Babe: Pig in the City

Nigel Westlake

" Score, dialogue, sound effects and music that isn't used in the film! What a mixed bag! "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Babe 2: Pig in the City is the sequel to the successful Babe movie, starring a little pig that changed sheep herding forever. The sequel was considered to be less successful, even though it remained a charming little affair. Speaking of the score, I knew the deal. I've seen the movie, I knew what was on the score, I knew there were dialogue snippets and that there is very few score left at the end. Still, several things became clear the minute you started listening.

You discovered that the original theme of the first movie (the wonderful version of If I had Words) isn't even found on this score (used though several times during the movie). Secondly, the material composed by Nigel Westlake is indeed pathetically divided so to speak, barely 11 minutes long and full of narration (this is different from the first album, considering it is not story telling but actual dialogue and SFX. If not, airplanes and people shouting would not have been included at all).

Last but not least, the CD actually contains 4 tracks not heard during the movie. What's the point of hearing music from the movie Babe: Pig in the City while it isn't even heard during it? It could have been replaced with actual discovered score material but that isn't the case here. That the score works average to good is solely responsible to Westlake's abilities, something the producers of the album severely seem to lack.

So, the movie itself is indeed a little bit weaker but on the other hand, it gave Esme Hoggett (the wife of farmer Hoggett) a chance to star. Plus it created a human flair and dignity through the likes of chimps, cats and dogs. Considering the score, it is without doubt suitable for the movie. Yet, this is no way how to treat score fans and especially composer Nigel Westlake's composition. While the soundtrack actually contains more songs than score, it are the few minutes of score that save this release from total humiliation.

"That'll Do" contains brief Irish flutes and covers a vocal version of Randy Newman's piece (I think Let it Be), the vocals by Peter Gabriel are extremely appropriate by the way. While the score receives barely a minute after one another, it is the rest that doesn't sooth. Mainly the songs (for the most part classics). This is good for the movie, bad for the soundtrack and terrible for those who want more original score in the first place. While they all fit the movie, they have no doubt been heard millions of times before and I have no interest in hearing them, except during their respected time in the movie. Next, the song versions created by the three mice is often quoted in the track before and can irritate you to hell if you don't see them coming.

On the other hand, Westlake's material is brief but perfect. For instance "Scram, This is Not a Farm" contains the engine sounds of airplanes and narrations of people on the background, but it also has a short but wonderful orchestral version of the song 'That's Amore'. The returning sad music of Babe is heard during "Babe's Lament". Sadly almost all the score material has narration (none of the songs, figure that out).

The sole exception (not composed by Westlake) is the standout track of the score. Performed by The Chieftains and backing up the heartbreaking catch of all the animals in the house, it is "Protected by Angels" that makes the score truly grand for a moment. Flutes, bagpipes and an emotional fabulous theme will literally make you cry. It is an emotional joy to see and hear this in context.

And then we come to the bonus tracks, songs and source material that might even sound good, but if it isn't found in the movie, then what the hell is it doing on the soundtrack? Proof that the producers didn't respect the work of Westlake at all. Come to think of it, the space could have brought us 10 to 20 minutes more of score. So, this all might sound like a good listen on occasion, even the narration doesn't hurt as much as I would like. But if you present a score in such a manner, then there's no wonder people loath the outcome. Babe: Pig in the City unfortunately for it drags the wonderful work of composer Nigel Westlake with it.


1. That'll Do ** (3.51)
2. Babe: A Pig in the City *+ (1.22)
3. The Returning Hero *+ (1.16)
4. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: Edith Piaf (2.19)
5. Chattanooga Choo-Choo: Glen Miller & his Orchestra (3.14)
6. Scram, This is Not a Farm *+ (2.27)
7. That's Amore: Dean Martin (3.07)
8. Three Blind Mice *** (0.41)
9. A Pig Gets Wise *+ (1.17)
10. Are You Lonesome Tonight: The Mavericks (2.59)
11. Protected by Angels **** (3.39) Excellent track
12. The Big City (Two Step Nadya) ***** (3.12)
13. Babe's Lament *+ (2.38)
14. A Heart That's True: E.G. Daily (3.58)
15. The End *+ (1.26)
16. That'll Do (Instrumental) ** (3.57)

* Original Score
+ Contains dialogue
** Arranged by Edward Shearmur, performed by the Black Dyke Mills Band
*** Performed by Cat Chorus
**** Performed by The Chieftains, featuring the Black Dyke Mills Band
***** Performed by The Terem Quartet

Total Length: 41.34
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 7 votes - average 2.36/5)

Released by

Geffen Records 25310 (regular release 1998)

Conducted by

Nigel Westlake & Brett Kelly

Orchestrations by

Nigel Westlake

Performed by

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra