What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Babe is a live-action farm tale widely considered one of the best family films of all time. However, unlike animated films, in which violence can be dismissed as make-believe, some of the violence on the farm may frighten younger viewers. One scene, in which wild dogs attack the sheep and kill one, is particularly intense and disturbing. The reality of why animals are bred is mentioned again and again (Christmas is equated to a blood bath, because of all the animals slaughtered to end up on a dinner table). But at its core, this is a tale of perseverance, friendship, and making your dreams come true.
What's the story?
"This is a tale," a narrator says, "of an unprejudiced heart," perfectly setting the tone for what may be the best-loved family movie of the 1990s. BABE, an endearing little pig who is raised by sheepdogs, befriends the animals on Hoggett's farm and ultimately becomes a herder himself, triumphing against some pretty steep odds.
Is it any good?
Babe is filled from beginning to end with marvelous images: the animals who can talk (to each other, not to humans) in subtle mouth movements and well-cast voices; the never-never land of Hoggett's farm, a realistic setting with just a touch of magic; and endless surprising details, like the trio of singing mice who introduce scenes but are otherwise relinquished to small corners of the screen, the more to delight sharp-eyed viewers on the lookout for them.
But Babe is not merely a treat for the eyes. The story of this spunky little pig, who seems to have no future but to eat and be eaten, will inspire every viewer. It's a tale about making a place for yourself in the world. While Babe occasionally seems unnecessarily harsh in letting the real world seep into its fairy tale story, children seem to take it in stride; even young kids tend to be only briefly saddened by moments like a dog's puppies being given away. The biggest worry a parent can have about showing Babe to kids is that they'll insist on asking for a pet pig (or perhaps decide to become a vegetarian).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what life on a farm might really be like. Which animals live on farms? Do you think they interact with each other the way the animals do here? What other movies have talking farm animals?
How would this movie be different if it were animated? Why do you think animation changes the way we experience a movie?
Have you read the book upon which this movie is based? How does it compare to the movie?