DVD Reviews | Feb 11th, 2006
Starring Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, and John Hurt
Written By: Jordan Katz, George Melrod, George Webster
Directed By: Gary Chapman
Studio: Disney/ Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com link
Valiant is the name of an undersized wood pigeon that wants nothing more than to step up and fight for his country by joining the pigeon Air Force known as the Royal Pigeon Homing Service or RHPS. These brave pigeons deliver important tactical messages behind enemy lines during World War II. Valiant will follow his idol and hero, Gutsy Pigeon, and serve his country with pride.
Valiant is set in wartime England and was a cool throwback to the Second World War. The enemies were evil German hawks who are doing their part to defeat the Allied Forces’ plans at all costs. Definitely the best good versus evil pairing that you can have. The German Military forces during World War II are widely known as the cruelest of the cruel and the Hawks, led by the ruthless Von Talon, fit this description to a tee.
To me, Valiant seemed like more of a British flick, which I am now pretty sure that it was British and was released in the U.S. by Disney. The British humor was definitely evident. Valiant was rated G and I feel that there were more parts that were geared towards kids, but there was an older audience appeal going on. There weren’t many crazy, goofy parts but there were a few sing-a-long songs for the kiddies. The CGI animation was good, but nowhere near the level of animation of movies like Finding Nemo or Shrek. The voice acting and casting were right on the money. Tim Curry was probably the best voice over in the entire movie with his role as Von Talon, but Ewan McGregor and Ricky Gervais as Valiant and his slob friend Bugsy were also very good. I think that the whole World War II era thing seemed to be directed at the adults but, as I found out at the end of the movie, there was a valuable lesson for children and adults alike. During World War II, there were heroic medals of Honor and Bravery that were given out to animals that had been important role players in the war. A handful of these awards went to dogs and horses and even one to a cat, but the majority of these awards known as the Dicken Medal or the animals’ Victoria Cross, were given to pigeons. Yeah, I really don’t see the point of this either but oh well. It’s a fact.
As for the rest of the movie, the story was decent even though the movie was awfully short (approximately 76 minutes) and seemed to jump around a lot and the story evolved too quickly without enough character development. At the beginning of the movie, you’re immediately introduced to Valiant but you never really get any background information on him or any of the supporting characters throughout the movie. Basically, here is a character, this is what he’s doing now, the end. Well why does he have a pencil for a leg or what are the French mice actually there for? Another thing didn’t make sense to me was the G rating. There were some graphic scenes in there for a general audience such as the dead stuffed pigeons that were mounted as trophies or the Hawks attacking and apparently killing some pigeons who were trying to deliver a message. I guess clouds that appear to say “sex” in them are more offensive.
All in all, Valiant was a good movie of decent quality and would be fun for all ages. I’m not a fan of the ratings system and certainly not an activist, but the rating should have been a little higher considering the Gargoyles DVD set that I reviewed was rated Y7 and there weren’t as many graphic scenes in that whole series. I liked the British comedy and the dry humor that it represents as well as the voice acting and the animation. Again, for anyone interested in WWII history, this would also be worth checking out if not just for its historical significance.
Valiant Training Challenge Game
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: Training in Boot Camp, Trying to rescue a captured RHPS from Von Talon, The final chase.
Running Time: 76 minutes