Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Laura, or: Unintentional Smoking Month

Can we agree that last week was awful and never to speak of it again?  This week has to be better.  Has to if only by virtue of this week’s film:  Laura.

Incidentally, this month’s edition of Blog Free or Die Hard has morphed into a month of women who look insanely good smoking (to be clear, it’s gross IRL and will make you smell like a sad 1970s couch in a motel room).

As always, Christa’s thoughts about this film are greater in number than all of the cigarettes smoked in all of the films we’ve watched this month.  (That’s a lot.)

The Film:


Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A 1940s detective tries to solve the murder case of a young woman, seemingly by staring at her portrait and smoking a lot.

The Uncondensed Version:

As soon as the credits started rolling, I realized what an unfair pick this was.  First, it’s almost impossible to review this one without ruining absolutely everything.  Secondly, this is one of my absolute favorite films, and it’s beautiful and perfect.  I have watched this film, uh, a lot.  It’s like wrapping a blanket around myself.  So obv the following review is not the most objective post I’ve ever penned (typed).

If it hasn’t become abundantly clear from this blog, I love classics, film noir, and pretty 1940s dudes.  All bases covered with this one.

Our narrator, Waldo Lydecker, is an extremely ambiguous newspaper columnist.  He is charming, sarcastic, witty, and incredibly sketchy.  But this is noir, so literally everyone in this film is sketchy as fuck.

A man wearing a trench coat and fedora faces away from a man wearing a suit.
Everyone except you, Dana Andrews, 1940s man of my dreams.

Lydecker is about to reveal us the events of the weekend the titular Laura died.  To begin with, the obnoxiously good-looking detective, Mark McPherson, arrives to question Lydecker.  Mark is the archetypal 1940s detective:  silent, constantly smoking, and dropping sarcastic one-liners like it’s his job.  With the bonus interests of solving those ball bearing balance puzzles and taking fragile objects out of display cabinets.

When Mark arrives, Lydecker is just sort of chilling and taking a bubble bath.  He makes absolutely no move to get out of the bath and put on a robe during their conversation—he just keeps hanging out in the bath.  Neither man is particularly fazed.  Maybe 1940s dudes were just used to having conversations over the tub.

A man in a fedora smokes a cigarette, facing a man in a bathtub who is using a typewriter.
I probably would never leave that tub either, though.

As both a columnist and former friend/mentor to Laura, Lydecker has a keen interest in the investigation.  Because it’s the ‘40s and basically anything goes, Lydecker tags along with Mark even though HE IS A SUSPECT.  I know very little about police work, but even I know that is really unethical.

Our next suspect is Laura’s aunt, aka her fiancé’s benefactor.  It seems Aunt Ann has been making large cash withdrawals around the same time the fiancé, Shelby, has been making large cash deposits.  Suspicious.  On a side note, Shelby is played by a suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper young Vincent Price, and it’s somewhat jarring to realize that VP was both really young and incredibly attractive at one point.  I mean, he was always attractive, but in a rather pretty way.

At a party, a woman smiles at a man who is making a funny facial expression.
Also the king of goofy facial expressions.

So anyway…Shelby is yet another suspect, especially when it comes to light that Laura was planning to go to the country to think their relationship over.  Apparently it’s cool for both Lydecker and Shelby to join Mark as he investigates Laura’s apartment, though.  Because if detective work has a motto, it’s “The more, the merrier.”

So it’s clear that everyone is a suspect, right?  Hold on because we’re about to get some backstory.  According to Lydecker, he celebrated Laura’s 22nd birthday with her, but had met her 5 years earlier?!?!  Which means she was SEVENTEEN.  PLEASE let that be incorrect.  That’s way too young to have an allegedly platonic relationship with a MUCH older newspaper columnist.  Let’s just ignore that math, ok?

