Maurice (Hugh Laurie) is a witty, cheeky street cat. When rats invade areas of the many towns in Discworld, only Maurice and his piper-playing friend, Keith (Himesh Patel), can safely remove them- for a high price, of course. However, we soon learn that the rats are, in fact, Maurice’s close friends, working with him in a sneaky scam to make money. Maurice and his crew are scamming to earn money so they can travel to a paradisical island, which Maurice once read about in a storybook. This island paradise is rumoured to be a peaceful place where animals and humans get along- where there are no rat traps in sight, and no harm will ever come to them.
Maurice claims that he has once been there and that to get there again with his crew of rats, he’ll need a large boat which will cost lots of money. But soon, their plan is interrupted when a mysterious rat catcher, Boss Man (David Thewlis), starts to cause havoc and chaos by carrying out a personal mission to remove all rats permanently. Now, it’s up to Maurice to discover who this mysterious villain is. Thankfully, Maurice won’t be going on this adventure alone, and the group will do everything they can to protect one another while trying to find the villain’s weakness.
The Amazing Maurice is an animation feature aimed at a younger audience with a few frightening scenes surrounding the villain. There’s a great atmosphere here, especially for those who enjoy fairy tales and storytelling. The story is narrated by a character named Melicia (Emilia Clarke), who joins Maurice’s adventure early in the film. I love that the film begins with a playful introduction and many mysteries, including how Maurice is the only cat who can speak. Is this paradise that Maurice says of real, and more importantly, who is the mysteriously dark villain who has suddenly appeared and wishes to dispose of rats forever?
The story’s reception is going to vary among audiences. While some moments will delight a young audience, I fear some of the plot and story may come across as slightly complex. Nevertheless, the comedy, fantasy and general charm will keep the eyes of young ones hooked. Watching Maurice claim that cats always land on their feet only to find later that he lands headfirst or Melicia having fun breaking the fourth wall and interacting with its cinema audiences is fun.
The musical score by Tom Howe is playful and uplifting, not to mention highly fitting for a fairy-tale-like animation such as this. The animation has questionable moments, but many characters, such as Maurice, the rats and even Boss Man, are visually highly pleasing. The voice work is excellent, including Hugh Laurie as Maurice himself.
Overall, those who enjoy animated features with a fairy tale aspect and touches of fantasy will enjoy what this film offers. The comedy is enlightening for young audiences; visually, the leads look great, and the soundtrack is fun and uplifting. Voice casting here is excellent, with Hugh Laurie as Maurice and David Thewlis as Boss Man shining here. Emilia Clarke is lively and charming as well. My primary concern with this film is its storyline, which sometimes gets carried away with subplots. The main storyline can be fast-paced, too and may come across as complex and challenging to understand for a younger audience, and they may need help to remain focused and engaged. Either way, just like a kitty cat, I can’t deny it’s still a playful film, no matter what you take away from it. The Amazing Maurice (2022) is Available in Cinemas from January 12th.