Though much of the animation comes from an American company, Vanguard Animation, Valiant is one British attempt to compete in the CGI animation stakes alongside the likes of Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios et al. Valiant emerges as a fair and competent effort. It is not another Toy Story (1995) or a Finding Nemo (2003), it comes more down around the level of a perfectly acceptable film like DreamWorks Madagascar (2005).
Valiant was not a huge hit in the US but one suspects that this was more due to its very Britishness. The accents and colloquialisms are all British and the film centres around the Allied Resistance effort during the Second World War, a crucial era that forms a deep chasm underlying the 20th Century British zeitgeist but rarely the American one in the same way. (The same take talking birds involved in an heroic effort that was modelled after the Wartime struggle also formed the basis of Chicken Run).
Valiant falls into predictable arcs the tiny hero eventually getting to prove his worth, the misfits coming together in spite of their screw-ups, the cowardly Bugsy discovering loyalty and duty over cowardice and so on. The script offers a mind-boggling array of bird-related puns, more than one thought it possible to make. The characters are likeable with The Office (2001-3)s Ricky Gervais shining as the shows artful dodger type and John Cleese having a ball as a captured pigeon being given truth serum. Valiant also has its share of demented moments like a scene where John Cleeses prisoner is tortured by yodelling, dancing Nazi falcons; or where a lovestruck Valiant brings a flower to his lady love who thanks him for bringing her favourite and then eats the bug off the flower. The caricatures of the French resistance the women resistance fighter who has been named Charles De Girl (after the famous Wartime French general Charles De Gaulle) because she is the only girl in the organization are rather funny.
Vanguard manage a reasonably competent showing in the CGI animation department without finding the need to constantly bombard us with how artistically dazzling they can be as many of the efforts from the aforementioned other studios often try to do. There are a couple of expectedly big dramatic sequences near the end with the capture of the pigeons by the falcons and Valiants pursuit by Von Talon across the British countryside at the very end, which one feels are there because the genre demands them. Mostly, Valiant is commendable in its likeably unassuming modesty.