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The Brits seem to have a thing for bird animations. Not that long ago Aardman Studios struck it big with stop-motion hit Chicken Run (2000), and now Ealing Studios are hoping for the same squawking success with new digital animation, Valiant. It stars the voice of current digi-animation poster boy Ewan MacGregor (Trainspotting, The Island), who moves from voicing the little clockwork star of animation Robots to the little feathered hero of Valiant. It is WWII and the allies are using the Royal Homing Pigeon Service in their mission to thwart the enemy. Whist tiny pigeon Valiant is small of stature he's big of heart and can't wait to enlist. He does so alongside a bunch of misfits, including the very shonky streetwise pigeon Bugsy, Ricky Gervais, who stays in character from The Office and steals the show. Eventually called up for combat, they peck off more than they can chew when they come face-to-face with the enemy: the evil, leather-clad dive-bombing Falcons. Valiant puts in a brave effort as an animated comedy but takes an early nose-dive from which it doesn't really recover. It has a lovely sense of design, some excellent WWII movie parodies, and enough little jokes to keep us hopeful. Unfortunately though, while expectations are high, we are put into in a holding pattern waiting for big belly laughs, better characterisation and high impact drama that just doesn't eventuate. Even with Shrek's production company on board, Valiant doesn't make quite such an impact. Perhaps because Valiant is aimed more at a younger audience than many of the recent digital animations which cater so well for both older and younger audiences alike. Valiant is a cute enough movie but doesn't quite deserve a victory medal, especially when compared to the recent and better bird movie, Chicken Little, sure to peck it to death this holiday season.