The Amazing Maurice Review: Emilia Clarke & Himesh Patel Shine In Fun Animation
Many current animations look the same & The Amazing Maurice is no different. But what it lacks in technical imagination it makes up for elsewhere.
The Amazing Maurice has more bite than its feline star might indicate. Terry Rossio adapted the animation from Terry Pratchett’s book, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, with Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann directing this children’s tale that is quite the romp. Many films from this current era of animation look the same and the animation in The Amazing Maurice is no different. However, what it lacks in technical imagination it makes up for with an all-star cast and a fun story. With a witty take on a classic tale, The Amazing Maurice has a little something for everyone.
Maurice (Hugh Laurie) is a talking, hustling cat and his partner in crime is a piper by the name of Keith (Himesh Patel). Together with their band of rats, they go from town to town scamming the residents into thinking they have a rat infestation and the only solution is Keith and Maurice. When the gang arrives at a town devoid of both rats and food, they are pulled into discovering what happened by the rambunctious Malicia (Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke). To everyone’s dismay, the dreaded Rat King (David Thewlis) has made the town his home, and it’s up to them to stop him.
The comedy in The Amazing Maurice works for all ages. Some lines are raunchier than others, but there is a broad spectrum of jokes told throughout the film. Evildoers are given poison and then told where the antidote is, but the poison and the antidote are simply laxatives. Even the poop jokes in The Amazing Maurice have another layer to them. Death plays a huge role in the film. Both human and rat lives are at risk in the film’s climax, and the camera pans back from the battle to reveal the grim reaper asking his much smaller counterpart, the rat-grim reaper, “Busy day?” However, the most outrageous joke in the film is when Clarke recounts the tale of the real pied piper, who is an outright psychopath. From leather suits to inebriated rats, The Amazing Maurice pulls no punches.
The cast is the energy that keeps the story entertaining. There is a case that Hollywood has become obsessed with using celebrities instead of voice actors and, as a result, there have been bigger animated movies, not better ones. In the case of The Amazing Maurice, the actors are just famous enough that audiences won’t be distracted by them, but also good enough at the job that they can bring life to this animated story. Patel is very charming and has good chemistry with Clarke. Laurie (best known for the TV series House) gets the most screen time and uses it to prance about and deliver exposition as only he can. Thewlis is as convincing as ever and brings a true sense of terror to the villainous Rat King. Everyone in The Amazing Maurice is sinking their teeth into the material without it ever feeling forced or cartoonish.
The Amazing Maurice has a lot to offer audiences. If one can sympathize with the rats in Ratatouille, it’s easy to be on board with the premise of the film; everything else will follow. The humor is capable of making just about anyone laugh and no joke is too far in either direction to make it confusing in terms of tone. The cast is spectacular and having a great time in the world of animation. Genkel and Rossio have done enough justice to the work of Terry Pratchett, and The Amazing Maurice works on its own and as an adaptation.
The Amazing Maurice is in theaters and on demand February 3rd. The film is rated PG for action/peril and some rude material.
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