The rats of the bird world finally have a movie they can call their own. I canít say Iím a big fan of the pigeon community, though this film adds a little bit of glamour to their otherwise unsavory lifestyle. In terms of family entertainment, Valiant does the trick providing jokes that children can relate to as well as those subtle jokes directed towards an older crowd. Still, in a day when animation has reached new heights, Valiant falls a little short and just turns out to be more of the same packed into a film that spills just over an hour.
Stretching a mere 76 minutes long, Valiant tells the story of a pint sized pigeon with aspirations to become a member of the RHPS, or the Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service. The RHPS was used to carry secret messages across long distances and deliver them to the allied forces during World War II. The protagonist pigeon, Valiant (Ewan McGregor), wants more than anything to become a RHPS hero like his idol Gusty (Hugh Laurie). In order to do so, he must go through a challenging training program or ďpigeon boot campĒ to learn special flight maneuvers and how to combat the dreaded falcons, the only force standing in the way of safely delivering their messages.
The falcon leader, Von Talon (Tim Curry), accompanied by his two less than intelligent lackeys, hunt down the pigeons in order to intercept the messages that they carry. Abruptly, Valiant and his buddies from squad F become the allied forceís last hope and must deliver a message from France to England, a message that will change the course of the war and make some unlikely heroes out of some pigeons.
Donít get me wrong; I enjoy the simple plot method that Valiant was able to represent. Itís a typical story about an under-appreciated, unlikely hero that rises above his own potential and saves the day. There are other elements that make this formula work, for example, the loyal sidekick as the primary comic relief who the protagonist usually meets early on in the film when he/she has just begun ďthe heroís journey.Ē Usually this is a character that you laugh at and not with most of the time. Then thereís the antagonists, in which you have the familiar egotistical leader who you feel really could thwart the plans of the heroes if he wanted to but ultimately fails due to some minor flaw or mistake that allows the heroes to just barely slip by. And letís not forget the