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The Amazing Maurice (PG)

Cast: Gemma Arterton, Emilia Clarke, Hugh Laurie, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel
Genre: Family
Author(s): Terry Rossio, Robert Chandler, Toby Genkel
Director: Florian Westermann, Toby Genkel
Release Date: 16/12/2022 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 93mins
Country: UK/Ger/US
Year: 2022

A platoon of talking rats infests an unsuspecting town then pretends to be enslaved to music played by Keith on his pipe. Relieved residents happily dip into their pockets and pay Keith's accomplice, confidence trickster cat Maurice, glad to be rid of the threat of plague. The tricksters enter a town in the grip of a devastating famine and join forces with bookworm Malicia, daughter of the beleaguered Mayor, to solve the perplexing mystery of the missing food.


LondonNet Film Review

The Amazing Maurice (PG) Film Review from LondonNet

Two of nature’s sworn enemies – the cat and the rat – become willing accomplices in low-level crime in a computer-animated adventure based on Terry Pratchett’s book The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents. Directed by Toby Genkel and co-directed by Florian Westermann, The Amazing Maurice merrily exploits storytelling convention to spin an entertaining yarn that preaches self-empowerment using a tongue-in-cheek framing device. “It’s a story that wraps around the main story like a warm blanket around a baby,” handily explains the female narrator…

A potentially upsetting rat-coursing sequence is punctuated with comic book violence and the blood-crazed humans who wager money on a dog mauling vermin are shown on screen to suffer the bruising consequences of a callous disregard for precious life. Pratchett’s humour is woven into Terry Rossio’s gently paced script like when the title character asserts that deception is hard-wired into the human condition. “They are so keen on tricking each other they elect governments to do it for them,” he quips. Hugh Laurie’s vocals as the feline confidence trickster slink appealingly between smug and sympathetic, complementing detailed visuals and energetic supporting performances, notably Emilia Clarke as a loner who believes fantastical tales from her bookshelf can spill into everyday life.

A platoon of rats, who magically developed the ability to talk after foraging the rubbish of wizards from the Unseen University of Ankh-Morpork, join forces with con-cat Maurice (Laurie) and orphaned boy Keith (Himesh Patel) to make money from humankind’s hatred of vermin. The rodents infest an unsuspecting town then pretend to be enslaved to music played by Keith on his pipe. Relieved residents happily dip into their pockets, glad to be rid of the threat of plague.

The rats believe they are raising money for boats to transport them to an island paradise described in their literary bible, the children’s picture book Mr Bunnsy Has An Adventure. In truth, the ill-gotten gains are a nest egg for Maurice’s retirement. The tricksters breach a town in the grip of a devastating famine and join forces with bookworm Malicia (Clarke), daughter of the beleaguered Mayor (Hugh Bonneville), to solve the perplexing mystery of the missing food. A secret mission to infiltrate The Ratcatchers’ Guild uncovers tantalising clues that lead to a shadowy Boss Man (David Thewlis) and the bona fide Pied Piper (Rob Brydon).

The Amazing Maurice doesn’t quite live up to the superlative of its title but this gently effervescent caper will feed families hungry for entertainment over the festive season. With a 93-minute running time, narrative fat has been neatly trimmed along with some deeper characterisation of peripheral players beyond obvious quirks. The cat is out of the bag: Genkel and Westermann’s picture is a fine pedigree.

– Sarah Lee


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