials, it never left Hoggett Farm - which, in retrospect, account for much of its success. Babe Pig in the City, by contrast, goes for the big effect wherever possible and adds so many new talking animals that Babe himself (or herself, as one injudicious close-up reveals) begins to function rather like Spanky in The Little Rascals: as the leader of the gang but no longer the subject of the film.

It starts promisingly, with Babe's triumphant return from the sheepdog trials, even if the crowds do look a little thin. And the farcical series of events that leads to Farmer Hoggett's injury, perfectly timed and counterpointed by the deadpan narration, has all the élan of the earlier film, culminating in the sequel's best single moment, when the Singing Mice burst into a passionate rendition of 'Je ne regrette rien'. After that, however, it's all downhill.

True, production designer Roger Ford's 'global city' is a triumph: a surreal juxtaposition of a Gaudíesque neighbourhood vaguely modelled on Venice, California, a megalopolis that seems to be Sydney Harbour out of Fritz Lang, and the Manhattan skyline (with Rio's Sugar Loaf, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Hollywood sign thrown in for good measure). But, for all the pre-release talk of a "dark, Felliniesque vision" which was supposed to have scared Universal into cancelling preview screenings, what we get is not so much Fellini as John Landis, as each potentially comic set-up is laboriously worked through and gussied up with stunts.

Comedy, it seems, is not writer/director George Miller's forte. Some ideas, like the enormous cats' chorus lined up in one room of the Flealands, are simply wasted. Others, like the climax, in which Esme, Babe and assorted animal aides disrupt a charity dinner, seem not to know when to stop - particularly so with an extremely difficult stunt which has Esme bouncing across the room on some kind of elasticated harness. Frankly, the whole thing was done much better in Dunston Checks In, which had several of the same jokes, but the added bonus of seeing Faye Dunaway buried in a giant cream-cake.


George Miller
Doug Mitchell
Bill Miller
George Miller
Judy Morris
Mark Lamprell
Based on characters created by
Dick King-Smith
Director of Photography
Andrew Lesnie
Jay Friedkin
Margaret Sixel
Production Designer
Roger Ford
Music/Music Conductor/Orchestration
Nigel Westlake
©Universal City Studios Inc
Production Companies
Universal Pictures presents a Kennedy Miller film
Executive Producer
Barbara Gibbs
Associate Producers
Colin Gibson
P.J. Voeten
Catherine Barber
Guy Norris
Production Associate
Kennedy Miller:
Martin Wood
Production Co-ordinator
Lorelle Adamson
Unit Production Manager
Barbara Gibbs
Post-production Supervisor
Marcus D'Arcy
Additional Unit Director
Daphne Paris
Assistant Directors
P.J. Voeten
Philip Hearnshaw
Jacinta Hayne
Julian Ryan
Debbie Antoniou
Sophy Robertson
Karen Mahood
Additional Unit:
Topher Dow
Simon Warnock:
Naomi Enfield
Jean Leacey
Tanya Jackson-Vaughan
Paul Sullivan
Giovanni Pacialeo
Script Supervisor
Sophie Fabbri-Jackson
Linda Ray
Additional Unit:
Andrew Upton
Margot Johnson
Technical Continuity
Joanne Carmichael
Geoff Blee
Sue Lee
Additional Unit:
Sam Collins
Alison Barrett
Nicki Barrett
Barbara Harris
UK Voice:
Brian Mitchell
Additional Unit Director of Photography
Ian Jones
Camera Operators
Colin Deane
Andrew Lesnie
Visual Effects
Director of Photography:
Steve Newman
Technical Continuity:
Damon Escott
Andrew Commis
Sound Recordist:
Ross Boyer
Matt Villa
Avid Editor:
Jason Ballantine
Visual Effects/Animation
Rhythm & Hues
Visual Effects Supervisor:
Bill Westenhofer
