Starring the vocal talents of:
Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, John Cleese, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Rik Mayall and Olivia Williams

Gary Chapman

Running Time:
109 mins

Out to buy on DVD 07/11/05

"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 will enjoy.

'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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