Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian-American comedy-drama film and the sequel to the 1995 film Babe. It is co-written, produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original film. Most of the actors from the first film reappeared as their respective roles, including James Cromwell, Miriam Margolyes, Hugo Weaving, Danny Mann, and Magda Szubanski. However, most of them have only brief appearances, as the story focuses on the journey of Babe and the farmer's wife Esme in the fictional city of Metropolis.
Pig in the City was a flop at the box office and received mixed reviews from critics, although Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert highly praised the film, with Ebert calling it better than the first one and Siskel later naming it the best movie of 1998.
Set after the events of the first film, Babe (now voiced by Elizabeth Daily) and his master, farmer Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell), are given a welcome home parade after Babe's success as a "sheepdog". One day, Babe inadvertently causes an accident to befall Arthur, who ends up in the hospital. Esme is unsuccessful tending the farm on her own. A few days later, two men from the bank tell her she and Arthur have not paid their rent on time, and at the end of the month, Esme and Arthur will soon be evicted from their farm. Among the many letters from their fans, Esme locates one saying that if she enters Babe in a sheepdog herding contest, held at a fair far away, she will win a large amount of money. She decides to enter Babe instead, and they leave the farm together.
At the airport in the city of Metropolis, a sniffer dog falsely detects that Babe and Esme are accused of carrying illegal substances. Airport security officers interrogate them, causing them to miss their connecting flight. An airport cleaner tells them about a hotel that is suitable for accommodating animals, so Esme and Babe go there. While Esme runs an errand, Babe chases a white capuchin monkey named Tug after he steals Esme's suitcase. Fleeing into a hotel room, Babe follows it and meets three clothed chimpanzees: Bob, his pregnant wife Zootie and his little brother Easy, as well as Thelonius, an orangutan butler for the landlady's elderly uncle Fugly Floom (Mickey Rooney), a clown who kidnaps Babe to use in his act. Babe initially refuses but accepts when the chimps mention a reward he'll receive after doing the act. When Esme returns, Fugly tricks her into thinking that Babe ran off into the city. Esme goes to look for Babe, but is arrested after a gang of street thugs try to snatch her purse. Meanwhile, Fugly performs his clown act in a hospital, but Babe accidentally trips him and he throws a flaming torch into the stage curtains which catch fire, activating the sprinklers and forcing everyone out.
The next morning, Fugly goes to the hospital in a food coma escorted by the landlady. Babe is in his room, hungry and waiting for Esme to return. That night, the chimpanzees try to steal food from a store and use Babe to distract two dogs, who chase Babe around the city. Babe falls into a river and swims away, but returns and saves one of the dogs from drowning. The dog becomes friends with Babe, and Babe invites him and the other homeless animals into the hotel. They share the food around and then sing, alerting the duck Ferdinand (who had come after Babe from the farm). Zootie gives birth to twins. Animal control officers capture all the animals and take them away except for Babe, Tug, Ferdinand and a Jack Russell named Flealick. Esme is released from jail by the judge after explaining her situation. That night, Babe, Tug, Flealick, and Ferdinand sneak into animal control and open their friends' cages. Esme returns to the hotel and reunites with the landlady, who is mourning her uncle's death, and tells Esme that her neighbor Hortense was the one who got the animals taken away. Esme and the landlady confront Hortense to find out where the animals have been sent, then set off to find them.
Esme and the landlady track the animals to a charity dinner in the hospital's ballroom, where they battle the chefs and waiters with fire extinguishers. In the epilogue, the landlady sells the hotel and gives the money to Esme so she can save the farm. The landlady and the animals come to stay at the farm, where Arthur has recovered from his injury.
- Magda Szubanski as Esme C. Hoggett
- Mary Stein as Miss Floom
- James Cromwell as Arthur Hoggett
- Mickey Rooney as Fugly Floom
- Paul Livingston as the Angry Hot Headed Chef
- Julie Godfrey as Hortense
- Elizabeth Daily as Babe
- Danny Mann as Ferdinand and Tug
- Roscoe Lee Browne as the Narrator
- Glenne Headly as Zootie
- Steven Wright as Bob
- James Cosmo as Thelonius
- Stanley Ralph Ross as The Bull Terrier/The Doberman who was "BABE" with other people
- Russi Taylor as The Pink Poodle, and a Choir Cat
- Myles Jeffrey as Easy
- Adam Goldberg as Flealick the Jack Russell Terrier
- Eddie Barth as Nigel and Alan
- Bill Capizzi as Snoop
- Miriam Margolyes as Fly
- Hugo Weaving as Rex
- Jim Cummings as a Pelican
- Katie Leigh as a Kitten
- Charles Bartlett as a Cow
- Michael Edward-Stevens as a Horse
- Nathan Kress as Easy, and a Tough Pup
- Al Mancini as a Fish
- Larry Moss as a Fish
Christine Cavanaugh, who played Babe in the first movie, was approached to reprise her role, but declined because of personal matters and was replaced by her Rugrats co-star Elizabeth Daily.
