A dark stormy night over the English Channel sets as a backdrop for this entertaining and dramatic film as we see three members of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) attempting to deliver their messages to headquarters in London. Just as they come within feet of the White Cliffs of Dover, the shadow of larger birds (Falcons) hovers over them, and in a matter of seconds, the pigeons vanish from sight and the mission is thwarted. Back at headquarters in London, the disturbing news comes that the number of pigeons coming back alive is zero, and to make matters worse, the number of trained RHPS pigeons available to carry out the missions is dwindling due to the German falcons that are guarding the Channel. Arrangements are made to recruit a new flock of birds to fill the ranks of those destroyed by the enemy.
Meanwhile, at a local pub in England, Valiant's dreams of doing something big begins with viewing a newsreel from the RHPS at the local pub in his hometown. Seeing the training of this elite group of pigeons whose training prepares them to carry messages across enemy lines, Valiant realizes this is what he has been looking for. A few moments later, Gutsy, a member of the RHPS and two of his fellow soldiers enter the pub for a cold drink. Valiant, awestruck by their regal presence and bravery, voices his desire to serve in the RHPS to Gutsy. The locals who make reference to his small stature as a sure disqualification from such an endeavor meet his open declaration with ridicule and laughter. Undaunted by the mockery Gutsy encourages Valiant and encourages him to enlist.
With excitement in his heart, and despite his mothers overbearing tears begging him to stay home, Valiant head out to the RHPS to enlist and do his duty for queen and country. Along the way he inadvertently saves the life of a two-bit hustler name Bugsy, who has not seen the sight of a birdbath in years. Ironically, Bugsy plays a key role in helping Valiant get enlisted, and in the process, winds up a recruit himself. Along with three other hopefuls; Lofty a stuffy upper crust pigeon who is there to carry on the family tradition of pigeons who served in the RHPS, but he looks like he belongs in a library, rather than the front lines. Then there is Toughwood and Tailfeather, what they don't have in brains they make up for in brawn. This ragtag fivesome soon arrive at the training base where their fantasy of heroic endeavors is quickly replaced with the harsh realities of military training under the tough wing of their new drill sergeant, Sarge who christens them 'Squad F'.
After weeks of hard training, Valiant's bruises increase in number. However, the loving care of nursing dove Victoria, makes the training bearable. After only a few weeks of training, Gutsy arrives at the training camp with the news that another squad has gone missing, and Squad F is needed right away despite the fact their training has not been completed. Led by Gutsy, Squad F's mission is to meet up with members of the French Resistance and deliver vital information back to England. En route to the drop off point unforeseen circumstances separate the Squad from their leader, and they find themselves behind enemy lines without the leadership to help them with the next course of action. With the German falcons hot on their tails, the squad 'wings' it, obtains the message and head back to London to deliver it. Will they make it? Or will they too become pigeon fricassee? Those answers and more are answered in this delightful and educational animated film.
The all star cast lends their voices to bring this film to life, includes Ewan Mcgregor (Star Wars Episode II and III, Down with love, and Moulin Rouge to name a few) as the voice of Valiant, Jim Broadbent (Bridget Jones' Diary I and II, Iris) as the tough as nails sergeant, and Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture show, Scary Movie 2) as the dastardly General Von Flacon to name a few.
This film is educational as well as entertaining as it demonstrates the vital role animals, especially pigeons in saving the lives of thousands of men during World War II and will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Valiant opens nation wide on August 19th. For more information, go to www.valiantmovie.com