Valiant (2005)

 

Valiant, an eager young wood pigeon flies to London to join the Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) dreaming of becoming a hero! Soon we see a group of comically misfit pigeons (including Bugsy a street pigeon from Trafalgar Square, and Lofty a posh bird from Oxford) in a hilarious series of adventurous mishaps as Valiant’s squadron are put through their paces in the training camp!

To succeed in the most important mission of the war our new RHPS recruits need to stay out of the clutches of the notorious enemy falcon – Von Talon… Can Valiant and his mates pull together and get the message across enemy lines in time?

From the producers of Shrek and Shrek 2, staring the voices of Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, John Cleese, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Rik Mayall, Olivia Williams, Hugh Laurie, Pip Torrens, Brian Lonsdale and directed by Gary Chapman. This is an animated wartime adventure depicting the plight of Britains most important wartime animal, the carrier pigeon.

I really enjoyed this film, it’s got a little of everything including an all star cast, a real historical background to the story, some great humour (not zany crap) and it captivated the kids without scaring them senseless. The humour is light and if you like the classic British war film format then you will love this kids/adults animated adventure. It follows the classic format of band of good for nothing misfits being packed off on the most important mission of the war and coming through every adversity to win the day, but don’t let the well worn plot put you off, this film is packed with charm.

The characters are well matched with their respective voices, especially Ricky Gervais who is great as the repulsively base Trafalgar Square pigeon Bugsy and Tim Curry as the evil Nazi falcon Von Talon (hes so good at being evil after all). You might even get so involved that you find yourself cheering them along, and even if you don’t you wont be able to help smiling at their antics. Do not expect this film to be Shrek though, the humor is much more restrained and British but unlike every other so called British comedy (Four Weddings etc) it is actually funny which should come as a relief to most of you, who like me, recoil in terror at the mention of the words British and comedy in the same sentence. My guess is that it gets ragged by reviewers every now and then, purely because they were expecting to see the kind of zany American/Disney film that we have all become so used to and begun to accept as normal. In my opinion it’s nice to find something that reminds us that an animated film can be good without having to have some rib splittingly funny moment in every single minute of screen play. No, its far more entertaining and much nicer to be able to enjoy the characters and story in a normal way, ahh the art of story telling makes a brief and fleeting return.

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