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a review of Walt Disney's animated film

by Peter Hunt


If, like me, you received all the leadership training that you ever needed by watching re-runs of British World War Two movies on telly on Sunday afternoons, then take 80 minutes out of your busy schedules and go and see "Valiant."  Finally the work of our brave British pigeons in defeating fascism has been recognised. 


This is the War as it really was (well ... as it should have been), with the British impeccable (pun intended), the Huns unspeakable; and the plucky French Resistance brave, but idiosyncratic, with a good looking babe, (erm ... mouse,) and Edith Piaf. There is not a Yank in sight ~ so much for over-paid, over-sexed and over-here! 


For lovers of the '40s and '50s British stiff upper lip film genre "Valiant" is a real joy. It was made in Ealing Studios for starters! Early on there is one of those cheeky but cheerful newsreels about the war effort. Then there is a nod to "Mrs. Miniver" as we see the effect of the war on the pigeon home front, where everyone is making sacrifices. It then turns into "The Way Ahead" as a hard but caring Sergeant Major moulds a disparate group from all social classes into a cohesive unit. In occupied France we touch on "Carve her Name with Pride" before a "Dambusters"/"Reach for the Sky" type denouement. The clichés just keep rolling. 


Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Hurt and Rick Mayall all seem to be having a wonderful time; and John Cleese on truth serum is priceless. Perhaps, for more authenticity "Valiant" could have been shot in black and white but then you wouldn't have got to appreciate the wood pigeons' plumage. 


Five stars, two thumbs up and a wizard prang!


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