Film Openings

Week of August 17, 2005

Valiant. (G) Carrier pigeons were vital to the British during the Second World War, flying messages across the English Channel for troops fighting behind enemy lines. Disney's latest computer-animated film concerns a young pigeon named Valiant (voiced by Ewan McGregor) who volunteers for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service and, despite his small size, becomes a hero. While British kids grew up listening to stories about the London Blitz and the hardships their parents and grandparents endured, American children would be hard-pressed to tell you what nations fought on which side. Given that, it's unlikely they'll understand -- much less relate to -- this film. The voice acting is adequate, but it fails to convey the diversity or personality of Chicken Run or Shrek. The backstory is far more interesting: 54 British animals -- 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and a cat -- were awarded medals for "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty" during the war. If only they'd all been featured here. (Jean Oppenheimer) ARN, CW10, CC12, DP, GL, J14, MR, NW, OF, RON, STCH, STCL, WO

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