Babe appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a dated and inconsistent presentation.
In general, sharpness appeared adequate, as most of the film boasted acceptable to good delineation. However, some moderate edge haloes damaged fine detail, as did the use of noise reduction.
Babe came with what vaguely looked like grain but that felt more like video noise. The image lacked a natural impression and seemed processed.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized. Print flaws stayed modest, as I saw a few specks and nothing more.
Babe opted for a warm, often golden palette that suffered due to the processing and noise. While the hues should appear vivid and rich, instead they tended to seem heavy and oppressive.
Blacks seemed a bit crushed, while shadows came across somewhat dense. This was a problematic transfer that just narrowly rose above “D” level.
Though not dazzling, at least the movie’s DTS-HD 5.1 fared better. The soundscape tended toward ambience most of the time, with an emphasis on the farm environment.
At times the track kicked to life a little more, mainly during slapstick antics, thunder or fireworks. These brought some activity and involvement, but the soundfield mostly stayed with music and gentle outdoors ambience.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Music appeared full and rich.
As noted, effects didn’t enjoy a lot of prominence, but they still felt accurate and dynamic, without distortion. This was a more than adequate mix for an unassuming movie.
A few extras appear here, and we get an audio commentary from writer/producer George Miller. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, the use of animals, effects and related topics.
On the negative side, Miller occasionally just narrates the movie. He also probably devotes more of the discussion to the specifics of how the film brought the animals to life, as this gets a bit redundant.
Nonetheless, Miller offers a generally good chat. Even with some of those minor flaws, he delivers a lot of useful info and turns this into a fairly effective commentary.
Two short featurettes appear: The Making of Babe (3:56) and George Miller on Babe (6:12). In the former, we hear from a bunch of unnamed visual effects folks, while the latter simply features
“Making” concentrates on the methods used to allow the animals to create believable vocal mouth moments, whereas the second piece discusses what led Miller to the project as well as cast and story/character domains.
Both offer some good information. Neither runs long enough to deliver real depth, but they work better than one might expect given their brevity.
A charming little family fable, Babe hits all the right notes. It sends s message without too much moralizing and seems sweet without sappiness. The Blu-ray offers appealing audio and a few bonus materials but visuals appear dated and erratic. I like the movie but it could use a new transfer.