Once again, Idolator intern Kate Richardson scours the video sites, looking for the best fan-made music videos. In this installment, she looks at videos honoring the greatest Dudley Moore-narrated film about a pug and a cat and their unlikely friendship:
Upon my assertion last week that Homeward Bound is the best live-action animal-themed kids’ movie, Maura turned to YouTube in search of tributes to her favorite film of this genre, The Adventures of Milo and Otis. She found nothing less than a treasure trove of truly inspired, stoner-approved masterpieces. But before we get started, I feel compelled to mention that some believe the filmmaker to be guilty of animal cruelty, and judging from the clips in some of these videos, it seems unfortunately likely. But this is a feature about aesthetics, not ethics or morality, so we’ll set that aside for now. Plus, one time my middle-aged house cat, who’d never once expressed an interest in the outdoors, ran out into the back yard and climbed all the way to the top of a huge pine tree. He was really freaked out and wouldn’t come down for a couple of hours, and I always took this as a sign that domesticated animals yearn for adventure at least sometimes. Not that they should be thrown from cliffs and made to fight bears, but still… perhaps it wasn’t all bad. At the very least, the sacrifices of these animals benefited humanity by looking awesome when synced up with freaky Icelandic music.
Song: “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum
Concept: Milo as missing child.
For whatever reason, this movie seems to have inspired mostly post-rock/experimental death metal aficionados, but, lo and behold, a single fan of Caucasian-dreadlocked rockers is holding it down for the verse-chorus-verse side. And it’s not bad, really. The song is sort of cutely appropriate for this tale of friendship in times of trial, and despite the vague unnaturalness of pairing a maudlin early-’90s track with a timeless children’s movie, the road-weary, faintly sentimental tone of the video is just about right. The staid editing could definitely be a lot more engaging, but I guess “Runaway Train” isn’t exactly the kind of toe-tapper that inspires quick cuts and fancy transition effects.
Best music-to-image sync-up moment: The epic slo-mo sequence starting at 2:53. Milo and Otis running in a field during the dramatic “Like a mad man laughin’ at the rain” verse.
Silliest music-to-image sync-up moment: This is subtly silly, and also kind of distressing, but the sequence where Milo floats down a river in a box and Otis bravely attempts to fight a black bear (starting at about 1:12) is synced up with the lyrics “Can you help me remember how to smile/Make it somehow all seem worthwhile/How on earth did I get so jaded?/Life’s mystery seems so faded/I can go where no one else can go/I know what no one else knows/Here I am just drownin’ in the rain/With a ticket for a runaway train.” So much in these lyrics seems weirdly applicable to Milo and Otis’ situation: Milo needs Otis to help him remember how to smile because he’s been in a box rapidly approaching a waterfall while being harassed by a bear for so long, and he’s not even sure it’s worth his while. He got so jaded because of shit like this in-a-box-on-the-river scenario, not to mention the seagull attack. As for Otis, he can go where no other pug can go: into a river to save a cat. And he definitely knows what no other pug knows: how to throw a right hook at an enormous bear. Finally, he’s got this ticket to the runaway train that is Milo. Makes perfect sense.
Song: “Hoppípolla” by Sigur Rós
Concept: Milo and Otis as extraterrestrial facsimiles of a cat and a dog sent to this planet for the express purpose of visually interpreting Sigur Rós.
This is part two in a four-part series that tells the story of Milo and Otis through the music of Sigur Rós, much to the delight of high people everywhere. Part one is actually my favorite, but this one is a bit shorter and less abstract, and therefore easier to write about. It seems as if most of the clips are presented directly as it appears in the movie, instead of being edited together like a clip reel, which would usually indicate a lack of ambition and creativity; in this case, it simply goes to show that whoever made this has a keen sense of what kinds of visuals work best with Sigur Rós. This isn’t even the most compelling video in the series, and it’s still more riveting than almost anything else on YouTube. The inherent profundity of nature photography seems to be the inadvertent theme, so it’s no surprise that the basic scenery works for this song, but the animal drama is also key. Milo’s rapid approach to the waterfall is punctuated perfectly by the building drum beat, and Otis’ feeble attempts to fight off the bear are made even more heartbreaking by the soaring chorus of violins. The whole thing is almost suspiciously perfect.
Best music-to-image sync-up moment: At 3:17, a long shot of Otis running through the woods to save Milo. Epic!
Silliest music-to-image sync-up moment: None.
Verdict: In almost any other match-up the Soul Asylum video might be a strong candidate, but this week’s tour de force Sigur Rós series definitely takes the prize, and should be shown at midnight movie screenings across the world starting immediately.
Honorable mention: Here’s another strong effort in the more experimental vein of Milo and Otis tributes, set to Opeth’s “To Bid You Farewell”:
Announcements: Don’t forget, I’m still accepting entries for the “Kiss Me” video contest! You know you’re just dying to edit together some clips from Quantum Leap–or something equally bizarre!–to that song. Also, my friend and favorite music video director, Adena Rice, and I have started a blog about movie trailers. It’s similar to this feature, but with fewer scary YouTube people.