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Walt Disney Home Video presents
Valiant (2005)

"I am a bird of principle. And my number one principle is don't get involved with anything called 'highly dangerous.' And I will never violate my core beliefs. Do not ask me to violate my core beliefs. You-you're talking to the wrong pigeon."
- Bugsy (Ricky Gervais)

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: December 13, 2005

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry
Other Stars: Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt, Pip Torrens, Rik Maxwell, Olivia Williams, Jonathan Ross, Brian Lonsdale, Dan Roberts, Michael Schlingmann, Sharon Horgan, Buckley Collum
Director: Gary Chapman

MPAA Rating: G for (action sequences)
Run Time: 01h:16m:05s
Release Date: December 13, 2005
UPC: 786936293173
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DA+A D

DVD Review

Valiant is yet another nail in Michael Eisner's coffin. This misbegotten movie focuses its story on pigeons during the build-up to D-Day, giving the chattering birds roles that honor the real men and women who fought and died during World War II.

This animated movie is meant to be a kid-friendly World War II picture, filled with action and comedy. Why director Gary Chapman and his team of writers think World War II is children's material eludes me, but the bad writing and direction speak volumes about what not to do when making a film. There isn't a story, per se, only a collection of loosely linked action set pieces. Generically, the story focuses on Valiant (voiced by Ewan McGregor), a young British pigeon who wants to join the fight against the GerŅ, I mean, Falcons. He leaves his quaint home to join Commander Gutsy (Hugh Laurie) on a daring mission to retrieve secrets from the French Resistance: Mouse Division. Along the way he meets con artist Bugsy (Ricky Gervais), who wisecracks his way out of trouble and into the military. Now the two undergo grueling training and get sent over seas, where they have multiple chases with the Falcons and, surprise, save the day for the Allies.

What doesn't happen, however, is any sort of interesting character arc. Bugsy is a sleazy, selfish con artist who does everything possible to get out of the war until a crucial moment when he must save Valiant's life. Meanwhile, every other character—be it the nurse dove who wins Valiant's heart or the imprisoned pigeon, Mercury (John Cleese)—is a one-note anthropomorphism. Consequently, it seems highly unlikely that adults will be amused by this shallow tale. Kids, on the other hand, should enjoy the action scenes and cuddly birds. The visuals are impressive, with sweeping shots set to a rousing musical score, but there's no sense of awe in any of it. When Valiant makes his final run to save mankind from the Falcons, all I could think of is how much more exciting Luke Skywalker's similar feat is in Star Wars.

Yet, I can't recommend parents show this movie to kids. There are numerous other films that are far superior and the humor is hardly intended for children.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The CGI images look great, with tons of detail and a beautifully crisp feel. Colors are vibrant, contrast is excellent, and blacks are richly textured. Visually speaking, nary a flaw can be found.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is equally successful, with an impressive dynamic range and crisp dialogue creating a well balanced, enthralling experience. Sound separation and directionality compliment the action scenes nicely and atmospheric sounds keep the rear-channels in good shape. French and Spanish Dolby Stereo 2.0 mixes are also available.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Lady and the Tramp: 2-Disc Special Edition, Toy Story 2: 2-Disc Special Edition
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:08m:44s

Extra Extras:
  1. Movie Surfers—a sneak peek at upcoming theatrical releases from Walt Disney Pictures.
  2. Bloopers—a reel of animation gags.
  3. Valiant Training Challenge—an interactive video game taking you through various activities.
Extras Review: The trailers for Lady and the Tramp: 2-Disc Special Edition and Toy Story 2: 2-Disc Special Edition are actually the most enjoyable extras on this set. Each is shown in 1.85:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. There's also a Movie Surfers promo that highlights the Disney Channel program and its behind-the-scenes look at upcoming Disney projects. This time, the surfers plug Disney's The Wild ad The Shaggy Dog. Extra features pertaining to the film are bloopers (:59s) and a video game. The bloopers are animated gags of the "actors" messing up their lines and stunts. The video game, Valiant Training Challenge, is a three-level game that takes you through training, an airdrop exercise, and finally Valiant's flight through a trench. The graphics are good, but the game itself is simplistic.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Dreadful in every sense of the word, Valiant is more devastating than any of the bombs that explode during its storyline. The image and sound transfers are sufficient, but the extras are lacking.

 


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