½*/**** Image A Sound B+ Extras D
screenplay by Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod
directed by Gary Chapman
by Walter Chaw The animation is flat, the screenplay is insipid, the pacing is mortally off, and the voice acting is the mixed bag you generally get when you hire movie stars instead of professional voice talent (this is already the second animated film Ewan McGregor's tackled this year--third if you count Lucas's folly) to breathe life into your pixellated creations. But other than that, Valiant's fantastic. Its setting (WWII, circa D-Day) isn't as imaginative as that of Robots (this year's other glaring animated failure), and its CGI housefly sidekicks don't talk, as they did in Racing Stripes (this year's other glaring made-for-kids animal-related failure), but if you can overlook its obvious and subtle and inescapable deficiencies, well, what you have here is a blockbuster simply waiting to have its destiny fulfilled by the same group that flocked to the inexplicably popular Shrek films. Valiant's central marketing point is that it's from the same producer, John H. Williams, as the Shrek franchise, which, while technically true, ignores the movie's ten other producers.