“The Amazing Maurice”

Based on the 2001 book “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” by Terry Pratchett, “The Amazing Maurice” is one of the strangest animated films I’ve seen. With an oddly dark, macabre, and smug tone, this story of a streetwise ginger cat (voice of Hugh Laurie) who comes up with a moneymaking scam along with an army of talking rats is an eccentric and slightly off-putting adaptation of the classic Pied Piper story.

There are moments of clever fun in this mash-up of well-known fairy tales, and the animation is acceptable but not up to the highest of standards. The voice talent is just plain weird, and some of the actors don’t fit their characters well (the cast includes Emilia Clarke, Hugh Bonneville, Gemma Arterton, and Himesh Patel). Note that there are some scary characters (the Rat King is legitimately menacing) and scenes that may frighten some of the youngest viewers.

While this is a film for kids, the lively, fast-paced action, swift storytelling, and flippant jokes for grown ups (including lots of nudge-and-a-wink bits like breaking the fourth wall) should be just enough to keep adults engaged, too.

By: Louisa Moore

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