As it turns out, Laura, novice in business and social finesse, approached Lydecker in an effort to gain his endorsement for her company’s pen advertisement.  Lydecker initially behaved like an insensitive ass, but changed his mind because of Laura’s natural charm, sincerity, and, I mean, probably at least a bit because she was super young.

Lydecker does this whole My Fair Lady thing in which he introduces her to all of the important society people, tells her how to wear her hair, and what clothes to choose.  It veers into creepy territory pretty quickly, but Laura is not at all interested in a romantic relationship with Lydecker.

Since he’s a reasonably creepy dude, Lydecker takes the totally reasonable approach along the lines of “If I can’t have her, no one will,” and proceeds to sabotage all of her relationships.

A woman wearing a striped suit stands behind a seated man.
That striped power suit:  number one reason the ’40s should make a comeback.

Back to the present:  Mark has sort of moved into Laura’s apartment given the amount of time he’s spent there trying to crack the case.  As Lydecker points out, A LOT of this time has been eaten up staring at the portrait of Laura painted by one of her former lovers.  Lydecker tells Mark to get a life or he’ll end up in a psych ward as the first man in love with a corpse.  Pretty sure he wouldn’t be the first, but ok…we get it, Lydecker.

This is all leading up to an EXTREMELY DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING.  I would really hate to ruin the fun of this film, so just watch it, ok?

Also you’ll get to see propaganda for war bonds at the very end, which I consider pretty exciting.

The Rating:

5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I think the only film noir I like better is Out of the Past.

I find the commentary on how incredibly twisted people’s ideas about what love is to be absolutely perfect.  Almost all of the characters have foggy motives, and the mystery will keep you guessing.  Unless you’re really fucking good at Clue.  The real power of this film, however, is the story of Laura’s search for independence and assertiveness.  Not that I’d know anything about that.

See if Christa agrees in her review here!  She might even get out of the tub before you visit, but no promises.

Film Reviews

Sabrina Goes to Rome, or: Harvey and I Will Bury You in the Catacombs, Paul

The Film:

Sabrina Goes to Rome

Where to Watch:

Someone must have posted this on the internet; if not, it’s included on the last season of Sabrina

The Premise:

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, travels to Rome in order to uncover the secret of a locket that has been in the family for centuries.

The Uncondensed Version:

Just as a word of caution, the music in this film is about as good (bad) as you’d expect from a movie based on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Right out of the gate there’s this really bad ‘90s dance track about everyone traveling their own road.

So basically the big setup for this movie is that Sabrina is in Rome to open a locket her dad sent her in a letter; she has to figure out a way to open it within the next 2 weeks or…I don’t know, I guess it will just be closed forever. At this point I was trying to get beyond the fact that Sabrina’s parents aren’t dead. Or at least her father isn’t. I kind of assumed that she lived with her aunts at least partially because her parents are dead.

When Sabrina arrives in Rome, she discovers she has a roommate in what is essentially a B&B for witches. Her roommate is Gwen, who I thought was her cousin, but I guess not. Gwen is an English girl with a really bad cockney accent and a jellybean obsession. Because the writers of Sabrina NEVER give in to stereotypes.

With Gwen’s help, Sabrina discovers the owner of the necklace was her aunt Sophia, who was banished after she fell in love with a mortal artist. He revealed she was a witch, and that gave her 12 hours to turn him into a pile of stone or be banished (yeah, those are the fucking rules in witchcraft. You do not talk about witchcraft).

So Sabrina and Gwen kind of alternate between fun touristy trips and locket-uncovering missions. Sabrina makes a wish in the Trevi Fountain and sees Sophia reflected in the water in a moment completely out of The Lion King. She’s just about to fall into the fountain when a really smooth American dude helps her (moral of the story is always don’t date the foreign guy).

the reflection of a woman dressed in Renaissance costume appears in a fountain
If you’ve ever played the Lion King board game, you know the agony of failing to make Mufasa’s face appear in the reflection pool.

Suavity in action:

Sabrina: You forgot to make a wish.

