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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> October 1999 >> Babe


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
October 1999
IMDB Name:
Babe (1995)
Chris Noonan
MPAA Rating:

Pig Magic

When I first saw Babe, it wasn't too long after it had become available on video. There was a joyous mood in the room as a seemingly-impossible movie played out. Perhaps it was the marvelous voice casting of Christine Cavanaugh, or the escapades of Ferdinand the Duck, brought to life by Danny Mann. Perhaps it was just the wonder of seeing such realistic animals do improbable things. The best part, though, is that it doesn't take long to forget that the animals aren't really talking. The characters are so richly realized in contrast to the cartoonish humans that they become compelling actors by themselves.

Musical Magic

Nigel Westlake composed the new music used in Babe. He uses a style that for me carries a deep association with my days playing in a brass band. Movie scores can suggest place sometimes more powerfully than the visual elements of the movie. In Babe, none of the characters has a noticeable accent, and with the rustic setting, the vehicle design is the only thing in the scenery that suggests a place other than America. It must be Westlake's score, then, that whisks the story away to some unknown English-speaking country. Bravo!

Sequel Magic

Babe: Pig in the City is truly a worthy sequel to this movie. Perhaps it's a little too worthy. I couldn't achieve the same excitement over this movie now that I've seen it's successor. I realize this is an instance of the dreaded Historic Fallacy, but as magical as some of the elements here are, they feel too grounded in reality. The only suspension of disbelief here is talking animals. The second movie calls for great leaps into the improbable with its mind-boggling sets and humans. If you enjoy Babe in the least, see Pig in the City, but don't expect to really enjoy Babe again.

DVD Comments

Babe has been released twice on DVD, once with DTS sound and once without. To my great chagrin, neither version has the movie in widescreen format. I rented the disc with DTS, but my player, a DTS- capable Panasonic DVD-A110, choked on the audio demo, so I switched over to the Dolby Digital 2.0 version. Actually, other then the scene selector, there is nothing else to do in the menus! Overall, this is a rather disappointing disc.

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Copyright 1999-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.