Disney’s Valiant is a film by the producers of Shrek, but it is certainly not up to the same caliber of filmmaking. Still, it has a certain charm despite its rather obvious humor. Also, the animation is excellent. Children are sure to love this story of a young pigeon named Valiant, who wants to join the Allied Forces in the fight during World War II. He’s a cute little guy, but he’s too small to reach his lofty aspirations… or so all those close to him say. But when every squad of carrier pigeons is …iped out by the evil Falcons, Valiant and his friends – a team of incompetent, but lovable birds – set out on a quest for adventure that will change the course of the war.
The film is rather lightweight. But then, it’s meant to be. There isn’t anything remarkable enough to bestow classic status on Valiant, but it’s an enjoyable time-waster for the kids. Some of the bodily function humor goes close to overboard, but the film manages to never overstep its G-rated bounds. While it’s all pretty formulaic, the concept and voice work (including Ewan McGregor, John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, and Tim Curry – as the evil Von Talon) raises the bar, though much of the material falls short. Unlike its pint-sized star, Valiant will not be achieving any great heights in the near future, but it will keep your little ones occupied and even inspire a chuckle or two.
Valiant is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation. The colors are superb. The animation is free from grain, and black levels are deep. While nothing about Valiant is overly detailed – it sometimes feels as simple as a Bugs Bunny cartoon in all the Falcon’s Lair scenes – it does pass digital animation 101 with flying colors.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track starts and finishes well, with several bright spots in between. Dialogue is clear and maintains a high volume throughout, as do the bass levels. The highlights of this track are the chase scenes, which bookend the film, and the plane-drop scene when Valiant and crew initially enter enemy territory. There are also stereo tracks for French and Spanish languages.
The Disney Fast Play feature is mainly an advertisement for other projects. You’re better off going straight to the main menu, where you’ll find only two additional features: Bloopers, which are terribly predictable and barely a minute long; and a trivia game that doesn’t offer enough challenge, even for the target audience. It is animated well, though.
I can’t hate Valiant. The concept is a clever one, as carrier pigeons did play a factor in the war, so the reality cries out for a children’s feature. However, the film stumbles often. I can’t help but feel it will not lend itself to further viewing – at least not for the adults. But your kids will enjoy it. However, take note. Outside a quality A/V presentation of the film, there is little additional content to make a purchase worthwhile.
Special Features List
- Trivia Game