Starring: Ewan McGregor as Valiant Ricky Gervais as Bugsy Tim Curry as Von Talon Jim Broadbent as Sergeant Hugh Laurie as Gutsy John Cleese as Mercury John Hurt as Felix Pip Torrens as Lofty Rik Mayall as Cufflingk Olivia Williams as Victoria Jonathan Ross as Big Thug Brian Lonsdale as Toughwood Dan Roberts as Tailfeather Michael Schlingmann as Underlingk Sharon Horgan as Charles De Girl
Special Features: Hilarious Bloopers
Valiant Training Challenge – 3 Different Game Levels
Other Info: Widescreen (1.85:1) Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound French and Spanish Language Running Time: 76 Minutes
Synopsis: In the final days of World War II, carrier pigeons play a vital role in the war effort. They brave the harsh environment of the English Channel and attacks by German falcons in order to deliver communiqués between the French resistance and the Allies. However, with their numbers dangerously dwindling, the carrier pigeons must find some new recruits.
Valiant is a young, small pigeon that is eager to join the Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service. Despite his diminutive size, he has the spirit of a fighter. He goes into basic training with a band of reluctant misfits and even falls in love with a nurse dove. But before completing his training, Valiant finds himself thrown into his first mission. Will he save the day or will the British become goose-stepping Nazis?
Valiant is rated G.
The Movie: I showed Valiant to the whole family and it was more or less a pleasant viewing. We all enjoyed the film and the kids seemed entertained the whole time. Valiant wasn’t a great movie at all, but it wasn’t a bad one either. The film is very, very British and some background knowledge of WWII and carrier pigeons goes a long way in understanding what’s going on and enjoying the joke. Obviously my toddlers didn’t understand a thing about WWII, carrier pigeons, or much else, so they had to be entertained solely by the antics of the pigeons and the computer animation. This only goes so far, but it was fortunately enough to keep them busy.
I didn’t find the movie to be really entertaining until Valiant was dropped behind enemy lines, and that occurred in the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. There’s a cool scene as the pigeon’s bomber flies into heavy anti-aircraft fire and is shot down. Later on the pigeons are chased through a French village by one of the German falcons. This offers up some exciting scenes as they fly around the buildings. The animation is decent, but there’s nothing noticeably groundbreaking. The pigeons have detailed feathers that look good.
The voice cast features a lot of big names, but unfortunately none of them bring anything very unique to their characters. The cast includes Ewan McGregor, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt, and Olivia Williams among others.
Valiant is overall disappointingly average. The story is only mildly entertaining and it doesn’t even get rolling until the last 20 minutes of the film. The voice cast is OK and even John Cleese is only mediocre. There are no good songs and the animation doesn’t do anything special. To top it all off, the trailers and commercials show almost all of the funny or exciting parts of the film.
The Extras: There are only two bonus features on this DVD. The first is a series of “bloopers” from the film much like those from Pixar. Unfortunately, these are quite lame and not funny at all. The other is a game that isn’t very challenging. You pick formations for the pigeons to use as they fly through obstacles. Overall, I wasn’t impressed.
The Bottom Line: If you need to entertain kids for an hour or so, Valiant will get the job done. But despite a strong cast and an interesting concept, the movie is only average.