Saturday, April 4, 2009

Running Free -- The New Milo and Otis

Animal movies have always been a small but significant sector of the overall movie market. The pinnacle of animal movies has always been The Adventures of Milo and Otis. Released in 1986 in Japan and 1989 in the U.S., it has shaped the culture of the 3 to 5 year old market as no other picture. Move over Milo and give way Otis, we have another contender for the cutesy animal picture of the 21st Century. Not only does the movie have all the animal credentials, it also has ties to politics, minorities, ecology and overwhelming sentimentality. Running Free is truly the Milo and Otis of the Century.

When was the last time you went to a movie that was narrated in the first person by a horse? Can't remember one? When was the last time you saw a movie that was narrated in the first person by any animal? When was the last time you saw a G Rated movie? Even though this movie is dripping with maudlin dialogue, the scenery, shot on location in Africa is spectacular and the horses are beautiful and impressive. When was the last time you saw a movie starring an African Bushman? The Gods Must Be Crazy I and II?

This movie is actually based on an historical event, horses let loose by the Germans when the evacuated German South West Africa at the start of World War I. Those same horses are still alive today in the middle of the Namib Desert. The horses even have their own international organization to preserve them and they have their own resorts. They presently live in the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park.

While watching the movie we asked ourselves about six times whether we should stop or just fast forward. Since I don't have the attention span of a 3 year old, I chose to fast forward through some of the scenes (too intense for adults).

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