Saturday, June 2, 2012
Oh boy Disney had their hands full with this one... a British animated and voiced film about World War Two with death, destruction and rude jokes. Thank god they didn't cut the living hell out of this thing.
This is the story of Valiant, a smaller than normal pigeon who wants to join up with the Royal Carrier Pigeon Service. With the help of Bugsy, a con artist pigeon he accidentally saves he ends up in the service. Training has barely begun when they are rushed off to France to bring back an important message. There Valiant, Bugsy and his squad come face to face with the evil falcon's who'd like nothing better than to make them lunch.
A brief 75 minutes long (there were reports it ran 109 minutes) this is a good send up of World War Two conventions. We have hateful Nazi falcons (the leader is played evilly by Tim Curry); the do or die mission; Mom's tearful goodbye; Edith Piaf on the gramophone, French Resistance, balmy Brits (two of which are John Cleese and John Hurt); heroic sacrifice and on and on and on.
The voice cast is excellent and any anglophiles out there will want to see this for the voice cast Ewan McGregor as Valiant, Rick Gervis is Bugsy, Hugh Laurie, Curry, Cleese, Hurt and a few others. All are fun to listen to.
The humor is a wide net of British style humor from puns to fart jokes to clever spoof to just about anything. In its way its completely different than any typical American (ie.Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks) film. Its not broad American humor, its quiet British humour with slips into slapstick. Its a Brit-com versus sitcom.
Technically this film is a marvel with stuff that still puts Disney to shame, and must have made Pixar and Dreamworks work harder. There are some beautifully rended sequences, in particular they chases. WOW.
The problem here is the pacing which is a tad slow. It unspools like a British World War two film at about the same pacing. Its not bad but it might prove taxing to AMerican audiences who are used to faster paced comedy.
Randi had asked if it was similar to Chicken Run, sort of both are British war spoofs, but the style of humor is different and you don't have Mel Gibson bending it in the direction of American nonsense. Chicken Run is probably better but its hard to say fairly.
Certainly not the be all and end all I do recommend it, especially if you like British style humor.