Western Animation / Valiant

Even pigeons can be brave.

Valiant is a 2005 computer-animated children's film directed by Gary Chapman and produced by John H. Williams, who formerly produced Shrek and Shrek 2. To produce this one, he founded Vanguard Animation, which would later produce Happily N'Ever After and Space Chimps.

It is May 1944, in the midst of World War II. A team of Royal Homing Pigeon Service carrier pigeons, headed by Mercury (John Cleese), are carrying a message of vital importance across the English Channel to Great Britain, when they're suddenly ambushed by German falcon General Von Talon (Tim Curry), and Mercury is taken prisoner and interrogated. Meanwhile, the eponymous Valiant (Ewan McGregor) is a young pigeon of small stature in West Nestington who aspires to be a carrier pigeon himself. Heading to London to sign up, he meets with perpetually filthy pigeon Bugsy (Ricky Gervais), who signs up alongside him to escape the wrath of two thugs. The two go to the training camp and meet three more pigeons; Lofty, Toughwood and Tailfeather, and the five undergo training under the thumb of the aptly named Sergeant Monty (Jim Broadbent). Valiant also falls in love with a nurse (a dove) named Victoria (Olivia Williams). Once training is completed, the five are para-dropped into France on a mission to take a message from Rollo and Charles de Girl, of the French Resistance. When the message is captured by the Falcons, it is vital to rescue it from Von Talon's clutches and get that message back to Britain...

Despite being a CG children's film, which these days are practically becoming lightning rods for positive reviews, and despite including stellar voice talents, the film became the lowest grossing CG film of all time until beaten by Doogal. It also did poorly with the critics (31% on Rotten Tomatoes), who cited amateurish animation, a by-the-numbers plot, a bland central character and subject matter that would fly over the heads of its intended audience as points of derision.

Not to be confused The Legend of Prince Valiant if such a thing were possible.

This film provides examples of:

  • Animal Talk
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rollo, the Resistance's sabotage expert has strong Pyro Maniac tendencies, but he's kept around because... well, that's exactly what they need him to do.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The film shows Mercury being tortured with Yodeling. It's treated like the sonic equivalent of thumbscrews, and Mercury's ability to withstand it unsettles even General Von Talon.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Nope. Except possibly the cheese-eating bit, seeing as they're mice. Otherwise, they're under-funded and questionably sane, but brave and skilled.
  • Disney Death: Gutsy apparently crashes with the group's transport plane, then shows up later in the movie, injured but alive.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sergeant Monty.
  • Eating the Enemy: This is what German falcons do to the English messenger pigeons once they've intercepted their messages.
  • Eyepatch of Power: General Von Talon
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon
  • La Résistance: Rollo and Charles de Girl.
  • Large Ham: Tim Curry as typical.
  • Loud of War: Von Talon tries to get Mercury to tell him the message by blasting him with annoying yodeling music.
  • No Swastikas: No swastikas are seen in Von Talon's lair nor on his uniforms; possibly because this is a children's film.
    • However there's some skull sings - a typical nazi symbol.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": Von Talon sings "Pin on my medals... PIN ON MY MEDEALS..." to the tune of this whilst showering.
  • Shown Their Work: The Germans did indeed train falcons to intercept carrier pigeons during WWII.
  • Truth Serum: When the yodeling doesn't work, Von Talon gives him one of these.