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Valiant (G)

Release Date: August 19th, 2005 by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Voices: Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt, Olivia Williams.
Directed by Gary Chapman.

BASIC PREMISE: Valiant (McGregor), a small pigeon, joins the Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service of Great Britian during WWII to fight against the Falcon Brigade, who is holding Mercury (Cleese) hostage.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There are a lot of bright colors and stunning visuals in this CGI-animated movie. The voices are quite good, especially Tim Curry's perfect German-accented voice as the evil Von Talon. Valiant is a very adorable, likeable pigeon and it is fun to watch him try to live up to his name among other, bigger pigeons. His basic task is as a message-carrier for the troops behind enemy lines. The scenes when he is training for his mission are very funny and inventive--i.e., the pigeons lift weights with an apple on each side of a stick. A lot of the humor is slapstick and silly, but there is some traditional British humor in some of the dialogue. What this movie lacks, though, is a hilarious sidekick like in Shrek. The funniest scene is with a mouse with a very French accent that helps with the mission, but, unfortunately, she has very few scenes. Children will only be entertained by the visuals, but will find it hard to follow the plot simply because the British accents are too hard to understand. The boring, predictable plot ends up feeling tedious at times and the romance between Valiant and another bird (Williams) is too contrived. Fortunately, the running time is a breezy 76 minutes so it never overstays its welcome.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There movie has an unoriginal message which is that working together as a team is more productive than working alone--especially given the collective way the pigeons defeat the Falcon Brigade. Also, the virtue of courage and bravery is essential for reaching one's goal not matter how unreachable it may seem.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A boring, redundant plot and no funny sidekick!


THE BOTTOM LINE: A mildly entertaining movie thanks to good CGI-effects and a few scenes with creative visuals and brief funny moments, but the British humor mostly falls flat along with the boring plot and the accents are too thick for little kids.


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