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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 5/3/99

Babe: Pig in the City
1998 (1999) - Universal Home Video

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Babe: Pig in the City Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A, A-, C+

Specs and Features

95 mins, G, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (no layer switch), Amaray keep case packaging, production notes, cast and crew bios, web links, theatrical trailers, animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

In this sequel to Babe, days after winning the sheep-herding contest, Babe tries to pitch in at the farm, and ends up banging up Farmer Hoggett pretty bad. So bad, he's in a body cast and powerless to work on the farm. Mrs. Hoggett does what she can, but she's no farmer, and soon, the farm is in jeopardy of being foreclosed upon by the bank. Can Mrs. Hoggett get Babe to the Big City in time for an appearance where they'll make the mortgage money? Or will they end up in a hotel for wayward animals, have a huge adventure and try to figure out another way of making the money? If you guessed the latter, then go to the head of the class.

Babe: Pig in the Cityis a very cute film. I don't think I'll ever want to watch it again, but I laughed a few times at the misadventures of the pig. Know this going in: it's not the original Babe -- this film doesn't even come close to that classic. What Babe 2 has is more action, funnier situations and more animal characters, with pretty cute voices that will make you smile. I particularly liked the terrier puppy, who explained that he was on the streets because his human put him in a bag and "throwed" him in the river. The way that line is delivered, and the voice behind it is pretty funny. Kids will dig this, maybe not as much as the first one, but I think they won't mind watching it.

Universal's DVD work is usually good, and Babe 2 is on even par with the rest of their line. The picture quality is nice, and with all the digital effects, it's pretty seamless. The Big City (a meshing of pieces of every major city in the world) looks pretty fake, but that's no fault of the DVD. The disc does give nice color and depth to the city, and the finale (with all the purple balloons) looks particularly good on disc, making me feel sorry for those with nothing but videotape. The sound is nice as well, which is an important thing, given all the dubbed-in animal voices. The tracks are natural and full, and well displayed by the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. It plays out very nicely, with a good overall soundfield -- especially in the hotel, where there is much chaos during action and dialogue scenes.

The extras are pretty standard. Cast and crew bios, production notes and trailers. The disc is 16x9 (sweet) and looks good for it. It's an RSDL dual-layer disc with no switch (the full frame and letterbox versions occupy the different layers), which is a nice touch, and something MGM should think about with their G rated line (instead of giving us pan and scan only editions of beautiful films). There's also a screensaver and web link for those of you with DVD-ROM drives.

I can't say I agree with the late Gene Siskel, whose proclamation was that this film was the "Best Movie Of The Year", but I do agree with him that the duck rules this film. So I ask Universal: when's there going to be Ferdy: The Unlucky Ducky? I'd stand in line for that.

Todd Doogan
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