DVD Title
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
International Title
The Adventures of Chatran
DVD Length Original Length
75 Minutes 95 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Tristar 2004
Language Subtitles
English, Spanish English, Spanish, French
Region Number of Discs
1 1 (Double Sided)
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 (Anamorphic) & 1.33:1 2.0 Mono, 2.0 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (28)
. Trailers: The Adventures of Chatran (US)
. Talent & Filmographies (English, 2 in total)
. Message from the director, Masanori Hata (English, located in booklet)
Captures
Review

Tristar's double sided release of the US version of The Adventures of Chatran, dubbed The Adventures of Milo and Otis in the states, which is excellent in most regards, if one can get over the lack of the Japanese version. By all accounts, the video and audio presentations here are outstanding, while the disc does adequately in the extra department as well.


 Video:

Tristar has done an amazing job with this release, as the video excels in almost every department. For example, the colors on the widescreen version are really something to behold, as they are all very distinct. There is some slight discoloring, as the magenta level is set just a little too high, but it's a minuet complaint. The brightness level is another area where Tristar handled this transfer extraordinary well, as it's set at just the right level so all of the film's scenes are easily visible. Digital inconsistencies are unnoticeable on this release as well, with no pixilation or edge enhancement being apparent. The print used for the transfer is also in top notch shape, with only a very few scratches being present while most of the film contains almost no noticeable grain. The widescreen version is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.

As for the full screen (1.33:1) version, located on the other side, it looks fairly good. The only areas that it differs in quality compared to the widescreen side is the coloring, which is slightly more discolored with the magenta level being set even higher, and the shape of the print, which contains more grain.

Something that should be noted is that the video presentation on this DVD would have gotten a flawless score had it not been for the fact that the Japanese cut, which has 20 more minutes of footage, was missing.


 Audio:

The disc comes with two audio tracks, both of which are fairly good. The first is a English 2.0 surround track, and no, that's not a typo. According to the packaging this is a two channel surround track, which is actually possible although rarely used. Honestly though, the film really has nothing to test this aspect anyway, as there are only some small sound effects and a narration track played during the course of the film. Nothing that would give a surround set up a work out. For what's it's worth, there is some nice speaker distinction, at least on par with a good stereo track, while the dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear with no pops or crackles to be heard.

As for the other audio track, it's 2.0 mono track in Spanish. As expected with the mono format, there is no speaker distinction so it sounds flat. As for the quality of the track, it's good, as all of the dialogue is very audible, while there are no inconsistencies, like static, to be heard.

The disc is accompanied with three sets of, removable, subtitles for the two audio tracks, which include English, Spanish, and French.


 Extras: Star Rating

Unfortunately there isn't a great deal to mill over here, which is to be expected from any DVD that proudly touts that it has "Interactive Menus!" Still, it's far from a bar bones presentation either, while the best supplement here is the full screen version of the film on the other side of the disc. To this feature's credit, the special features, two audio tracks, and subtitles appear on both sides of the disc, so they haven't neglected those who might prefer one over the other. As for the other extras, the movie's US trailer is also present, which looks good with very little print damage and not many digital inconsistencies to be noticed, save some slight edge enhancement. The last feature on the disc, and one that almost isn't worth mentioning, is the Talent & Filmographies. There are only two of them included: one on Dudley Moore, the US version's narrator, and the other on Masanori Hata, the film's director. There is quite a bit on Moore here, but the bio for Hata is so limited it's almost insulting, as seen here.

The last feature on the DVD is one that isn't located on the disc itself, but inside the booklet. The supplement is a brief message from director Masanori Hata, which is about two pages long. Following his message are two pages with information regarding the film. The booklet also mentions the little known fact that famous director Kon Ichikawa, citing his exceptional work on the documentary Tokyo Olympiad (1965), also helped direct the production. To the booklet's credit, they don't shy away from the fact that the US version was heavily edited for its release, trimmed down to 75 minutes in length, although it's still disappointing not to see it included here, as it would have made a far better addition to stick on the other side of the DVD as opposed to the full screen version.


 Overview:

Bottom line, Tristar has an exceptional DVD on their hands that could have been near flawless if only a good print of the Japanese cut was included. Still, those looking for a cute film, something which isn't exactly common with most of Toho's produced and distributed movies, should find this a worthy addition to their collection.

- Anthony Romero  
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