"I want to
do my duty"
May 1944, as the Allied Forces prepared to make a push into
Northern France, the whole of the war effort relied on information been
relayed between the French Resistance and Allied Command. This was the role
of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) and many a gallant bird had served
and done their part for the war effort. For Valiant Pigeon (McGregor), his
dream was to join the RHPS but he was considered too young and too small.
The Nazi Falcon's were starting to get the upper hand in the skies over
the English Channel however so the RHPS now had to look for new recruits
and Valiant could finally get his chance.
The British step into the 3D computer animated motion picture
but have they got what it takes to survive in this battleground?
Sporting a stiff upper lip and an enormous amount of British
humour, 'Valiant' works on many levels. By not trivialising the contribution
of pigeons as a communication tool in the Second World War, the film shows
them as heroes and not something to make fun out of. The WWII setting is
also shown the right amount of respect, not glorifying war but showing it
in its true light. Add to this a collection of characters that you can easily
get behind and you are onto a winner.
This might not have the same amount of money that is splashed
on DreamWorks or Pixar productions but the production and character design
of 'Valiant' is enough to match anything produced by those illustrious two.
From Valiant's countryside home, to the airfield training camp and onto
war ravaged Northern France, the movie looks superb. The same can be said
about the characters. The pigeons capture the essence of the British Tommy
and create a squad of mismatched individuals that come together to make
a recognisance team. The Nazi falcons are also extremely well designed and
really look the part as you try and imagine what a falcon would look like
in a German uniform.
Bringing these characters to life is a top-notch British cast.
Like Pixar's casting, Vanguard Animation gathered together a cast that can
provide a vocal performance and not just an animal characterisation of the
star playing the part. Ewan McGregor is the plucky Valiant and makes him
the true hero, filled to the brim with a sense of honour and duty. Ricky
Gervais provides the comedy as Bugsy, the pigeon with a personal hygiene
problem and a real fear of war. Tim Curry is the villain of the piece playing
the head of the Nazi falcons General Von Talon and he does this with a real
gusto. Add to this the vocal talents of Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt
and Jim Broadbent and you have a collection of characters that everyone
'Valiant' proves that the big Hollywood studios are not the
only ones who can produce quality computer generated animation. A good story,
great characters and a setting and theme that is treated with the right
amount of respect, this is a giant step forward for British animation. Vanguard
Animation we salute you.
Bloopers, Footage from the
UK premiere, Scene progression, Interviews 'Making Of' featurette, Recording
sessions, Set-top game &Trailer
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