Valiant

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''Valiant''
Valiant1.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Gary Chapman
Produced by John H. Williams
Written by Jordan Katz
Starring Ewan McGregor
John Cleese
Ricky Gervais
Hugh Laurie
John Hurt
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography John Fenner
Edited by Tiffany L. Kurtz
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release Dates Flag USA.png 12 August 2005
Flag UK.png 25 March 2005
Running Time 76 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $40 million
IMDB Profile

Valiant is a 2005 computer-animated film, which tells the tale of a group of messenger pigeons during World War II.

Produced by Vanguard Animation, it was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures in the United States and a variety of other companies internationally. It is Britain's first computer animated feature film.

Plot

The film starts showing Mercury, a homing pigeon and two team mates flying towards the white cliffs of Dover, and trying to escape from something, though it is not seen. Mercury is left, then, while a few metres from the cliffs of Dover, he looks down and sees a feather from the one of his team mate, looks back and is captured.

Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.

Gervais as Bugsy.

At camp, they meet two wisecracking burly pigeon twins, Toughwood and Tailfeather, and a regal red pigeon named Lofty. They go under serious training by Sergeant Montegue, who gives them a good workout and giving them the name squad F. While there, Valiant falls in love with a nursing dove named Victoria, who also has feelings for him also.

Suddenly, the founder of the RHPS, Gutsy, informs Montegue that his troops, Squad F, have to leave for France immediately to get a message even though their training isn't finished. Their plane is shot down in France, and Gutsy presumed dead. Valiant and company enlist the help of two French mice, Charles de Girl and Rollo, to get them into German territory and help them defeat the evil pigeon-hunting Nazi falcon general Von Talon. When the pigeons split up trying to deliver the message, Bugsy is captured by the falcons. The team reunites, along with Gutsy, who barely made it out of the plane. Valiant rescues Bugsy and Mercury from Von Talon's bunker, and in the process, gets the message back. Valiant defeats Von Talon with the help of his family and friends and delivers the message. We learn that the message was telling allied commanders to perform the D-Day operation at Normandy. He is awarded a Dickin medal and reunites with Victoria.

Reaction and Box Office

Valiant was received rather poorly by American critics, with a running total of 31 % by Rotten Tomatoes and a "cream of the crop" rating of only 13%. Many critics felt the film lacked originality and quality humor. Some also felt that the film was too pro-military and pro-war. Those who liked the film tended to feel that it had a high attention to detail and fluid animation.

In the United Kingdom, the film was better received by both audiences and critics, but still fell short of excellent reception. It is fairly popular with families, particularly those with young children.

It is possible that the relative disaster of the film was due to being overshadowed by the recent release of Robots, a more successful CGI film with a larger recognisable cast to American and British audiences.

American audiences did not spark to Valiant. According to Box Office Mojo, it did business of $19,478,106 in the U.S. and $41,629,971 internationally. This gives it a worldwide total of $61,108,077, which is considered successful, but low by CGI animated film standards (its record was later beaten in 2006 by Doogal, the re-dubbed version of The Magic Roundabout).

Notes

Ricky Gervais's first film role.