The Amazing Maurice
Fun Pratchett adaptation has mature themes, scary scenes.
The Amazing Maurice
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Amazing Maurice is a fun, fast-paced animated tale based on a book by Terry Pratchett. It touches on adult themes but remains warm and entertaining throughout. Main character Maurice (voiced by Hugh Laurie) is a streetwise cat who works with talking rats and a flute-playing human, Keith (Himesh Patel), to trick towns into paying them to solve a non-existent rat problem. While the characters lie and manipulate others, they show strong dedication to one another and value the importance of friendship. Expect a few scary scenes, including the presumed death of a character, a threatening rat king with magic powers and glowing eyes, and rats being thrown into a pit to be killed by dogs -- accompanied by betting among spectators. There's some diversity among the human characters: Keith has darker skin and is voiced by an actor of South Asian descent, while female character Malicia (Emilia Clarke) is portrayed as clever, brave, and good at problem-solving. Short scenes show characters smoking a pipe and drinking red wine, and there's a kiss on the lips toward the end.
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What's the Story?
THE AMAZING MAURICE is a streetwise cat (voiced by Hugh Laurie) who with a gang of talking rats and his friend Keith (Himesh Patel) stage fake exterminations and trick local towns out of their money. But when they reach a place where the rats have all disappeared, along with all the town's food, they must team up with the mayor's daughter, Malicia (Emilia Clarke), to solve the mystery and save the day.
Is It Any Good?
While page-to-screen adaptations of Terry Pratchett's work have been mixed at best, this fun-packed animation captures the magic that appeals on multiple levels to kids and adults alike. The Amazing Maurice offers a touch of social commentary along with warm, funny characters and rollicking adventure. The film has fun with the book's familiar element of breaking the fourth wall, incorporating the narrator into the story. It's a knowing wink for adults and older kids, and a fun way for younger viewers to learn about techniques like framing devices and foreshadowing, making everyone feel in on the joke.
The list of A-List talent behind the animated characters is noteworthy, with Laurie ideally cast as the sarcastic, streetwise Maurice, Clarke as plucky young heroine Malicia, and Patel as the sensitive Keith, coming into his own through the demands of adventure. Elsewhere Gemma Arterton, David Thewlis, Rob Brydon, David Tennant, and Hugh Bonneville add to an impressive talent pool that really brings the characters to life. The story is well-paced and there are plenty of hair-raising moments. But rats being thrown into a pit to be torn apart by dogs while spectators bet on the results is a little dark for younger children. That said, Pratchett never shied away from holding a mirror up to the sides of society we'd rather look away from, and that's part of the appeal and what makes him stand out in a sea of more generic fantasy fare.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the moments of peril in The Amazing Maurice. Did you find any scenes scary? Did you feel scared after the movie had finished? How much scary stuff can kids handle?
Discuss the themes of friendship and teamwork in the film. How were they shown to be important? Can you think of a time when you were there for a friend in need or when you worked with others to achieve a goal?
The film suggests Maurice thought differently about rats when he was given the intelligence to understand more. Have you ever changed your mind about an issue, person, or group of people, based on learning more about them?
How did the film bring attention to storytelling devices and plot elements through Malicia's narration and obsession with reading books? What did you learn about the kinds of things usually present in adventure stories and fairytales, and have you noticed any of them in other films?
- In theaters: February 3, 2023
- Cast: Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, Himesh Patel
- Directors: Toby Genkel, Florian Westermann
- Studios: Viva Pictures, Sky Cinema
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action/peril and some rude material
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 22, 2023
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