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The Adventures of Milo and Otis(1986)
The odyssey of two animal friends, a cat named Milo, and a dog named Otis, as they journey through the Japanese wilderness.
For more about The Adventures of Milo and Otis and the The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray release, see the The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 1, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Narrator: Dudley Moore
Director: Masanori Hata
» See full cast & crew
The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray Review
Family filmmaking at its simplistic finest.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 1, 2012
Deep down inside we're all cats.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis may not be a work of art, but it is a work of the heart. Even setting aside the cute animals, easygoing adventure, and honest themes, the movie plays with an underlying tenderness and always-evident gentleness that's touching and refreshing alike. The movie's plot is simple, its characters real, and their challenges many; it's a genuine slice-of-life movie that shows that pure storytelling still lives, that sometimes it's the simplest things that speak the loudest, that a heartfelt narrative wrapped in goodness and integrity and promoting good values and true life lessons still trumps all. But even for the littlest of audiences, The Adventures of Milo and Otis succeeds because of its simplicity and visual warmth and cuddliness. The movie feels safe even when its characters find danger, when they're separated in the cold, lost under the darkness of night, yearning only to reunite and return home. And yes, they are awfully cute. But no matter for what purpose one may watch it or when, the movie transports its audience, at least for its brief runtime, to a place of safety and contentment where, yes, challenges remain, but goodness reigns.
A barn. A sound in the loft. Few animals are stirring, barely batting an eye at the clatter. But something miraculous is occurring. A mother cat births a litter of kittens, amongst them the orange-colored Milo. Milo might look sweet and gentle, but he's no ordinary kitten: he's destined for great things. Soon, Milo grows old enough to leave his mother's side. Exploring his farm, he meets Otis, a small dog with whom Milo instantly connects. Different though they may be, they fast become inseparable friends. Together, they play games and even care for an egg and raise a chicken that mistakes Otis for its mother. One day, Milo and Otis venture further beyond the farm to the dangerous docks Milo's mother once warned him about. Disaster strikes. Milo falls into a box and is whisked away downstream. Otis gives chase, but the current is too fast, carrying Milo far away from his friend, his family, his home. As Milo struggles to survive, alone and scared and with little to eat, Otis seeks out his friend, himself alone and hungry and not quite sure how to get back home. Will the two ever meet again? Will they ever find their way home? Will they discover their destinies in the midst of their greatest trials?
As simple as it may be -- the movie is narrated in one voice, no characters speak, and no humans appear -- The Adventures of Milo and Otis manages far more character development and plot clarity than do many movies. And that's not a result of it being "dumbed down." On the contrary, the movie is smartly straightforward, told in a classic style that accentuates the necessary points and leaves the rest to the imagination. The narration, brilliantly spoken by Dudley Moore, is so captivating, easygoing, and complete that it would work in telling the story fully even without the accompanying visuals; he and the script paint such a vivid aural picture that the screen seems not unnecessary, but rather a bonus that heightens the movie, that elevates its from childhood story to wondrous, complete experience. Of course, the filmmakers cut no corners with the visuals, either. The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a beautifully crafted film, straightforward but uncannily capable of placing the viewer on the same level as the animals, the camera tightly capturing their antics and adventures, serving almost as a companion through which the audience experiences, not just watches, the story as it unfolds. It's surprisingly gripping for as simple as it is; falling into a hole, searching for food, even a claw pinched on a nose seems ominous yet at the same time not, the audience just knowing that no harm could befall the characters, though danger lurks with every step they take.
That sense of safety, however, doesn't betray the movie's greatest strength, which lies in its parallel animal-man analogy. The story of The Adventures of Milo and Otis embodies the life and trials of man, gently replicating the life cycle -- which man by definition makes far more complicated than animal because of his higher cognitive abilities, more complex level of free will shaped by greater intelligence and understanding of the world, and his soul -- that is defined by ups and downs, trials, accidents, setbacks, successes, and failures. The movie captures the essence of life, showing that no matter how unassuming, careful, gentle, warm, and friendly one may be, there is always danger looming, not just the chance of falling into the river but the guarantee that one will someday fall into the river and lose his or her way. But even life's setbacks -- those things that seem to promise no escape, engender no sense of hope, that prompt even the strongest-willed and experienced victims to contemplate surrender and never move on -- can and very often do yield even greater positive results. For Milo and Otis, falling into the river, becoming lost, warding off predators, and surviving through the dark season of their lives produces unimaginable joy, safety, and purpose before their adventures even come to a close. That's perhaps the most positive message anyone can ever hear, and there are few vessels better suited to demonstrate it than The Adventures of Milo and Otis.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Adventures of Milo and Otis debuts on Blu-ray with a steady and film-like 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. Opening credits wobble slightly, darker scenes are prone to slight crush, and light blocking dots a few backgrounds, but the transfer is otherwise sound and pleasant, looking rather good in high definition. Fine detail is solid, but somewhat unremarkable. Animal fur in close-up shots appears to flow naturally, each strand generally distinct from the others. Detail is also strong on wooden textures -- both shaped by man and in its natural state -- while rusty train tracks, rocks, and grasses appear sharp and suitably intricate. Certainly, the film is never razor-sharp and distant shots of leaves, for example, appear slightly smeared, but the image on the whole is very stable and true. Colors are strong, bright and natural, and never excessively vibrant, warm, or dim. Orange cat fur, green grasses, rusty railroad tracks, and warm woods look great in high definition. Moderate grain retention, an absence of digital tinkering, and a fairly clean print all help to make The Adventures of Milo and Otis a good-looking catalogue release from Sony.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Adventures of Milo and Otis features a steady DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The movie doesn't serve up any sort of significant sonic elements, but everything is in order. The track is full-bodied and yields good clarity in all elements. Music is satisfying, nicely balanced and spaced and never shallow. Light ambience helps to create a more realistic environment, even if it is limited to light rushing waters, clucking inside the henhouse, or barely-audible meows and barks. Dudley Moore's narration is crisp and smoothly delivered via the center channel. This is no surround sound extravaganza, but the reserved, competent, sincere sonic presentation is a fine asset to a great movie.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Adventures of Milo and Otis comes to Blu-ray without any supplements beyond a trailer. A DVD version of the film is included on a separate disc.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a superb film about life. It doesn't hide its parallels and lessons, but it shares them with such a gentle breath and reassuring touch that they just sink in whether the viewer chooses to fully embrace the important life-teaching simplicity of the story or not. It's so tenderhearted, warm, and pure that it's easy to become lost in the basic adventures of two adorable animals and the friends and enemies they meet along the way, but no matter how one sees it or what they take from it, there's no denying that The Adventures of Milo and Otis is anything but a perfect example of wholesome family entertainment fit for all ages, in any age. Sony's Blu-ray release doesn't come with any meaningful supplements, but in this case, the movie speaks for itself. The video and audio are unsurprisingly strong, given that this is a Sony release. Though it's far from the perfect Blu-ray package, the quality and purpose of the movie overwhelms all other factors. The Adventures of Milo and Otis earns my highest recommendation.
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The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray - November 14, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Adventures of Milo and Otis on Blu-ray in January. Narrated by Dudley Moore (Arthur), this beloved children's film follows a cat named Milo and a dog named Otis as they trek through the Japanese wilderness. The ...
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