Visual Effects Producer:
Crystal Dowd
Animation Supervisor:
Nancy Kato
Lighting Supervisor:
Eileen Jensen
Plate Producer:
Jil Sheree Bergin
CGI Producer:
Chad Merriam
CGI Supervisors:
Mary Lynn Machado
Todd Shifflett
Compositing Supervisor:
Betsy Paterson
Visual Effects Editor:
Michael Backauskas
Technical Supervisor:
Juan Luis Sanchez
Visual Effects Co-ordinator:
Rachel Fondiller
Animation Leads:
Keith Roberts
Erik de Boer
Brian Dowrick
Ian Hulbert
John Goodman
Roberto Smith
Glen Ramos
Kent Yoshida
Melanie Cordan
Lyndon Barrois
Scott O'Brien
David E. Smith
Animation Set-up:
Hans Rupkema
Joe Mancewicz
J.J. Blumenkrantz
Lighting Lead:
Betsy Asher Hall
Match Move Leads:
David Sudd
Stephen Dobbs
Composing Co-ordinator:
Jenny Groener
Inferno Artists:
Dawn Bowery
Mark Felt
Tim Miller
Colleen Smith
Tristan James Tang
Ricardo Torres
Anita Cukurs
Bill Gilman
Katie Hecker
Yukiko Ishiwata
Bonjin Byun
Craig Seitz
Texture Painter:
Joe Strasser
Software Development Programmers:
Steve Sullivan
Denise Chen
Perry Kass
Brian Green
Peter Huang
Greg Yepes
Eugene Vendrovsky
Marin Vasilyeva
Keith Goldfarb
Bob Powell
Scan/Record Supervisor:
Megan Bryant
Hardware Manager:
Will McCown
Scan/Record Operators:
Erik Akutagawa
Jeffrey Cilley
Homer Cruz
Executive Producer:
Peter Takeuchi
Director of Digital Production:
David Weinberg
Visual Effects/Animation
Mill Film
Visual Effects Supervisor:
Grahame Andrew
Stage ? Sydney
Visual Effects Producer:
Mike Chambers
Visual Effects Co-ordinator:
Anna Laurie
Motion Control Cameraman:
Malcolm Wooldridge
Digital Effects Producer:
Martin Hobbs
Executive Producer: Robin Shenfield
Visual Effects Co-ordinator:
Lorea Hoye
Digital Composite Supervisor:
Karl Mooney
CGI Supervisor 'Thelonius':
Alison Leaf
Digital Compositors:
Sophie Chometton
Sara Bennett
Steve Murgatroyd
Ian Plumb
Richard Roberts
Nick Seresin
Simon Stanley-Clamp
Additional Compositors:
Hani Alyousif
Tim Burke
Klaudija Chrmak
Mike Connolly
John Hardwick
Rob Harvey
Steve Hiam
M.J. Azzopardi
Pete Smith
Digital Preparation:
Maria Antoniv
Svetlana Baibekova
Dave Early
Andi Sholer
Additional Digital Preparation:
Joe Pavlo
Sandra Roach
CGI Artists:
Tanya Doskova
Mike Eames
Andy Kind
Dave Lomax
Ivor Middleton
Quentin Miles
Kevin Modeste
Craig Penn
Mike Perry
Chris Shaw
Tim Zaccheo
Additional CGI Artists:
Rob Allman
John-Paul Harney
Linda Johnson
Charlie Lovette
Carol Ostick
Ben Morris
Ben White
Digital Matte Painters:
Michele Moen
Michael Lloyd
Additional Matte Painting:
Simon Wicker
Visual Effects Editor:
Jody Rogers
Technical Supervisor:
Martin Parsons
I/O Manager:
Tim Caplan
Visual Effects/Animation
Animal Logic Film
Visual Effects Supervisor:
Chris Godfrey
Visual Effects Producer:
Fiona Chilton
Simon Whiteley
Senior Compositors:
Charlie Armstrong
Kirsty Millar
David Dulac
Justin Bromley
Paul Kirwan
Digital Compositors:
Krista Jordan
John Breslin
Naomi Hatchman
Aaron Barclay
Robin Cave
Janice Jones
Lee Bramwell
3D Modelling/Animation:
Peter Richards
Rachel Ward
Michael Twigg
Brett Feeney
Systems Administration:
Mary-Jane Smyth
Ron Korpi
Glen Sharah
Chris Bone
Special Effects
Tad Pride
Tom Davies
On Set Supervisors:
Alan Hall
Ted Ross
Design Engineers:
David Pride
David Young
Billy Aziz
Lyall Beckmann
Herman Bron
Gerard Collins
Marcus Erasmus
Ray Fowler
David James
Shane Murphy
Dan Oliver
Arthur Spink
Taj Trengove
Matthew Ward
Model Maker
Peter Owens
Graphics Artist
Beth Pickworth
Neal Scanlan Studio
Creative Supervisor:
Neal Scanlan
Laurie Faen
Animatronic Designers:
Vince Abbott
Tim Jordan
Greg McKee
John Osborne
Jason Reed
Andrew Roberts
James Sandys
Guy Stevens
Chris O'Dwyer
Aiden O'Keefe
John Van Der Pool
Thomas Van Koeverden
