If you’re a fan of heartwarming family films about talking animals, you probably love Babe. And why not? It’s a charming film about a talking pig who uses kindness and friendship to win a sheepherding contest. The 1995 film was so beloved that it was even nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture!), taking home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
The climax of the film comes at the aforementioned sheepherding contest. Up until this point, Babe had just nicely asked the sheep to perform different tasks; happy not to be barked at, the sheep would happily comply. But at the contest, the new sheep ignore him completely, putting Babe’s entire strategy at risk – that is, until he’s given the secret password that will make any sheep obey his every command.
If you need your memory jogged, watch the scene below:
It’s a lovely, satisfying moment that can make even the biggest curmudgeon crack a smile. No problem, right?
Well, not quite. Because, at the risk of ruining everything, consider this: Babe cheated.
I know, I know: Sacrilege! That sweet, kind animal is incapable of cheating! He didn’t cheat. No way.
Except that he did.
Consider the following:
1. Babe was given information about how to win the sheepherding contest.
2. Said information was not provided to any of the other contestants.
3. That information was directly responsible for Babe’s victory.
As much as it hurts, Babe’s win was totally unfair to the other entrants.
“But Babe was nice to the sheep!” you may say. “The dogs were rough and mean, and Babe was simply rewarded for his kindness. When you’re nice, other people (and animals) will want to help you.”
Perhaps! And that is a lovely lesson to take away from this. But remember: Those dogs were never trained to be kind. They were taught from birth that the only way to deal with the sheep is to be aggressive. They were raised to be rough and then punished for it. That is the worst kind of systematic discrimination! They’re the real victims here.
Obviously, Babe is still the cutest movie ever. But the next time you watch it, consider whether his big victory was actually deserved.