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‘The Adventures of Milo and Otis’ (G)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 16, 1990

They don't come any cuter than "The Adventures of Milo and Otis," a heartwarming, tail-thumping story about a curious kitten and his pug-nosed puppy pal. It's totally awwwwww-some.

Enthusiastically narrated by Dudley Moore, this cuddlesome take on Old MacDonald's place follows the best buddies from their bucolic barnyard home to the scary forests adjoining the farm. Already a box office hit in Japan, the live-action film features an all-animal cast under the direction of Japanese author and zoologist Masanori Hata, who urged his stars to act instinctively. All 30 Otises and Milos practice the Stanipawsky method.

Less a nature story than an anthropomorphic fairy tale, this charming work teaches loyalty to friends, devotion to family and tolerance among peoples -- be they dogs and cats or foxes and hens. Natural enemies live in magical harmony and the laws of eat-or-be-eaten do not necessarily apply. So it seems quite fine for Japanese cranes to soar to the strains of "Appalachian Spring," for a giant sea turtle to rescue a small dog from the rising tides.

Emmy-winning writer Mark Saltzman of "Sesame Street" fame takes a sassy approach to his adaptation of Hata's furfetched children's story. There's enough tongue-in-cheep-cheep to keep adults entertained while the toddlers lean forward in their seats. Another American, Grammy winner Michael Boddicker of "Flashdance" and "Buckaroo Banzai," composed the rustic pop score. The Americans and the Japanese follow the fine example of Milo and Otis. They get along like cats and dogs.

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