Technical Designers:
Anton Boniface
Ben Morris
James O'Connor
Electronic Technician:
Daniel Carlisle
Hardware/Software Development:
Paul Hatcher
Julian Hepworth
Softimage Programmer:
Adrian Hill
Character Sculptors:
Nigel Booth
Jeremy Hunt
Esteban Mendoza
Ray Scott
John Searle
Joanne Thompson
Belinda Villani
Mould Designer:
Barry Fowler
Brett Beacham
Penny Brown
Adam Johanssen
John Murch
Chris Norris
Keith Rae
Michael Ricci
Silicone Technician:
Simon Clutterbuck
Hair Design:
Victoria Stockwell
Hair Technicians:
Andrea Hochgatteren
Jeni Walker
Feather Design:
Valerie Jones
Feather Technician:
Sarah Brunsdon
Fabrication Design:
Brian North
Mark Bailey
Simone Hiley
Alan Murphy
Jo O'Connor
Finishing Artists:
Simon Alberry
Anne Bowman
Original Animatronic Sheep
Chris Chitty
Greg McKee
Matt Ward
John Cox
Additional Motion Control
Photon Stockman
Murray Pope
Rotovision Camera:
Bruce Mcnaughton
Additional Editor
Dany Cooper
Art Director
Colin Gibson
Set Designer
Tony Raes
Set Decorator
Kerrie Brown
Concept Artist
Peter Pound
Computer Draftsperson
Jules Cook
Scenic Artists
Eric Todd
Billy Malcolm
Ken Crawford
Ian Richter
Storyboard Artists
Mark Sexton
Peter Pound
Charles Kenway
Mark Rastrick
Head Sculptor
Tony Less
Sculptors/Model Makers
John Murch
Joanna Pullen
Costume Designer
Norma Moriceau
Costume Supervisors
Paula Ryan
Robyn Elliot
Stand-by Wardrobe
Heather Laurie
John Power
Jamella Hassan
Hair/Make-up Design
Lesley Vanderwalt
Hair/Make-up Artists
Bec Taylor
Lynn Wheeler
Kerry Lee Jury
Toni Ffrench
Mary Georgiou
Trish Glover
Ashley Johnson
Karen Johnson
Deb Lancer
Trish Newton
Wendy Sainsbury
Adele Wilcox
Cheryl Williams
Paul Williams
Simon Zanka
Jason Taylor-Gardiner
Animal Wig Maker
Kylie Clarke
Opening Titles
Animal Logic
End Titles
Optical & Graphic
Roger Cowland
Ken Phelan
Music Performed by
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Nigel Westlake
Brett Kelly
Orchestral Leaders
Rudolf Osadnik
Michael Kisin
Music Supervisor
Christine Woodruff
Jan Loquet Westlake
Additional Music Producers/Editors
Anthony Partos
Paul Healy
Christo Curtis
Music Editor
Christo Curtis
Recording Engineer/Mixer
Christo Curtis
ABC Recording Engineers
Jim Atkins
Richard Gervin
"That'll Do" by Randy Newman, performed by Peter Gabriel; "If I Had Words" from "Symphony No. 3" by Camille Saint-Saëns, arranged/lyrics by Johnathon Hodge; "Rushin", "The Future", "Condition Red" by Ben Suthers, Pee Wee Ferris, performed by Pee Wee Ferris; "Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, English title by Norman Gimbel; "Non je ne regrette rien" by Charles Dumont, Michel Vaucaire, performed by Edith Piaf; "The Anvil Chorus" from "Il Trovatore" by Giuseppe Verdi; "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Roy Turk, Lou Handman, performed by The Mavericks; "Largo al factotum della città" from "The Barber of Seville" by Gioacchino Rossini; "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Harry Warren, Mack Gordon, performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, featuring vocal by Tex Beneke & the Modernaires; excerpts from "Madama Butterfly" by Giacomo Puccini; "Boum!" by/performed by Charles Trenet; "Barnyard Boogie" by Louis Jordan, Wilhelmina Gray, performed by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five; "Symphony No. 3" by Camille Saint-Saëns; "That'll Do" by Randy Newman, performed by James Watson and The Black Dyke Mills Band; "That's Amore" by Jack Brooks, Harry Warren, performed by Dean Martin; "Protected by Angels" by Paddy Moloney, performed by The Chieftains; "Jingle Bells" by James S. Pierpont; "Three Blind Mice" arranged by Llew Kiek, Mara Kiek; "Cat's Warmup" by Llew Kiek
