So I was on Youtube this morning getting all nostalgic watching clips from animal adventure film The Adventures of Milo and Otis. It was released back in 1986 and was originally a Japanese film by a different name which I can’t remember!
It brings back a lot of memories, it was the one film I watched over and over again when I was a toddler, and I used to watch it regularly with my Grandad who passed away when I was only 2. It’s just one of those films that immediately makes me think of my childhood.
I haven’t seen it for a long time, I don’t even have a copy of it any more because we had it on video back in the day, but I found a few clips on Youtube this morning, and unfortunately stumbled on comments blasting the film for animal cruelty.
I always take Youtube comments and the commenters with a pinch of salt, but it appears they might not be too far from the truth!
Articles about the animal cruelty allegations are, it turns out, all over the internet. I’ve not seen the film in its entirety for a long time and can’t really remember all of it, so I can only go by the descriptions of the scenes given, but here’s a run down of the scenes accused of being cruel:
*A mother cat and her kittens are exposed to a large snake. The mother cat and the snake fight, the snake strikes out at the mother cat. The film-makers cut away.
*A dog and an angry bear are pitted against each other. The dog puts up a valiant fight, but is clearly out of its league. The bear wacks, throttles and crushes the dog. The film-makers cut away.
*A kitten is seen limping through the wilderness with an apparently broken paw.
*A kitten is placed on the back of a large packhorse and is dangerously buffeted as it clings on for dear life, its tail sticking straight up in alarm.
*A kitten or cat is placed on a cliff in the middle of a large pack of aggressive nesting seagulls, who mercilessly attack it from all sides. The film-makers cut away.
*A kitten or cat is thrown from a 50metre+ cliff into the ocean. This cat does his utmost to survive; he hits the turbulent water and immediately starts swimming for dear life. He makes it to the rocks where the cliff meets the sea and starts climbing back up the perilous cliff. Halfway up, he slips and falls back into the ocean. The film-makers cut away. It is clearly another soaking-wet cat who we see safely on the beach in the next scene. Gee I wonder what happened to the first cat? (With absolutely no supporting evidence, and with zero credibility, defenders of the film suggest a Star-Wars-style blue-screen special effect was used here. This is so improbable, I almost didn’t want to mention it, except that it shows the extremes of passionate denial in which the film’s defenders are prepared to indulge.)
* The cat and dog are chased by angry cows in a field. The dog seems to go under the cows’ hooves. The film-makers cut away.
* A crab and a kitten are pitted against each other. The crab’s pincers fasten onto the cat’s lip and nose, viciously.
* A cat is sent down the rapids of a raging river in a flimsy little box while Dudley Moore drunkenly jabbers, “Oh dear me! Oh my! Goodness!” The cat is terrified. The box goes over a small-to-medium waterfall, with the cat inside. This cat seems to have survived this part of its ordeal, in a great deal of vocal stress. The box continues down the river. The film-makers cut away.
So that’s essentially just ruined my childhood! I wrote an article on here a while back about animal cruelty in films, and although a lot of the worst cases involve animals being slaughtered or injured while Milo and Otis is mainly full of animals being put in dangerous situations for the sake of entertainment, it’s still cruel.
One of the articles I read claimed it to be a ‘kitten’ snuff film, but I’m yet to find evidence of the number of kittens actually killed, if any.
I know this point may seem controversial…but it was filmed in Japan. It’s still no excuse for animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment of course, but it’s less surprising than it would be if it were filmed in the UK or US.
For instance, I stumbled upon this video a while ago while I was searching for cute baby bears on Youtube (I spend a lot of time watching cute animals!) I don’t know much about it, but as far as I know this is a Japanese TV show, but the video itself was shot in a Korean zoo. But still, it kind of sums up my point about animal cruelty for entertainment:
Putting animals in threatening situations is cruelty, whatever way you look at it. They may not be harmed physically by the ordeal but in that moment they’re scared, probably for their lives. Different cultures have different values, perhaps the people of Japan find enjoyment in making animals scared? I couldn’t possibly say. But the allegations are difficult to ignore, and although I’d have to watch the film again to see for myself, it’s not looking good!
I’ve always been an animal lover, ever since I was tiny and I avoid films that are known to contain animal abuse simply because I’d feel wrong watching it…especially if I paid for it! It’s a bit upsetting to find that a film I loved as a child and watched religiously was so cruel…there’s even speculation that animals died in the making of it. Perhaps I’ll avoid buying a DVD copy, which I’d been tempted to do because I used to love it so much!
I can’t be a hundred percent sure whether these allegations are correct, so I’ll let you make up your own mind!