Smooth American Paul: What if it already came true?

Then he basically loses all points in his favor when he starts taking pictures of her after saying goodbye. It turns out he’s a photographer for a shady Italian tabloid. Paul and his friend Travis follow Sabrina to a museum the next day, where Gwen accidentally brings the statue of David to life. Sabrina, master of trickery and deceit, yells “Hey, look—the pope!” to distract Paul and Travis (which works). However, Paul and Travis are both onto her. Travis, true American that he is recognizes immediately what to do with an unbelievable, incredible story: sell it! The two bros have to get video of Sabrina practicing witchcraft to sell to the shady tabloid editor. With the money, Paul can finally be a REAL journalist.

a young woman wearing camouflage print pants interacts with a Roman statue come to life in a museum
’90s movie would be incomplete without camo pants.

Paul waits by the B&B wearing shades and holding a single rose. Sabrina hesitates but agrees to get breakfast with him, aka zip around Rome on a scooter. (I totally never realized how much of a Roman Holiday rip-off [tribute?] this is.) When they finally make it to breakfast, Sabrina bonds with Paul over the “real issues” she’s covered in her high school paper.

To search for clues, Sabrina and Gwen dig around the archives (archives in popular culture!). They discover the house where Sophia lived, but don’t realize Paul and Travis are on their trail.

So it turns out Sabrina has to find the portrait the artist, Roberto, painted of Sophia. There’s also an extended shopping montage for no apparent reason besides that this movie is apparently targeted to preteen girls. Paul and Travis continue to follow them around. Travis turns out to be a frenemy; when Paul is taking artistic pictures of Humans of Rome, Travis says it’s a waste of time.

Meanwhile, Gwen accidentally turns Alberto, the son of the lady running the B&B, into a pigeon. The spell can only be broken by kissing Alberto…so Gwen has to go around kissing EVERY pigeon in Rome.

I need you to appreciate that there is a montage to “Crush” in which Sabrina does archival work, runs around exploring with Gwen, and goes on dates with Paul.

Sabrina tells Paul she’s researching a minor Renaissance painter (you’ve probably never heard of him), and he finds a museum that houses a still life he painted.

Shortly after, we FINALLY get the time travel scenes we’ve been waiting for. Sabrina goes back in time to warn Sophia, who, conveniently, looks EXACTLY like her. Roberto’s “best friend” Mercutio suspects Sophia’s a witch and threatens to publicly announce it in the square tomorrow. Roberto then says she’s cool even though she is a witch, thus betraying her. It turns out Lorenzo, the dude Sophia’s family keeps pushing at her, paid Mercutio to trick Roberto. Somebody needs to tell these dudes to ditch the frenemies. Sophia forgives Roberto and refuses to turn him into a pile of stones, which means she will be banished. She then disappears, and Sabrina has to swordfight EVERYONE. Luckily, she makes it back to the painting and returns to her own time fairly quickly.

a woman in a pink Renaissance gown holds a sword up
I believe this is the only instance of Sabrina sword fighting (though I’ve been wrong before).

At this point, Paul decides he’s too noble to keep up this sham; however, Travis continues to creepily record everything Paul and Sabrina do.

At the end, Gwen finally kisses Alberto Pigeon, and he becomes human again. He overheard Travis and Paul’s plans when he was a pigeon, so he and Gwen race to warn Sabrina.

Too late—Sabrina has already revealed her secret by transporting herself and Paul to see his family, who I’m pretty sure are all dead? Paul promises never to reveal her secret just as Salem, Gwen, and Alberto arrive to tell her about the scam he and Travis are running. Salem’s sage advice is to turn Paul into a pile of stone, but Sabrina refuses.

Paul then finds Sabrina at Sophia’s portrait, showing her the destroyed tape of her performing witchcraft. His message is, essentially, thank you for believing in me (and not turning me into a pile of stone).

a young woman and man stand in front of a Renaissance portrait of a woman, a hologram appearing before them
HOLOGRAM SABRINAAAAA…was probably an unnecessary expenditure.

