The Amazing Maurice is an animated film based on the book The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchet. It is 3D animated with the occasional 2D animation, and with a cast of talking animals, it is set in the fairy tale world of the Pied Piper.
The movie has an interesting way of telling its story with the occasional cut to 4th wall breaking scenes of a girl named Malicia in a library giving narration and deconstructing the plot.
Hugh Laurie voices the titular character Maurice, a talking cat that goes around fooling townspeople into paying for the removal of rat plagues from their town. However, the rats and the ‘Pied Piper‘ that lead them away each time, are all in cahoots with Maurice’s hustle.
The rats wish they could make money without lying to people. But Maurice always urges them to continue. Due to animation stereotypes surrounding cats, you may almost think he is the villain of the story. Perhaps even Maurice himself believes these tropes and feels that he can be nothing more than a coward and a shady character. Although, it is refreshing to see some really good character development throughout the film for Maurice as he grows closer to his friends while they uncover the source of a famine in the new town they have stumbled upon.
The visual designs of the characters are wonderful. Maurice is round and fluffy, the kind of cat you really want to reach out and pet, but he also has that big cheeky Cheshire Cat style grin that makes you think he might be up to mischief. Each of the rats have their own unique shapes and outfits, so you can easily tell them apart. Funnily enough, one of the rat catchers reminded me of the mayor from the Nightmare Before Christmas, with a similar silhouette design of a round body and long pointed hat.
The way each of the characters move is fluid and well animated. There’s a bouncy and fun way that each of the heroes move, especially the animals. While in contrast, the villains such as The Rat King are larger and taller, making them feel more foreboding when they simply stand in a scene towering over the smaller animals. When they come across the real Pied Piper, his long spindly legs and odd way of moving makes him like a spider and gives off a creepy vibe.
The voice acting is well done and each of the characters have really been brought to life with great performances from all the cast. It’s interesting to note that David Tennant who plays Dangerous Beans, has also voiced him before in a radio adaption of The Amazing Maurice.
The Amazing Maurice is both funny and heartfelt, I definitely had a great time watching it. The self-awareness of plot tropes from the characters who are within a fairytale setting definitely gives an interesting take on an otherwise familiar setting for an animated film. I think that both adults and kids will enjoy this movie and I give it my seal of approval!