Review by C.J. Bunce
British streaming service Sky Cinema is bringing the new animated film The Amazing Maurice to the U.S. in February, and in the meantime you can go behind the scenes in The Amazing Maurice: The Art of the Film. The movie boasts one of the most impressive voice casts we’ve ever seen. It includes Hugh Laurie in the lead role of the title’s orange cat, plus Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, Gemma Arterton, and Hugh Bonneville. Based on Terry Pratchett’s twist on The Pied Piper, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, the animated adaptation continues that genre of family films that includes The Secret of NIMH, Aristocats, The Tale of Despereaux, Oliver, An American Tail, Garfield, and Ratatouille.
Writer Ramin Zahed interviewed directors Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann, producers Emely Christians, Andrew Baker, Robert Chandler, and Rob Wilkins, screenwriter Terry Rossio, character designer Carter Goodrich, character supervisor Sophie Vickers, environment supervisor, layout supervisor Faraz Hameed, and animation director Jerome Boutroux. Concept artists with works featured in the book include Felix Presch, Haris Ahmad, production designer Heiko Hentschel, Edwin Rhemrev, Michael Hülse, Heidi Smith, Oliver Kurth, Gerlinde Godelmann, Tom Olieslagers, Jo Bub, and Gerrit Wemmer.
Readers will also find the works of many 3D artists and other creators from Germany and the UK. The creators said they drew inspiration from the stop-motion work of Aardman Animations and Laika Studios.
The book includes the most character studies we’ve seen in a making-of film book, including trial images of key characters and numerous secondary characters. And lots and lots of rats. Images of designs for rows of houses only glimpsed in the background show the creativity of the combined art team members.
Along with concept art readers will find 3D renderings and models, sketches, a full thumbnail color script, final frames, and the book is peppered with Easter egg callbacks to Pratchett’s book.
The design includes fun layouts to begin each chapter:
And this is the physical book binding inside the jacket:
For fans of Terry Pratchett’s book, anyone waiting for the movie premiere, and a look at an animation studio we haven’t seen before, The Amazing Maurice: The Art of the Film is available for pre-order now here at Amazon. It’s slated to ship January 17, 2023, in advance of the U.S. release date.