The story of two animals and their adventures. Milo, the cat, and Otis, the dog, are two animals who grew up together on the same farm. One day, the two are separated and begin a journey to find each other. The adventurous, and often perilous quest finds the two animals traveling across mountains, plains, and snow-covered lands searching for one another.Written by
At the beginning of the film, Milo is seen as a very young kitten, perhaps three weeks old, nursing from his mother. When Otis the puppy scrambles up to their nest in the barn, a curious Milo topples over the side of the nest and the two animals meet for the first time. Strangely, from the moment he topples out of the nest to the moment when he lands next to Otis, Milo has aged at least a month! See more »
[taunting the bear in the drawers]
Wanna come in? I'll help you. I'll pull you in by your nose!
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"The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is a wonderful film about a pair of cute animals, an orange cat named Milo and a pug named Otis, who have been separated from each other and their home. Milo and Otis, best friends since birth, grow up on a small farm and lightheartedly enjoy their youth together, having fun with the other animals and playing games, their favorite being hide-and-seek. One day, Milo finds the perfect hiding spot in a box tied to a pier on the river, but the game turns serious when the box starts to float downriver away from the farm. Otis, loyal friend that he is, runs alongside the box, trying to help Milo, but eventually, the two animals are separated and lost from home. The movie follows the two animals on their quest to reunite and find their way home, as they tumble through exciting adventures and close calls.
Directed by Masanori Hata, "Koneko monogatari," to cite the film's original title, was produced and released in Japan in 1986, achieving box office success in the Asian country. The film made its way to the United States and was released in 1989 by Columbia Pictures. The American edition is 76 minutes long, 14 minutes shorter than the Japanese version's 90 minutes. The American version is narrated with charm and enthusiasm by Dudley Moore, who creates distinct characters using nothing more than his voice.
The film works on nearly all levels. Although some heard-hearted adult viewers may find its plot simplistic and its humor childish, we must not forget that the film is, after all, a fable made for children. That the movie speaks to an adult audience with respect and profundity is to its credit and an indication of its brilliance. The cinematography by Hideo Fujii and Shinji Tomita captures the Japanese countryside beautifully, and the filmmakers show themselves to be masters of color and composition, depicting moments of true beauty such as the gentle trickling of water from a stalactite in a cave. The film features a gentle instrumental score by Ryuichi Sakamoto that nicely complements the action. The song "Gonna Take a Walk Outside today" by Michael Boddicker bookends the American version.
Often compared to and, unfortunately, confused with the Disney film "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey," "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is by far the superior film. The Disney film also features animals (in this instance, two dogs and a cat) trying to make their way home. The film surrounds this adventure home with an inane subplot involving the animals' owners (a family led by Robert Hays), who are searching for their lost pets. The Disney film lacks any subtlety or charm, dragging its animal heroes (voiced by Sally Field, Michael J. Fox, and Don Ameche) through sappy moments of forced sentimentality and contrived plot developments. Whereas "Homeward Bound" features plain cinematography and lacks the ambition to speak to an older audience or comment on real issues, "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" strongly addresses topics like loyalty and friendship. Never pandering to its audience, the film even depicts the tension and jealousy that can arise between friends who become distanced when a love interest develops for one of them. Although the Disney film was released with greater publicity and fanfare, "The Adventures of Milo and Otis," a hidden gem, is far better.
"The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is a simple fable and its characters exist in a magical world that seems untouched by human civilization. Although Milo and Otis live on a farm, their masters are never referred to or seen, nor is there any sign at all of humankind. A locomotive that nearly runs Milo down represents the only existence of humanity in the film, a possible comment on the lethal power of technology and the destructive side of human nature. By depicting cooperation and friendship between animals (some of which are natural enemies), the film seems to set their interaction as an example to us quarrelsome humans. However, let us not drift from the film's central theme. Above all, "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is a wonderful film about the enduring qualities of loyalty and friendship and, as such, is entertaining for younger and older viewers alike.
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