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The Adventures of Milo and Otus (1989)

"Before viewing" talks don't have spoilers, but since there's no "After viewing" talk for this one, comments may have spoilers. More»» by Randy Heffner

Is the film worth your time?

The Adventures of Milo and Otus is a delightfully narrated, live-action animal flick — and clever enough to be worth adults’ time, not just children. In the film’s friendship between a cat and a dog, we see care, loyalty, responsibility, waywardness, courage, and the cycle of life played out in a sensitive, engaging, and fun manner. For children, the animals are cute and their interactions are very well constructed in the film’s editing to draw children into the story. For adults that are not overly caught up in being adults, Milo and Otus, particularly with Dudley Moore’s wonderful narration, can spark reflection anew on the beauty of friendship and life. C.S. Lewis once said, “I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.” By that measure, this film is an excellent children’s story. In its home country of Japan, the film is known as Koneko monogatari — which means “A Kitten’s Story.”

Milo proves, shortly after birth, to be the renegade and overly curious kitten in his litter. This leads to Milo and Otis meeting at a very early age, as kitten and puppy. After getting past the confusion as to what strange sort of a cat that Otis might be, the two begin a wonderful friendship, filled with romping about the farm, games of hide and seek, taking on Important Jobs, and brave explorations. One day, Milo explores a bit too much, and the real adventures begin. Running time: 75 min. (US version)

The film has scenes where Milo or Otus get themselves into perilous situations. However, in most cases, the scenes are brief and the overdubbed music carries the light-hearted, fantastical character of the film, so I expect they would upset only the most sensitive children that are not ready for mildly portrayed peril. There are scenes of live animal childbirth.

  • Director: Masanori Hata
  • Screenplay: Mark Saltzman based on Masanori Hata’s story
  • Leads: Dudley Moore (narrator)
  • Cinematography: Hideo Fujii, Shinji Tomita
  • Music: Michael Boddicker (in the US version


NOTE: Although Before viewing talks don't have spoilers, comments below MAY have spoilers
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