A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain rather than educate, though children may learn about story devices and be encouraged to read the book having watched the film.
Friendship is important and you should always be there to help friends in need. You can discover your superpower by having confidence in your abilities. With intelligence and awareness comes the need for a conscience. An apology can go a long way. Take charge of your own story. An ideal world has species living happily together.
Positive Role Models
Maurice, Keith, and the rats work together to trick people and scam them out of their money. Maurice lies to manipulate the rats and is greedy at times, being tempted on a few occasions to leave with their takings. He often behaves selfishly, though does risk himself for others and gradually shows that he cares and being loved makes him happy too. Keith has low self-confidence at the start and tends to follow others, but gradually discovers his own talents and power. Malicia is clever and thirsty for knowledge, solving problems and throwing herself into situations, but is stuck in her own world and can be impatient and thoughtless toward others. She gradually accepts unpredictability and the value of individuality, even when people don't fit with her expectations.
Many characters are animals, though there is ethnic diversity among the human characters, with one of the leads, Keith, having brown skin and voiced by Himesh Patel, a British Asian actor of Indian descent. Female character Malicia is clever, reads a lot, and is brave, adventurous, and good at problem solving, though at one point is told she talks too much. A passing comment reinforces traditional gender roles: "If I don't hear ladies screaming and running out of their kitchens ..." A male character is told he's not handsome enough for a love interest, which could support unhealthy looks-oriented stereotypes and expectations.
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Violence & Scariness
A character is feared dead, others are hit by objects, fall from heights, are scratched in the face with claws, captured in cages and sacks, tied up, get a foot stuck in a rat trap, burn their backside in a fire, are nearly hit with a chef's knife, and seen with a black eye. Mention of rats being tortured, trapped, and poisoned by humans. Rats are thrown into a pit with dogs set to kill them as spectators place bets. Some (non-major characters) are killed off-screen. The character of Death appears with a scythe. Animal skeletons are shown. A rat king is frightening and threatening, with magical powers and glowing eyes. Mention of The Pied Piper luring children into woods. Though death of parents isn't mentioned, a character is referred to as an orphan.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kiss on the lips and on the cheek. Passing mention of love interest in the story.
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Some name-calling, such as a character being referred to as "useless" and "too ugly to be a love interest." Otherwise language is very tame and aimed at younger viewers, such as "widdle."
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Products & Purchases
The central group of characters initially try to con others out of money. Passing mention of tourist town selling useless merchandise. A scene involves characters gambling.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character smokes a pipe and another drinks wine, though only briefly on-screen. Others are tricked into taking a large amount of laxatives.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.