Babe | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Now that I've finally caught up with this live-action sleeper about a piglet that behaves like a sheepdog, I find it every bit as impressive as its reputation suggests, though I do find it creepy to be so entertained by a movie in which I can't tell from one moment to the next whether I'm watching a real animal or a fake. The coproducer and cowriter here, George Miller, is the Australian wonder responsible for both the antihumanistic brilliance of the Mad Max movies and the humanistic brilliance of Lorenzo's Oil, and anyone who wants to reconcile those disparate achievements will find the same paradoxicality swimming through this movie. Directed and coscripted by Chris Noonan from a source novel by Dick King-Smith, this may succeed as well as it does because the talking animal characters seem like more than just ersatz humans. In addition the lipsync is handled much better than in Forrest Gump, the characters (both animal and human) are solidly conceived, and the storytelling and visual styling are expertly fashioned. With James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski. Golf Glen, North Riverside, Plaza, Evanston, Norridge, Ford City.

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