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Arbogast1960's Movie Reviews (50)

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Babe (1995) 
"For in them lie the seeds of destiny."
3.5/4 stars

Most family films fall into one (or more) of several traps: they condescend to their audiences, confusing the word "child" with such words as "idiot," "simpleton," and "ignoramus"; they try to affect whimsy by throwing together as many bright colors and shiny, over-caffeinated objects as possible; they cleanse their films of all darkness or menace, mistakenly believing that children are incapable of comprehending the fact that life is not all ice cream and furry puppy dogs; and--worst of all--they treat their material with a winking contempt rather than as serious subject matter. The secret to Babe's success is that is avoids all of these temptations. It is charming, it is whimsical, it is cute. Children will undoubtedly enjoy it. But it is more than a sugary diversion. It teaches real lessons (about acceptance and perseverance, for example). More importantly, it does not look down its nose at its audience. Taking the story of a talking pig, the picture of innocence, who believes it can succeed as a sheepdog, co-writer/director Chris Noonan fashions a serious film about fulfilling one's destiny. That is not to say the film is heavy--it is funny and bright and fantastic. But it also believes in the story it is telling. And so does its audience. As James Cromwell's Farmer Hoggett says, "That'll do, pig. That'll do."


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