British CG family caper set during World War II. Little bird Valiant (McGregor) enlists to become a homing pigeon and helps the Allies by flying across the English Channel to retrieve an important message. But the enemys Falcon brigade is waiting...
A relatively low-budget UK/American co-production, Valiant delivers an unusual but welcome blend of modern, CG animation and old-fashioned British wartime cheer. Nostalgic in tone, its peppered with archetypal British characters that wouldnt look out of place in Dads Army or Allo Allo were they human, that is.
Valiant (voiced by Ewan McGregor) is a chirpy little patriot whose fellow homing pigeons include a posh, bookish chap, a couple of dim-witted Geordie brothers and a scruffy chancer named Bugsy (Ricky Gervais). Theres even a sexy nurse dove and a seductive French Resistance mouse. Its a likeable line-up, and the voice-casting is astute. John Cleese is amusing as a captured pigeon officer whose stiff upper lip crumbles under the influence of truth serum, while Gervais although the weakest voice actor is well suited to workshy Bugsy.
The $40 million budget has been well spent: with quality character animation and art direction, this visually holds its own next to its Pixar/DreamWorks peers. However, with its lack of urgency and comparatively muted comedy, it doesnt quite match the likes of Shrek or Nemo.
A valiant effort from a UK/US alliance, this offers appealing characters and visual flair just dont expect it to outperform its bigger-budget rivals.