As Babs (Hiba Ghafry) tells her best friend while they’re shopping, she wants nothing more for her birthday than a cute puppy dog. After this revelation, Babs and her best friend shop for various ingredients to cook pancakes with the family. They must stop at the butcher to buy sausages, but Babs is a vegetarian. Inside the butchery, she expresses her displeasure regarding his meat preparation methods before mistakenly breaking a trophy on display. Babs and her friend flee the butcher store while being chased.
When Babs returns home, her parents receive an unexpected visitor, all the way from Texas- her Grandfather, Opa Tuitjes (Kees Prins). Tuitjes lost his home during a wild tornado storm, and with no home to go to, he moves in with them. Babs plays tricks and pranks on him for fun, such as putting slugs in his bed, but no matter her antics, Tuitjes continues to be kind and cheerful in return. Soon, Babs warms up to him.
When Babs’s birthday arrives, she is sad to find no puppy and blames her father for having such bad allergies. Thankfully, Grandpa Tuitjes has a secret for Babs. Taking her to a local pig farm, Babs is allowed to pick a pig to keep as a pet. One little piglet, Oink, walks up to her. The experience warms Babs’s heart, and she claims it’s the greatest gift she has ever received. However, the new pet’s arrival (soon named Oink) isn’t welcomed by her parents, even more so when Oink makes a huge mess around the home. Babs pleads with her parents, convincing them that Oink can be trained to behave and become an excellent house pet. Her parents agree to keep Oink, providing bad habits can be turned into good ones! Not only will Babs have the challenge of trying to teach Oink to behave, but her free-range pig will soon gain a local butcher’s attention.
For those unaware, the film is a stop-motion animation feature. The genre here is best described as a family film with minor comedic moments. As a family film, there is a sweet story of Babs desiring a pet and discovering an unexpected bond with a cute tiny pig. Babs desperately does everything she can to keep her family pleased with her new addition to the home. Plenty of jokes are aimed at a young audience, such as Oink consistently making large brown deposits in places where they shouldn’t be. As the film progresses, Babs also becomes a protector of Oink when she discovers that perhaps someone might be trying to steal her new pet so they can win the local Sausage King competition. To my amazement, the film introduces a twist that I didn’t see coming and looking back; I honestly can’t believe I didn’t guess the reveal upon my first watch, which is great.
Visually, I enjoyed the film style and animation. Finer details, such as backgrounds and side characters, have been designed well. The story and plot are touching, heartfelt, and sweet, particularly the relationship between Babs and Oink. Still, there’s no denying that when it comes to meat, the message sometimes feels slightly preachy. In the opening act, Babs expresses her preferences regarding meat to the butcher. The butcher himself is instantly made out to be a monster working with bloody knives and disgusting machines. Another example is when Grandpa Tuitjes sits at the family dinner table to eat a meal, and another disagreement occurs regarding meat. While Grandpa Tuitjes loves a good sausage, Babs’s mother prefers to grow everything fresh at home and claims slaughtering animals is barbaric. It’s evident the filmmakers have a clear message to share with their audiences.
Overall, families will easily enjoy this sweet stop-motion animation with a cute and adorable story about a young girl and her pet pig named Oink. To my surprise, the film introduced a twist I should have seen coming, yet it shocked me and delivered an engaging finale. Oink is incredibly preachy about the topic of eating meat, and it’s evident that filmmakers have strong intentions in getting a message out there. The response to this message will vary between viewers.