Directed by: Gary Chapman | 75 minutes | comedy, animation, family, adventure | Dutch voice cast: Daniel Boissevain, Manou Kersting, Filip Peeters, Beau van Erven Dorens, Bas Westerweel, Robert Delahaye, Chiel van Berkel, Marlies Somers, Mieke Laureys, Stany Crets, Peter van den Begin
During the Second World War, brave animals were eligible for a real medal. Dogs, cats, but especially pigeons regularly earned such an award; not by throwing himself in full flight on Messerschmitts or German paratroopers, but by conveying important messages. The British animated film ‘Valiant’ is loosely based on this historical fact. It is about a small pigeon who wants to do great things during the war.
Platoon F, of which Valiant is a part (we will not talk about the tragic fate of platoons A to E), consists of five brutal pigeons. The most outspoken character of this is Bugsy, an unwashed and world-wise roller who accidentally ends up in the team. The other members are rather pale in comparison to him, whereby the brothers Hoogvlieger and Laagvlieger in particular do not stand out at all.
Fortunately, that lack of personality is more than made up for by the French and German characters. The terrible General Von Klauw who leads the black falcons with a beautiful German accent, but above all the irresistibly charming mouse Charles De Girl, messenger of the French Resistance and on her own more brave than all the pigeons put together. It is a pity that Charles only has such a small role, especially because the expressive possibilities of the mice turn out to be very great.
The humor in ‘Valiant’ is a combination of slapstick and more adult jokes, so that the film is attractive to young and old. Not nearly as sharp as ‘Shrek’ (2001) or even ‘Madagscar’ (2005), but quite funny at times. What this production has as a plus is the particularly exciting plot. The mission Valiant and his friends have to complete takes them past dangerous places where falcons lurk again and again. The historical backdrop against which the events take place works well to increase that tension and the uplifting tunes from the war years also prove to be a bull’s eye.
In conclusion, ‘Valiant’ has become a fun, exciting, but not really special animation film. However, the film has been taken care of down to the last detail and the animations all look beautiful, so that we can expect something from the British in the future. Judging from ‘Valiant’, that may well be a film about frivolous French mice. And no, that is not a personal deviation.