Release Date: August 19, 2005
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Movie of the Day for Tuesday, February 22, 2005
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These guys figure prominently in Rumsfeld's Iraq exit strategy

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
79/85 Kim Hollis I want to give them credit for the voice cast, but the movie just sucks.
130/166 David Mumpower Makes me hope that the bird flu wipes out the entire species plus the movie's animators.

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In the face of a nearly expiring agreement with CGI animation giants Pixar Studios, Disney found a pretty solid substitute that has strong potential to produce for them if the studio's original CGI marriage goes south. Vanguard Animation is the new CGI animation studio of John H. Williams, who started a bit of a rivalry between Disney and DreamWorks when he produced Shrek for the latter.

After jumping ship from PDI, the company responsible for that Academy Award-winning film, Williams went off to London, where he formed this new production company and settled on a four-picture deal with the Mouse House. Though Disney has the first right of refusal on Vanguard's debut picture in the circumstance that they don't like it, they also have the option to make the partnership a lasting one if the results meet their expectations.

And so it is that the first movie in Vanguard's plans is Valiant, a story that is very loosely based on the real carrier pigeons that the United Kingdom used to communicate with their allies during World War II. Though set in the serious setting of the battlefields of World War II, the animated flick is nonetheless planned as a comedy more in the vein of Stripes or Private Benjamin than Saving Private Ryan.

This particular story revolves around a misplaced wood pigeon named Valiant, a lonely and clumsy bird who has sneaked his way into boot camp for the Royal Pigeon Service. He's very excited to do his part for his country, but is wildly unqualified for the job. Nonetheless, he gets his assignment and it is vitally important -- carrying critical messages for the French to the Allied forces that are getting set to storm the beach at Normandy on what we now know as D-Day. Ewan McGregor will have the lead voice role of Valiant, with backup from such notable performers as Ben Kingsley, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Everett, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, Tim Curry, and The Office's Ricky Gervais.

This particular project is one of many CGI productions currently in production, and recent analysis of the industry has indicated that it' a genre that might become passe somewhat quickly for audiences that so quickly become jaded in these times of big budgets and over-the-top special effects. Though Vanguard Productions had posted some pictures and stills from the movie early on, they have since been removed amidst rumors of bad buzz. None of that matters if the story is unique and the artwork looks good, though, and with someone of John Williams' credentials at the head of the ship, it is definitely a project that bears watching. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Valiant
Main Cast Ewan McGregor, Ben Kingsley, Jim Broadbent
Supporting Cast Rupert Everett, Hugh Laurie, John Hurt, Ricky Gervais, John Cleese, Tim Curry
Director Rob Letterman
Screenwriter Phil May, Matt Manfredi
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating G
Running Time 76 minutes
Screen Count 2,014
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Valiant
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Finding Nemo 5/30/0370.25 70.25 3374 20821.00 20821.0 339.71 339.71 4.84
Monsters, Inc. 11/2/0163.48 67.75 3237 19611.00 20131.6 255.87 273.09 4.03
Toy Story 2 11/24/9957.39 68.39 3236 17735.00 20248.6 245.82 292.94 3.05
Ice Age 3/15/0246.30 48.13 3316 13966.00 13966.0 176.39 183.39 3.81
Shrek 5/18/0142.35 45.20 3587 11805.00 12118.4 267.65 285.66 6.32
Bug's Life, A 11/25/9832.83 42.20 2686 12223.00 15115.9 162.79 209.29 3.56
Toy Story 11/24/9529.14 40.39 2457 11860.00 15813.3 191.78 265.84 4.90
Antz 10/2/9817.20 22.11 2449 7023.00 8685.2 90.71 116.62 5.27
Chicken Run 6/23/0017.11 19.14 2491 6869.00 7391.5 106.79 119.46 6.24



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