The Prodigious Maurice, the review of the animated film by Terry Pratchett

An Anglo-German co-production adapts “The prodigious Maurice and his ingenious rodents” by Terry Pratchett into a rather entertaining and successful animated film, available for streaming. Here is our review.

When i mice infest a village, the talking cat Mauricein the company of Pied Piper Keith, intervenes to enchant them and eradicate the infestation. Payment follows. Actually Maurice, Keith and the Super smart micewith the guidance of the wise Bean Four Portions, are in cahoots to get by, but they will have to bring out their true heroism when they arrive in a mysterious town where not even a mouse exists anymore… Malicea girl the same age as Keith, passionate about fairy talesfairy tales and stories, will guide them and herself in the correct narrative path.

The prodigious Maurice it’s one of those animated film which, moved from the hall to a home exclusive (Sky and in stream on NOW, in this specific case), are likely to go unnoticed in the sea of ​​competition between platforms, hunting for “content”. And to tell the truth, the risk would be justified: an Anglo-German co-production directed by Toby Genkel And Florian Westermannin a CGI with a somewhat generic artistic direction and standard technique, it seems like one of many “medium” cartoons which in recent years have not even disdained cinemas, at low cost and aimed at a specific audience of children only. It seems. Because the film is the adaptation of “The prodigious Maurice and his ingenious rodents” (2001), humorous fantasy novel by the late British author Terry Pratchettnumber 28 in the famous saga of Discworld (and fans will catch some unmistakable references to that universe).

The directors rely on the script of the veteran Terry Rossio (the original Aladdinthe saga of the Pirates of the Caribbean) to translate the subtle into images reworking fantasy by Pratchett: For those accustomed to sneers Shrekit would be easy to ascribe The Prodigious Maurice to the vein of fairy-tale parodies, which can so easily fuel a lazy need for politically incorrect. However, the weaving of the story is more complex, because Pratchett takes the stereotypes of fairy tales and fables, changes their dynamics, but not to demolish them, but to give them a renewed strength which passes yes from metalinguismbut without exaggerating. The game is not an end in itself, even if the behavior of Malicia’s character would lead one to think so, who deconstructs the rules of storytelling while speaking.

Malice actually seeks an order to one’s life in the narrative traditionjust as the characters of this choral story seek it, all a bit lost: the fairy tale, the fantasy, the classic tale are archetypes that give securityand the reluctance of the characters in accepting this truth is one of the most delicate and irresistible themes of the story, precisely because it is never so insistent as to divert attention from the pure funmanaged with safe pace. There are many protagonists in the Prodigious Maurice, yet all of them, regardless of the length of the scenes that concern them, manage to leave their mark with a guessed character trait which is remembered with pleasure and instantly guarantees a certain empathy with their individual paths. And even the theme ofindividualityunderstood as a value to be opposed to the “collective mentality” that reeks of dictatorship, is embodied by a beautiful symbolic villain.

Perfectly enjoyable by children, The prodigious Maurice he doesn’t leave one on the street though black humour which will be appreciated by older children: the presence of Death as an ironic character, inevitable in the Discworld saga, he reminds us that similar situations in contemporary works such as Puss in boots 2 owe a debt of gratitude to Terry Pratchetttrue forerunner of one “postmodern” trend in the fantasy and fairytale tradition. As if aware of more ambitious and sophisticated material than usual, the European animation studios concentrated their moderate resources on theexpressiveness of actingalso in the name of a prominent original voice cast: Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Tennant, Himresh Patel, David Thewlis, Gemma Arterton, Hugh Boneville.
We bet Terry would have approved.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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