At last, the locket is magically opened with LOVE. Sophia appears as a hologram and advises Sabrina that the ones you love are always with you. Also that you should always choose love over magic (I’m sorry, but I would choose magic, esp. witchcraft). Salem, a cat after my own heart, tells Paul “You’re lucky I’m declawed!” Sabrina just kind of fucks with Travis by turning him into a bunch of different animals.

And they all lived happily ever after, except for Harvey.

The Critique:

I just don’t like this one as much as Sabrina Down Under, largely because Salem gets significantly less screen time. Also a little bit because Sabrina dates someone besides Harvey. I know that’s wrong. Sabrina can date whoever she wants to, but I’m still going to be upset when it’s not Harvey.

There’s something generally punch-able about Paul’s face.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherHalf Pink Panther head 2.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I feel I need to express my discontent with the lack of Salem screen time, though, objectively, this is probably no worse than Sabrina Down Under.

Film Reviews

Sabrina Down Under, or: Malleus Mer-eficarum

Time for Remembrance of Films Past, my oft neglected series of posts started with the best of intentions.

The Film:

Sabrina Down Under

Where to Watch:

Youtube (apologies in advance for the terrible screencaps)

The Premise:

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, visits Australia to fulfill her dreams of becoming a marine biologist. There are mermaids.

The Uncondensed Version:

Hopefully if you’re reading this review you’re okay with a little (a lot) of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Remember how there were a couple of TV movies that seemed to have approximately zero connection to the series except for the fact that Sabrina and Salem appeared in them? YOU’RE ABOUT TO. (Don’t worry, I WILL be reviewing the other one, Sabrina Goes to Rome, as soon as possible.)

At the beginning of this particular movie, we learn of Sabrina’s hitherto unexplored passion for marine biology. (Right? I seriously don’t remember her mentioning marine biology even once in the series.) Apparently a book written by one Dr. Martin (don’t worry—not Doc Martin) inspired her to visit the Great Barrier Reef. I WONDER IF SHE WILL ENCOUNTER THIS DR. MARTIN DURING HER VISIT. HMMMMMMM.

As Sabrina rides over the ocean in a helicopter to wherever the fuck she’s going in Australia, she sees someone in the water. I wonder if it’s a merman (spoiler alert: it is).

Meanwhile, Salem has planned his own getaway, booking his favorite suite at a hotel where it is apparently normal to get a room for your cat and arrange for him to have massages and drink cocktails. “Your cat’s every whim is our desire” is literally a line uttered in this movie.

a cat sits at a bar, drinking a tropical cocktail with a straw
Seriously, not one eyebrow is raised at the cat drinking cocktails by the pool.

Meanwhile, Sabrina is meeting up with her English cousin, Gwen, who is something of a fuck-witch (get it? Get it?). Gwen’s goal is basically to watch hot Australians sunbathing, a hobby Sabrina greatly approves of but is not very good at. One of her astute observations is “He has dimples as big as coconuts.” Uh…are we talking about the same thing here, Sabrina?

This is interrupted when Sabrina realizes the disgruntled Aussie yelling at everyone for trespassing is none other than Dr. Martin. Sabrina tells him she’s a huge fan; he basically just continues to mutter to himself. However, he does invite her to join his diving expedition the next day. (It’s okay—for once, that is not a euphemism.)

The next day, Sabrina and Gwen show up in what has to be Barbie brand diving gear. They go diving to this really bad cover of “Octopus’s Garden.” Like the ’90s pop version of “Octopus’s Garden.” I would recommend watching this scene on mute. Sabrina turns herself into a fish for no apparent reason whatsoever EXCEPT to conveniently assist her in discovering a supposedly extinct species of fish. Gwen swims back to the surface and meets BARNABY (that’s seriously his name) the merman who appears to be sick or injured; when she tries to introduce him to Sabrina, he mysteriously vanishes.

a woman stands on a dock wearing a brightly colored yellow and pink wetsuit
I swear to god there’s a Barbie in hell with this exact outfit.