Prior to the film's theatrical release, it was originally rated PG by the MPAA. The TV spots for the film's theatrical release mentioned this rating, as did a promotional poster. By the time the film was released in theaters it had been re-rated as G (like the first film), based on a final edit that removed most of the dog violence (but retaining a shot that shows the bull terrier pushing down Babe into the river). This was Universal's last theatrically-released feature-length film to be rated G by the MPAA until 2006's Curious George. As of 2007, Babe: Pig in the City and Mr. Bean's Holiday are Universal's last two theatrically released live-action films to be rated G by the MPAA. However, when the film aired on Superstation WGN on November 18, 2007, and AMC on December 9, 2007, the shot that shows Ferdinand almost getting shot by humans was removed.
Babe: Pig in the City takes place in an imaginative, fantasy-like metropolis. It notably resembles Oz but is in modern-day form. The city has numerous styles of architecture from around the world. It also has a variety of waterways, noticeable by the hotel at which Babe stays. The downtown area appears to be situated on an island not dissimilar to Manhattan Island. The Downtown Skyline features numerous skyscrapers such as the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building,the IDS Center, the MetLife Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fernsehturm Berlin, Big Ben, Red Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Christ the Redeemer (statue), and many other landmarks.
The DVD covers feature a similar but different skyline, keeping the World Trade Center, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, and Red Square. Several skyscrapers added include 40 Wall Street (Two of them), the Empire State Building, 500 5th Avenue, the Flatiron Building, the World Financial Center, and several Los Angeles skyscrapers including the U.S. Bank Tower. The river near the hotel is similar to the canals of Venice, Italy, or Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. The movie has a 61% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the negative reviews came from people who enjoyed the first Babe, as well as those who were expecting a more family-oriented film, like the first installment. However, the movie has developed a cult following, and film critic Gene Siskel named it as his choice for the best movie of 1998 and claimed it was better than the first film. Roger Ebert also praised the movie, giving it a perfect four stars and saying it was "more magical than the original Babe." The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1998. Tom Waits is apparently a fan of the film, as he expressed in a 2010 feature in Mojo Magazine. Radio personality/podcaster Jesse Thorn has also praised the film. This more recent praise comes despite the film returning a $21 million gross loss, compared to the first movie's $224 million gross profit.
The musical score for Babe: Pig in the City was composed by Nigel Westlake, who wrote the music for the first film. A soundtrack album was released on November 24, 1998 by Geffen Records featuring Westlake's score as well as sound clips taken from film. The soundtrack also includes source music such as "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller and "That's Amore" by Dean Martin. Additional tracks include the Academy Award-nominated theme song "That'll Do" and a song sung by Elizabeth Daily.
- Main Title / Babe the Brave Little Pig 3:29
- Save the Farm - 1:15
- Airport - 3:59
- Stranded - 3;20
- Apartment Place for Babe - 4;10
- A Pig Gets Wise - 6:38
- Sanctuary's End - 1:45
- Animal Control - 2:39
- Chaos Revisited - 3:16
- Where's the Animals? - performed by The Mavericks - 2:59
- Wrap-Up - 6:49
- Babe's Bathtub Party / End Credits - 7:49
- May 4, 1999 (VHS, DVD, and laserdisc) (Note: This DVD was in both widescreen and pan and scan formats.)
- May 22, 2001 (DVD - 2-Pack with Babe)
- September 23, 2003 (DVD - The Complete Adventure Two-Movie Pig Pack, this DVD box set was released in separate widescreen and pan and scan formats, due to the DVD re-release of the first film)
- November 12, 2004 (DVD - Family Double Feature, this contains Babe) (Note: This DVD shows pan and scan versions of both films and the widescreen version of this film.)
- Babe: Pig in the City at AllMovie
- Babe: Pig in the City at the Internet Movie Database
- Babe: Pig in the City at Box Office Mojo