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The Adventures of Milo & Otis Movie Review

moore dudley cat

It isn't everyday that I receive pawtographed press releases from a dog and a cat, so I have to admit I was more than a little curious about The Adventures of Milo & Otis, a 1989 Japanese blockbuster with obvious international appeal. I think that grown-ups will enjoy the picture as much as their kids, although I did notice three exhausted fathers snoozing during a Saturday morning matinee. For those who stay awake, however, the film provides 76 minutes of pure fun as well as dazzling cinematography and non-stop anthropomorphism. The plot revolves around Milo, a mischievous orange cat, and his best friend Otis, a pug-ugly, thoroughly responsible watchdog. When Milo is swept down a river, Otis begins a lengthy rescue operation. Along the way, there are bears, a waterfall, a snake, a fox, a train, a pit, snow, and, worst of all in male-dominated Japan, females. Milo's true love is Joyce, who is soon eating for eight; Otis stumbles across Saundra, who presents him with Jean-Pierre, François, and Suzette. Family responsibilities, it would seem, threaten the friendship between Milo and Otis even more than the dangers in the countryside. I wonder how the filmmakers were able to obtain some of the amazing footage. Although the producer claims that the animals received no “overt” direction or training, 18 animal trainers are listed in the credits. Thirty cats wound up playing Milo. There are no people in the cast, unless you count Dudley Moore, who narrates the story and plays all the voices, too. (Incidentally, with the possible exception of Arthur, Milo & Otis is the only movie of the 1980s which was worthy of Moore's considerable talent.) AKA: Koneko Monogatari; The Adventures of Chatran.

1989 (G) 76m/C JP Dudley Moore; D: Masanori Hata; W: Mark Saltzman; C: Hideo Fujii, Shinji Tomita; M: Michael Boddicker. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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