Meanwhile, Salem discovers there’s a white Persian staying at the hotel, who is a witch serving out a sentence as a cat. There are SLOW MO shots of the Persian shaking her head and licking her lips. (This movie’s target audience HAD to be cat ladies.) Though Salem expects they will bond over being trapped in cat bodies, the Persian flat out rejects him. He tries to win her over by sending himself to her on a tray. Yeah, there’s an uncomfortable amount of cat sexualization in this movie.

an animatronic Persian cat wears a floppy beach hat
Obviously cheaper to buy animatronic cats than to train live cats to wear hats.

Returning to the Sabrina storyline, Dr. Martin informs her they will have to verify the rare fish sighting and is generally a dick since he’s miffed he wasn’t the one to discover the fish. There’s also some dramatic foreshadowing about toxic waste being dumped in the ocean and killing the reef.

Then Sabrina and Gwen find what they initially believe is a dolphin but is, in fact, Barnaby the MERMAN lying on the beach. OF COURSE they try to give him mouth to mouth as Barnaby’s sister, Fin, and a dolphin watch, dismayed that the humans have Barnaby. Sabrina teleports them away from the beach, and they drag Barnaby to her room run a bath for him (I promise you this movie is not a porno).

two young women look in amazement at a man with a fishtail who is washed up on a beach
Continuing to stare at his chest will make everything all better, right?

When he wakes up, the merman has an American accent; clearly, the moral of the story is don’t date Australians. (The human/merperson barrier is easier to breach than the Australian/American.) In order to better fit in while he recovers, Sabrina gives him legs as well as blue camo pants and a beanie (I think Sabrina’s cruel streak runs deeper than anyone ever knew during the series). There’s a montage of Barnaby using his legs to a really bad cover of “Livin’ la Vida Loca” including riding a Sea Doo, going shopping, and eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

a young man wearing a beanie and blue camo cargo shorts crouches next to a dolphin on a beach
With that outfit it’s not surprising that Barnaby’s only friend is a dolphin.

In the meantime, someone shows Dr. Martin pictures of the merman, which he vows to find and capture FOR SCIENCE. When Sabrina brings ointment to a sick Fin, Dr. Martin places a tracking device in her backpack so he can finally have a merman of his own.

On the comic relief front, Gwen accidentally turns Salem into a catfish, who falls into the ocean. The Persian is supposed to meet Salem for dinner (and nobody at the restaurant questions this), and it turns out Salem is in fact a fish in the restaurant’s tank. By the time Sabrina transforms him back into a cat, the Persian has already left. To make it up to her, Salem takes the Persian to see the sunrise and conveniently snaps pictures of illegal toxic waste dumping in the ocean.

Returning to the unfolding mermaid tragedy, on the day Sabrina’s spell on Barnaby will wear off, Dr. Martin prepares to find the mermaid colony. To stop him, Sabrina decides to create THE PERFECT STORM; this can only end in tears. Because she’s standing in the water when Sabrina accidentally hits herself with lightning and knocks herself unconscious. Apparently this renders her temporarily unable to cast any more spells.

This entire sequence is all in vain as Barnaby crashes a car just after turning back into a merman right in front of Dr. Martin, who imprisons him in the hotel pool (that has got to be against hotel policy). Luckily, Gwen’s boyfriend, who does a really bad mermaid drag act, distracts everyone while Sabrina and Gwen free him.  Unfortunately, Dr. Martin and his gang of scientists put out nets to catch Fin and Barnaby. Sabrina manages to get aboard with the help of Fin’s dolphin friend (seriously). After Dr. Martin catches the merpeople, Sabrina magically finds the supposedly extinct fish and tries to convince everyone it’s more impressive than the discovery of merpeople. She starts cutting the net; I want a movie about Sabrina becoming a member of PETA and throwing blood on people wearing fur. Is that weird? She then makes a point about who is REALLY the poacher and demands Dr. Martin let the merpeople go (LET MY MERPEOPLE GO).

