As a young child, I had barely finished Charlotte's Web by the time the movie Babe had become a sensation in theaters. At first I thought maybe adults just really loved pigs, but I remember really liking the movie — as a kid. Now the film is turning 20 years old and I've decided to rewatch Babe as an adult to see what all pig-lovin' fuss was about in 1995, a time before cuddly animal websites, GIFs, and YouTube videos weren't all the rage on the Internet quite yet — but a pig stole everyone's heart in movie theaters.
Not only was Babe a huge hit in the '90s, but it garnered seven Academy Award major nods, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Pretty impressive for a movie that centers around a little pig named Babe who aspires to be a sheep dog and the farmer (played by James Cromwell) who believes in the little guy. Cromwell became so inspired by his character Arthur Hoggett's bond with Babe that he became a vegetarian, a practice he previously had observed in the '70s. "I decided that to be able to talk about this [movie] with conviction, I needed to become a vegetarian again," he told the Vegetarian Times in 1998.
With an internet filled with cute animal videos at my disposal, how hard will I fall for Babe as an adult? Let's see.
1. We Become Smitten With Babe As Soon As Arthur Does
Gah. That moment. It happens so fast. Arthur goes to a "Guess The Weight" Booth at a fair and a poor little pig is in a box. Arthur says he's not into pigs, but just one look from this little guy causes him to change his mind and submit a guess for his weight. And then Babe pees on Arthur's shoes, really sealing the deal (in the animal world, that signals ownership, doesn't it?). Too cute.
2. Talking Animals = Kind of Freaky
Hoggett wins the pig and adds Babe to his farm of talking animals. I had forgotten that movies with talking live action animals (Homeward Bound, Look Who's Talking Now, Doctor Dolittle, Stuart Little, Paulie, Gordy) was totally a thing in the 90s. Sure, we've had some in the 2000s, but now there's so much CGI and high tech involved. Back in the 90s, there was something low tech and special about it.
Plus, I'd like to point out that Christine Cavanaugh's voice as Babe is just so adorable. We know we're not in for the usual talking animal movie once little Babe cries, "I want my mom."
3. Babe Borrows Influence From Cartoons — & Continue To Influence Animation
One thing that's definitely apparent in this movie is that it's totally influenced by the animation we all grew up with, as well as the personalities we notice animals to have. While Babe does deal with the very serious issue of humans eating animals and sheep attacks, there are some cute adventures the pig and co. go on in the movie, which remind me of the Foghorn Leghorn segments of Looney Tunes and U.S. Acres from Garfield and Friends,
I also didn't realize that the current Disney Channel animated series Gravity Falls has an episode that is definitely inspired by Babe. In the episode "The Time Traveler's Pig," Mabel wins her beloved pig Waddles the same way Hoggett wins Babe (above).
4. Hoggett's Wife Reacts How We All Would To A Fax Machine
I don't agree with Esme Hoggett on many things. For instance, I wish she would stop listing off pork products and salivating every time she sees adorable Babe. She receives a fax machine for Christmas from her son and he describes its use as "you can send us letters by phone." Esme has such a bemused and unimpressed look — it's a look I also have whenever I see and have to use a fax machine in 2015. The kids keep trying to push the fax machine onto their parents. Luckily, in a few years, her son will be able to show her how to send letters via computer (ahem, e-mail).
5. Can We Have A Spin-Off With The Singing Mice?
Dispicable Me gave us Minions, and Babe did give us Babe II: Pig in the City, but what about those cute singing mice who sing and read the chapter cards? We could always use more cuteness in movies.
6. If We Can See The Sheep Laughing A Babe, Can Farmer Hoggett See It, Too?
When Babe makes his first at herding sheep, they laugh and laugh at him. I wondered, though — could Farmer Hoggett see that as well? If he can, this either must look so weird or like regular "baah"-ing. Or perhaps they only do it when he looks away.
Images: Universal Pictures (2); Giphy (2)