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"Valiant" Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


© Disney Enterprises, Inc.

MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Animated/Family/War
Runtime: 76 minutes

"Valiant" Plot Summary:

“Valiant” is the classic tale of an underdog. While the plot is predictable, the interesting historical setting distinguishes Disney’s latest computer-animated version of the story.

The story takes place during WWII, and the underdog is a pigeon named Valiant. Despite his small stature, Valiant aspires to be part of the elite “Royal Homing Pigeon Service,” the carrier pigeons in charge of delivering top secret messages for the allied forces. Valiant learns, “It’s not the size of your wingspan, but the size of your spirit that counts,” and he sets out for London to enlist.

Once in London, Valiant makes friends with an unkempt pigeon named Bugsy, and the two enter the service to train with a hodgepodge of pigeons called “Squadron F.” Due to the unfortunate circumstances which befall squadrons A-E, they become the Allied Force’s last chance.

The homing pigeon heroes must battle nature and the evil forces of the enemy falcons led by General Von Talon to retrieve a vital message from the French Resistance and bring it back to the British. The unlikely heroes run into trouble with the dreaded Falcons, and left without their fearless leader, Wing Commander Gutsy, Valiant must lead the group on their treacherous mission.

Note to Parents on "Valiant":

Although there are brief references to the war, most of the details are implied, and the movie does not attempt to explain the war, who the “Allied Forces” are, or what the significance of the top secret message is.

The enemy falcons may be slightly scary to young children. Some pigeons are shown in perilous situations being chased by enemy falcons, and General Von Talon does a lot of yelling at a pigeon POW who is in a cage.

Various characters do behave rudely. Valiant’s friend Bugsy has poor manners, and in one scene burps the alphabet. Female pigeons and doves are portrayed somewhat suggestively, and a few innuendos are made by male birds.

Young children may lose interest in the movie. To school age children, though, the story will have more meaning, especially when writing on the screen at the end of the movie informs the audience of the Dickin Awards actually given to heroic animals who helped during WWII. The movie could be a great springboard for parents to teach their children some remarkable history about the time period, and that is what makes this movie worth it for school-age children.

Content Overview of "Valiant":

The following lists some of the most prominent examples of possibly offensive content in the movie:

Violence (High)
-The falcon general implies he will torture a POW pigeon. His henchmen suggest things like “clipping his wings,” but in the end he is only subjected to bad music.
-The general orders his henchmen to administer “truth serum” to the POW.
-A plane is seen blowing up and several explosions happen in the sky.
-Falcons chase the pigeons and threaten to eat them.

Sex/Nudity (Medium )
-Female birds are portrayed as being sexy.
-Some innuendos are made by Bugsy. For example, the French mouse talks about the “message,” and he makes reference to a full body massage.

Language (Low)
-The falcon general yells “shut up.”

Alcohol/Drugs (Low)
-A bird bartender serves "bug juice."

Bad/Disrespectful Behavior (Medium)
-Bugsy begins to burp the alphabet.
-The drill sergeant yells orders at the pigeons.
-The falcon commander yells orders at various characters.

Scary Scenes (Medium)
-The scenes listed under “Violence” may be scary for young children.
-At first, the movie implies that the wing commander, Gutsy, does not make it out of a plane crash.

Discuss "Valiant" with Your Family:

  • Some pigeons think that because of Valiant’s limitations, he will never be able to fulfill his dreams, but he is determined to try anyway. What does he teach us about perseverance and believing in ourselves?
  • Valiant reminds Bugsy that the pigeons did not build Trafalgar Square (Bugsy’s home), but Bugsy still lives there. How do we benefit from work that others who came before us have done? What is our duty to them, to society, and to future generations?
  • How did Valiant and his comrades display heroism by risking their own lives to save each other and to get the message delivered? How have real life heroes shown this kind of courage?
  • What is war, and why do countries fight each other?
  • How did real animals help in WWII, and what role did they play?
  • At the end of the movie, a board map of the countries is shown with pieces representing the armies. The human war strategists (who are only shown for a moment) push the pieces around with little stick shovels. This method was really used in WWII for war strategy. Kids may be interested in some of the little-known facts about the “technology” used in WWII.
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