After this sequence of events, Dr. Martin’s dedication to the profession is renewed; he proceeds to recite the Endangered Species Act. The Persian transforms back into a woman since her sentence is over and breaks up with Salem (as a side note, witches/warlocks really need to work on a better crime deterrent because spending 1,000 years as a talking housecat does not sound like punishment at all to me). The identified ship that has been illegally polluting is stopped, and the reef is saved. Sabrina and Gwen go scuba diving with the merpeople, wooooooooo.

The Critique:

The biggest disappointment of this movie is that Sabrina’s quirky aunts don’t appear at all. They were a vital part of the show, and the dynamic is entirely ruined by their absence.

I am also both delighted and dismayed that there was no Sabrina/Barnaby romance. In my memory there was, which is rather upsetting because of Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey and also because the merman’s name is BARNABY. (I really apologize to any and all members of the general population named Barnaby, but to me it sounds like the name of a sickly child in a 19th-century novel.)

On the bright side, there’s A LOT of very dramatically urgent didgeridoo music in the score (if made-for-TV movies can be said to have scores). I still think this is a reasonably entertaining movie, though perhaps not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther heads

It hurts to give this movie a mere 3, but, my love of Sabrina aside, this is a fairly nonsensical film. If you never watched Sabrina, you will probably only enjoy this movie if you’re really into didgeridoo solos, cats, and/or mermaids. Mercats?

Sorry my longest review ever focuses on a made-for-TV movie about Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. It’s unforgivable, truly.

Film Reviews

Remembrance of Pigs Past

This review is the first in a new series called “Remembrance of Films Past,” in which I will re-visit movies I watched as a child to see how terrible my instincts were. It’ll be just like the Nostalgia Critic ( but with lower production values.

The first movie in this series is Babe: Pig in the City, which I loathed as a child. Let’s see if the memory of this film is so unpleasant that I would gladly expunge it. Yeah, I just paraphrased Proust in this review of Babe: Pig in the City.  Because this blog wasn’t pretentious enough to begin with.

The Film:

Babe: Pig in the City

Where to Watch:

Buy/rent from Amazon, check out from your local library, etc.

The Premise:

After inadvertently leaving Farmer Hoggett with broken bones and head trauma, Babe goes to the city with Mrs. Hoggett to enter a sheep herding competition that will supposedly save the farm.

The Uncondensed Version:

After the events of Babe, Farmer Hoggett and Babe return home, greeted by the locals with pig empowerment signs like “PIGS R BEST,” “HURRAH PIG,” and “PIG OF THE YEAR.”

a group of people with balloons and congratulatory signs surrounds a man with a blue ribbon and a pig standing behind the cab of a truck
Wait–who’s driving the truck?

This scene is merely designed to contrast with the rest of the film, in which the mighty FALL. Babe accidentally drops a water pump on Farmer Hoggett’s head while he’s repairing the well in a scene that reminded me a bit of a similar scene in There Will Be Blood.

a man is lowered  by rope down a stone well
“I am an oilman, ladies and gentlemen.”

As a result, Mrs. Hoggett must take Babe to the sheep herding competition in Metropolis that will SAVE THE FARM, but not before the mice can sing “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.” SERIOUSLY. As Mrs. H and Babe leave, the sheep chant “save the farm,” the version of “baa ram ewe” reserved for times of recession.

Unfortunately, things go badly from the beginning of the trip. Mrs. H gets held at the airport under suspicion of smuggling drugs.  (The drug dog is named SNOOP.  Get it, get it?)  She is eventually released, only to end up staying with Babe in an extremely sketchy hotel.

