Valiant - Not just for the birds
| As a fan of animation I am usually quick to see the latest toons but lately, with the wave of quickly made and often pop culture laden CGI behemoths that have hit cinemas lately, I have been leery about the state of western animation. Films like Ice Age, Shark Tale and most recently Madagascar seem to be more interested in landing big-star voice overs, hip hop soundtracks and merchandising crossovers than plot or innovation. Thatís why I wasnít too excited about the WWII carrier pigeons saga Valiant.
Valiant is very British and remarkably un-American (as opposed to anti-American which it is not). The sensibilities and humours in the film are very old world and this refreshing change made me notice right away that this wasnít going to be like all the rest.
Valiant begins with a play on the old news reels of the 30s and the whole feel of the film is very nostalgic. It plays more like an old Warner Brotherís Looney Toon than the kinds of disposable CGI popular today. Sure it may be a bit more earnest than those old shorts but the sense of time and place is there as well as a bizarro sense of humour thatís just a little off.
The film is paced wonderfully as well. Instead of being propelled from one joke to the next, there is actually a plot which doesnít move ahead at breakneck speed but allows the story to develop naturally.
The cast is a real treat with Houseís Hugh Laurie, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, John Cleese, John Hurt, Ewan McGregor and Ricky Gervais of The Office who are all due to their ability to create characters instead of their ability to sell tickets.
Valiant doesnít do anything revolutionary but just by reflecting back to a simpler age of animated storytelling, the makers of Valiant give us something a little special. The first feature by Vanguard Animation, Valiant shows a great deal of promise for what they can achieve in the future. This is the first CGI studio to show a real dedication to story since Pixar.
If you are looking for something a little richer to entertain your children, Valiant would be a good pick. And for the grown up kids, Valiant provides a great deal of fun references.