Sound Supervisors
Julius Chan
Gareth Vanderhope
Wayne Pashley
Sound Recording
Ben Osmo
Additional Unit Sound Recordist
Peter Grace
Mix Co-ordinator
Wayne Pashley
Sound Mixers
Roger Savage
Ian McLoughlin
Michael Thompson
Phil Heywood
Gethin Creagh
Peter Smith
Supervising Dialogue Editor
Julius Chan
Sound Editors
Brent Burge
Liam Egan
Angus Robertson
Lisa Bate
Phil Winter
Sonal Joshi
Jenny Ward
Craig Carter
Antony Gray
John Penders
Delia McCarthy
Sara Van Gyen
Libby Vanilla
Frank Lipsom
Sound Effects Design
Gareth Vanderhope
Tami Treadwell
Jeff Barnett
Robert Deschaine
Gerry Long
John Simpson
Steve Burgess
Tony Young
Stunt Co-ordinator
Guy Norris
Animal Action
Karl Lewis Miller
Primates Animal Trainer
Steve Martin
Animal Department Manager
Tic Carroll
Department Manager
James Hopwood
Training Supervisors
Joanne Kostuik
Genny Kearns
Stacey Brehm
Terry Knapp
Geoff Curtis
Katie Brock
Caroline Girdlestone
James Delaney
David Allsberry
Kim Bonham
Michael Boxer
Ursula Brauner
Hubert Wells
Fernando Celis
Reggie Reynolds
Amy Schulz
Scott Rowe
Sam Torrisi
Kirsten Feddersen
Linda Graham
Peta Clarke
Lindy Coote
Glen Jenkins
Annette Gray
Dillon Yeats
Hamish McDonald
Dimity Bjork
Mick Lester
Suzy Hodge
Flock Sheep Supervisor
Bruce Patterson
Helicopter Pilot
John Barneo
Magda Szubanski
Mrs Esme Hoggett
James Cromwell
Farmer Hoggett
Mickey Rooney
Fugly Floom
Mary Stein
Paul Livingston
hot headed chef
Babs McMillan
Matthew Parkinson
nervous waiter
Julie Godfrey
suspicious neighbour
Kim Story
Richard Carter
Simon Westaway
Margaret Christensen
haughty woman
Janet Foye
Pamela Hawken
Mrs Hoggett's friends
Basil Clarke
Cecilia Yates
flight attendant
Damian Monk
Terrell Dixon
customs guards
Gabby Millgate
female officer
Anthony Phelan
security guard
Van Epperson
night cleaner
Mark Gerber
Ken Radley
motorcycle cops
John Samaha
van cop
Paul Moxey
Gareth Clydesdale
tough guys
Ken Johnson
court stenographer
Jennifer Kent
lab lady
Richard Huggett
Ric Herbert
David Allsberry
Michael Boxer
Steve Martin
Hubert Wells
John Walton
Gandhi MacIntyre
Christian Manon
lab technicians
Sacha Horler
night nurse
John Upton
sick boy
Peter Callan
hospital doctor
Dean Nottle
doctor in tails
Paul Maybury
hospital orderly
Saskia Campbell
woman in billowing gown
Kristoffer Greaves
Dominic Condon
kitchen hand
Elizabeth Allen
Lady Zammitt
Voice Cast
E.G. Daily
Danny Mann
Glenne Headly
Steven Wright
James Cosmo
Nathan Kress
Myles Jeffrey
Stanley Ralph Ross
the pitbull/the Dobermann
Russi Taylor
the pink poodle
Adam Goldberg
Eddie Barth
Bill Capizzi
the sniffer dog
Miriam Margolyes
Hugo Weaving
Katie Leigh
Evelyn Krape
old ewe/alley cats
Charles Bartlett
Michael Edward-Stevens
Al Mancini
Larry Moss
feisty fishes
Jim Cummings
Danny Mann
Russi Taylor
choir cat
Nathan Kress
tough pup
Lisa Baily
Blayn Barbosa
Victor Brandt
Jeannie Elias
Pippa Grandison
J.D. Hall
Mark Hammond
Wendy Kamenoff
Scotty Leavenworth
Danny Mann
Julie Oppenheimer
Deborah Packer
Roger Rose
Carly Schroeder
Joseph Sicari
Aaron Spann
Drew Lexi Thomas
Naomi Watts
Barbara Harris
The Looping Group
additional characters
Leslie Andrews
Christine Douglas
Jenny Duck-Chong
Daryn Elston-Smith
Michael Halliwell
Gordon Holleman
Tyrone Landau
Catherine Lukin
Susan Reppion-Brooke
Kate Swadling
Vicki Watson
Brett Weymark
Mara Kiek
Jane Birmingham
Stuart Davis

Joanne Maunsell
singing animals
Patrick Comerford
Richard Coombs
Barnaby Harrison
Phill Woodfine
animatronic performers
Roscoe Lee Browne
United International Pictures (UK) Ltd
8,605 feet
95 minutes 37 seconds
Dolby digital/SDDS/Digital DTS sound
In Colour
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011