Is there a more endearing image in children's film than the sight of a pug nosed dog riding to the shore on the back of a sea turtle? Perhaps only that of a curious cat breakfasting with a litter of piglets. With descriptions such as these onewould expect (as I did before watching the film) an hour and fifteen minutes of "Adorable Animals" tableaux, like the tacky posters or 500 checks for one dollar with "Precocious Puppies" poses. But this film is much more. True, Milo and Otis is for the animal loving child, but it will make an animal lover out of the one who may not be.
Watching The Adventures of Milo and Otis is like watching a moving picture book:the narration is charming, and serves to humanize the animal main characters—who seem otherwise free and undirected—and gives the feeling that the viewer is being read to. Perhaps that bedtime story style is part of its appeal.
This film is an exploration of the journey archetype. Not only does the action follow an actual journey, but the theme highlights the journey from childhood into adulthood. It deals both with friendship and romantic love, the carefree flittings of youth and the joyful, yet difficult responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood. The film ends with hints of the cycle beginning all over again.Milo and Otis can be a didactic experience for any viewer, but it seems especially groomed for young children in its secure depiction of the growing process and family life.