Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Amazing Maurice - Everything You Need To Know

The year 2023 looks to be a big one for featured animation. From Pixar's "Elemental" to Illumination's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" to the next visit "Across the Spider-Verse," there's a lot to look forward to with regards to awe-inspiring works of animated magic. Along with major studio productions, smaller releases also deserve just as much attention, one of them being "The Amazing Maurice." 

The film is based on the 2001 novel, "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents," by late British author Terry Pratchett, the 28th installment in Pratchett's satirical fantasy series "Discworld" and also the first of the series geared to children. The book remains amongst Pratchett's most acclaimed work, even winning the accomplished author his first major literary award, the Carnegie Medal. One of the award's judges, Karen Usher, would even say of Pratchett's novel, "This is an outstanding work of literary excellence – a brilliant twist on the tale of the Pied Piper that is funny and irreverent, but also dark and subversive" (via The Guardian).

In 2019, production on an animated feature adaptation of "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" began (via Animation World Network), and while it may not have received the pre-release attention as films by the likes of Disney, Sony, or DreamWorks, there's plenty to enjoy. Here's a look into the nitty gritty of the kitties (and rats) of "The Amazing Maurice," released in Europe in late 2022 and in North American movie theaters on February 3, 2022.

What is the plot of The Amazing Maurice?

A cinematic take on Terry Pratchett's children's novel, "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents," the 2023 film "The Amazing Maurice" is a riff on the old folk tale, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" folk tale. In that story, a piper uses his magical instrument to lure rats out of a town, and when the citizens refuse to pay him, he leads their children away. In this animal-oriented tale, Maurice, a daffy and street-smart cat, hatches a scheme wherein he recruits a not very intelligent kid named Keith to play a pipe and lure out a town's rats — who are all in on the same from the beginning. Apart from that, Maurice, the rats, and Keith, head into Bad Blintz, meet book-obsessed Malicia, and try to help her solve a mystery. 

The film's plot closely matches that of the book (via GoodReads); however, it appears to have a lighter and comical direction than Terry Pratchett's original text.

Who starred in The Amazing Maurice?

Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie, a major figure in 20th century British humor, just like Terry Pratchett, stars as the titular character in "The Amazing Maurice." Likely best known to audiences as the leading man on Fox's "House," Laurie has done a fair amount of voice acting, includes roles "Arthur Christmas," "Hop," and, most notably, DreamWorks' "Monsters vs. Aliens" franchise as the voice of Dr. Cockroach. Starring alongside him is a star-studded assortment of major British actors of the era. "Game of Thrones" breakout Emilia Clarke plays Malicia, "Station Eleven" star Himesh Patel plays Keith, David Thewlis ("Fargo") portrays Boss Man, and Hugh Bonneville ("Downton Abbey" co-stars as The Mayor (via Variety). 

David Tennant was added to the cast in May 2021 as the character Dangerous Beans. Tennant is best known as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC series "Doctor Who," but has previously starred in another Terry Pratchett film adaptation, 2019's "Good Omens" produced by Amazon Studios. Rounding out the cast is Joe Sugg as Sardines, Rob Brydon as the Pied Piper, and Julie Atherton as Nourishing (via Deadline).

Who directed The Amazing Maurice?

Rendering the detailed world created by Terry Pratchett into dazzling, computer-generated animation required the talents and leadership of two directors. Helming "The Amazing Maurice" were animation industry veterans Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann. Genkel has filled a number of roles on animated projects going back to the '90s, including background artist, layout supervisor, and co-director, moving up to the biggest job in the studio in 2007 with "Two Times Lotte." Genkel also directed lower-budget European productions "All Creatures Big and Small," "Little Bird's Big Adventure," and "The Ogglies." Westermann, meanwhile, made his co-directing debut with "The Amazing Maurice," after collaboration with Genkel on previous films as an art director and also working as a visual effects specialist on live-action films including "After Earth" and "Only Lovers Left Alive."

"The Amazing Maurice" is an adaptation of a novel, and the majority of the work there came from Terry Rossio, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for "Shrek." Rossio also wrote the recent "The Lone Ranger" film, Disney's 1992 "Aladdin" film, and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

How are critics and audiences responding to The Amazing Maurice?

As far as audiences are concerned, the moviegoing masses tend to register their approval with their wallets, and by virtue of not going to see "The Amazing Maurice" on its opening weekend, the public made its feelings known. The animated feature earned a paltry take of just over $1 million in its opening weekend. The film apparently didn't play widely enough to earn a letter grade rating from viewer-tracking service, CinemaScore.

However, those that did actually get out to see "The Amazing Maurice" thought it was a little bit better than okay. Less than 50 viewers bothered to rate it on Rotten Tomatoes, giving "The Amazing Maurice" an audience score of 64%. Professional film critics were far more kind, however. On the review aggregation site, "The Amazing Maurice" scored a robust 76%, with Variety calling the film "charming" and the Austin Chronicle finding it "entertaining."

How did The Amazing Maurice do at the box office?

The box office take of "The Amazing Maurice" was far from amazing. In its first weekend of theatrical release in North America in February 2023, "The Amazing Maurice" earned about $1.043 million. It entered a crowded marketplace, where fellow new entries like the star-studded sports comedy "80 for Brady" and M. Night Shyamalan horror film "Knock at the Cabin" dominated the box office, followed closely by enduring business for smash hit sequels "Avatar: The Way of Water" and "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish," the most direct competition for "The Amazing Maurice" in that its an irreverent, family friendly CGI-animated film featuring a cast of familiar celebrity voices.

Theatrically released films usually perform their best, financially speaking, during their opening weekend, so it doesn't look like "The Amazing Maurice" is on track to eke out anything more than a few hundred thousand dollars more in North America. Worldwide, the animated movie underperformed, too, earning about $5.8 million in other territories prior to its debut in the U.S. and Canada. With a sizable production budget of $17 million (according to IMDb) and a lackluster haul, "The Amazing Maurice" unfortunately fits the definition of a box office bomb.