Valiant rating 
3/5 Valiant


Read The Dude's review of Valiant

Reviewed by Mostic

Think animated animal animation of the bird variety. No, not cluck-cluck, as in Chicken Run, but pigeons of the homing variety pitched into the heart of WWII to do their bit for the war effort.

From the producer of Shrek comes a delightful, nostalgic family war skit, based on truth, since pigeons were used by British Intelligence to get secret messages across the channel to the Resistance. Eventually, they were dispensed with when one or two veered off and they were deemed a touch too unreliable.

Ewan McGregor voices a tiny bird with a big heart. Valiant is desperate to become a member of the RHPS (Royal Homing Pigeon Service) and flies to London to enlist for King and country. In Trafalgar Square, he meets up with Bugsy (Ricky Gervais), a fat, smelly, cheeky con-man pigeon, who ends up volunteering for the war effort by mistake.

Valiant is joined by his Geordie cousins Toughwood and Tailfeather, polite-talking recruit Lofty and Bugsy. These five winged crusaders are given a few weeks training under the tough disciplince of Sarge (Jim Broadbent) before being sent on a dangerous mission to hook up with the French Resistance, while having to avoid a nasty bunch of leather-clad German falcons, led by General von Talon (Tim Curry).

It is harmless enough for kids, giving them enough daredevil heroics, flying escapades and the odd laugh (largely through the work of Gervais). Given it's about the war and most kids have a pretty hazy idea that there was a World War, one tends to feel this will appeal most to adults, since they will have a better grasp of what it's modelled on.

It could have been funnier - for instance the engagement of Bugsy with von Talon might have been exploited more. Most will like Gervais as a mangy old bird and probably McGregor as a tiny eager one. It's not going to do the sort of business that Shrek did and Robots will, but is enjoyable nevertheless.

Now who's up for a glass of vino and a slice of pigeon pie?

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Read The Dude's review of Valiant