Babe (1995)

(On TV, January 2000) A charming fairy tale about a farm, its animals and the human farmers. Though quite fun and always interesting to look at, it does lacks some “oomph”. The computer-animated animals are cute, but there are signs that the film doesn’t fully exploit its potential. Still, good fun.

(Second-through-fiftieth viewings, Toddler-watching, On DVD, June 2014) Sometimes, it takes a different perspective to appreciate a film at its true value, and so it is that toddler-watching Babe (that is; over and over again) with a curious two-and-a-half year old only underscores what a magnificent achievement this film is. We usually skip over the dark opening and the sheep death scene, but most of Babe is fit to be watched by very young kids, even if as nothing more than a pleasant montage of scenes with adorable animals. (Tell no one, but the scene in which Babe convinces a sheep to take her medicine proved to be of pedagogical value.) It’s upon the fifth or fifteenth viewing that you begin to realize how perfectly executed Babe is: As a representation of a bucolic family farm, it’s got charm beyond measure. James Cromwell is nothing short of an icon as a laconic farmer, and the near-silent climax is a thing of beauty. Babe him/herself is a hero worth cheering for, and the sheep are almost impossible cute (and I say that as someone who has worked with sheep.) George Miller’s hand in this film is mostly that of a producer/screenwriter (Chris Noonan directed the film), but you can recognize the success of his approach in the rewatchability of the film. Babe is sweet but just as much fun for adults than it is for young kids. Let go of any cynicism and enjoy.

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