The Amazing Maurice: A Review of the Animated Adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Novel

The Amazing Maurice: A Review of the Animated Adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Novel

Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a fantasy novel that tells the story of a talking cat and a group of intelligent rats who scam unsuspecting towns by staging a fake plague and then offering to get rid of it. The novel, which won the Carnegie Medal in 2001, is a witty and satirical take on the Pied Piper legend and explores themes such as morality, identity, and free will.

In 2021, the novel was adapted into an animated film by Ulysses Filmproduktion and Cantilever Media, with the voice talents of Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, and Gemma Arterton. The film, which premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and was released on Sky Cinema in the UK, is a faithful and charming adaptation that captures the spirit and humor of Pratchett’s original work.

The animation style is colorful and expressive, with detailed backgrounds and character designs that reflect the diverse personalities of the rats. The voice acting is superb, with Laurie delivering a perfect performance as the cynical and charismatic Maurice, Clarke bringing warmth and courage to the role of Malicia, a girl who believes she lives in a fairy tale, and Thewlis adding depth and nuance to the character of Darktan, the leader of the rat clan. The film also features an original score by James Seymour Brett that complements the tone and mood of the story.

The film does not shy away from the darker and more serious aspects of the novel, such as the violence and cruelty that the rats face from humans and other animals, the existential crisis that they undergo when they discover their origins, and the moral dilemma that they face when they encounter another town that is not what it seems. The film also manages to balance these elements with humor and wit, such as the hilarious interactions between Maurice and his sidekick Dangerous Beans, a blind rat who is obsessed with reading books, or the clever references to other works by Pratchett and other authors.

The Amazing Maurice is a delightful and engaging film that will appeal to fans of Pratchett’s novel as well as newcomers to his Discworld universe. It is a tribute to his legacy as one of the most beloved and influential fantasy writers of all time.

The film also features some changes and additions to the novel that enhance the story and make it more suitable for a modern audience. For example, the film gives more prominence and agency to the female characters, such as Malicia, who is more involved in the plot and has a stronger bond with Maurice, and Peaches, a rat who is the voice of reason and compassion among the clan. The film also introduces a new character, Sardines, a streetwise mouse who acts as a guide and ally to the rats. The film also updates some of the references and jokes to make them more relevant and accessible to today’s viewers.

One of the most impressive aspects of the film is how it honors Pratchett’s vision and message, while also adding its own creative touch. The film is not only a faithful adaptation, but also a tribute to Pratchett’s life and work. The film ends with a dedication to Pratchett, who passed away in 2015, and a quote from him that sums up the essence of his writing: “The thing about fantasy is that it’s not fantasy. It’s about reality.”

The Amazing Maurice is a film that will make you laugh, cry, think, and feel. It is a film that celebrates the power of imagination, the value of friendship, and the importance of being yourself. It is a film that deserves to be seen by everyone.

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