Also staying in the hotel is a clown named FUGLY with his performing monkeys. One of the monkeys steals Mrs. H’s bag, so Babe follows him. Another one of the monkeys is named Thelonious (Monkey?), which I thought was POLONIUS for 75% of the movie. I became incredibly nervous any time he stood anywhere even remotely near a curtain.  I don’t want to see any monkeys get stabbed, no matter how morally ambiguous they are.

Babe basically gets kidnapped and has to perform as part of the clown’s show until he accidentally lights the entire set on fire to “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.” The clown DIES, leaving Babe and the monkeys with nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, Mrs. H gets arrested when she unintentionally incites a riot. I don’t know what the message is here with all of the inadvertent mishaps. Clumsy people are a menace to our society? The road to hell is paved with good intentions?

Anyway, since Babe and the monkeys (can this be someone’s band name please? Babe and the Monkeys?) have nowhere to go and nothing to eat, they steal food from dogs. Or, rather, Babe unknowingly leads the dogs on a really long chase while the monkeys steal their food. The chase ends with a bull terrier who was chasing Babe almost drowning, but Babe saves him. After this, all the animals feel the need to share their incredibly sad stories, including “My human tied me in a bag and throwed me in the water.”

Then Babe sings “If I Had Words to Make a Day for You” (thank GOD) and basically becomes their führer.

All of the animals live in the hotel now until this really long, heartbreaking scene in which everyone gets taken to the pound except Babe, Ferdie the duck (who manages to track down Babe), one of the monkeys, and a dog on wheels, who gets HIT BY A CAR.

a dog with wheels attached to its back legs lies motionless in a dark alley
That wheel just keeps spinning and spinning.

Naturally, there is a prison break in which Babe springs all of the animals from the pound.

Then, for reasons I don’t remember (I should’ve taken better notes), Mrs. H ruins a fancy gala by swinging from a chandelier wearing Fugly the Clown’s inflatable pants in order to save Babe and the others. I’m sorry, but I’m not watching this film again to figure out why this scene exists.

a woman in inflated balloon-like pants swings from a balcony as well-dressed onlookers react in shock

Everyone, including the monkeys, strays, and other misfits, moves back to the farm, which the narrator describes “in a place just a little left of the 20th century.” A place called…the Twilight Zone.

The bull terrier and a poodle have adorable mutts that I wish could exist in nature…and then the poodle runs away with another dog!

puppies with pink wigs play together in a field
I’ll take them all, please.

At least the film ends with Farmer Hoggett saying “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”

Then you get to the ending song, “That’ll Do,” written by Randy Newman and performed by PETER GABRIEL.

Sample lyrics include:

“A kind and steady heart can make a gray sky blue,

And a task that seems impossible is quite possible for you.

A kind and steady heart is sure to see you through,

It may not seem like very much right now, it’ll do, it’ll do.”

The Critique:

Yeah, I still hate this movie. It’s really uneven, and just emotionally empty. There was a lot more slapstick-style humor than in Babe, most of which falls short.

On the other hand, some critics (including Roger Ebert) really liked this movie because it was much darker than the first movie. I’m not sure I accept that. There are some very dark moments in the film, but the original Babe had some distinctly bleak moments of its own. Remember that Babe was the only one of his family to escape the slaughterhouse because he was a runt? What about when all of Fly’s puppies were adopted by other people? And how sadistic that farm cat was??? For Christ’s sake, Maa DIED, for which BABE was blamed and nearly shot by Farmer Hoggett (spoilers spoilers spoilers). But these moments were balanced out by some really sweet moments between Babe, the other animals, and (obviously) Farmer Hoggett. Babe: Pig in the City is all about how all you need is a pure heart, blah blah blah. I’m sorry, but not even Peter Gabriel can make that message seem anything less than trite and cheesy.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther3/5 Pink Panther heads

I think the sad truth is that Babe is way more adorable as a piglet. It’s weird how much hair he has as a grown pig.