We’re somewhere in medieval Europe, where a talking con-cat named Maurice, voiced by Hugh Laurie, is cashing in on the bubonic plague with the help of a pack of haunted rats and a goofy boy named Keith (Himesh Patel). .
After his rodent friends run noisily through a town, red-haired con man Maurice shows up offering to bring in the Pied Piper, for a hefty fee.
The jingle of gold coins is the signal for Keith to appear, playing the flute and wearing a hoodie. Then he strikingly leads the rats to a place where they can regroup and plan their next scam.
Everything is going pretty well until Maurice and his gang come unstuck in a town called Furry Bottom.
The voice cast is packed with British stars. David Thewlis plays a mysterious villain, Rob Brydon is the real Pied Piper, David Tennant and Gemma Arterton are funny rats, and Hugh Bonneville is a bumbling mayor.
Peter Serafinowicz has a brief cameo as Death, who appears whenever Maurice loses one of his nine lives.
In one of the film’s many wacky asides, he appears to a deceased rat with a specific rodent companion called The Grim Squeaker.
These jokes should keep adults watching. But I wonder what the younger children will think of all this.
Emilia Clarke voices both the story’s narrator and her fearless heroine, but she still breaks the fourth wall.
His comments on screenwriting clichés won’t charm many little ones.
- The Amazing Maurice, Cert PG, On NOW and Sky Cinema now
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