Babe: Pig in the City (1998)

Given the traditionally sorry state of sequels, the fact that 
BABE: PIG IN THE CITY doesn't suck is almost something to shout 
about.  Darker, more episodic, and far more shoddily paced than 
the original, PORKY II finds the farm behind on its mortgage pay-
ments, the farmer in traction instead of a tractor, and the farm-
er's wife transporting the now-famous pig not to market, jiggidy- 
jig, but to the county fair.  (There, she'll show him off and get 
paid for her efforts.)  Trouble at the airport-- including an im-
plied strip search for Mrs. Hoggett!-- lands them stranded in the 
big city, where they're promptly separated.  And, of course, where 
adventures ensue... 

George Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original, has replac-
ed Chris Noonan behind the camera and the results are surprisingly 
(but not shockingly) darker in tone.  (Or maybe not, given that 
Miller once directed the MAD MAX trilogy...)  There's a none-too-
subtle message about animal abandonment, as well, plus some scenes 
involving injury, imprisonment, and even one near-death experience 
for Fido.  The storybook cinematography is a treat, though, and 
the eye-filling cityscape recalls both Jean Reunet's CITY OF THE 
LOST CHILDREN and Tim Burton's BATMAN.  Great animal handling and 
animatronics, too!  (The menagerie has expanded to include several 
stray dogs and cats, a family of monkeys, and an orangutan named 

Miller was reportedly still editing the film just last week and 
maybe that's why HAM IN THE CITY has such a rough and unfinished 
feel.  The pacing, in particular, gets more erratic as it goes, 
with later scenes running distressing long.  (The animal-control 
sequence seems to go on forever...)  There's an amusing finale, 
though, with Magda Szubanski AKA Mrs. Hoggett in a harness, per-
forming aerial acrobatics in a crowded ballroom.  (Don't ask.)  
And then the movie ends.  Just like that.  Eh, you might watch 
your watch in spots, but the kids'll love it.  And when was the 
last time you heard field mice croon like the King?  With James 
Cromwell (for a couple scenes), the voices of Elizabeth Daily, 
Eddie Barth, Bill Capisci, and Glenn Headly, and, as a clown 
character whose more creepy than cute, Mickey Rooney.  (Rated 
"G"/~100 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Half Hog

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros