How's the future of Disney animation looking these days? None too good, on the basis of this outsourced World War II "comedy," which follows a scruffy squadron of British carrier pigeons charged with delivering a message that may determine the outcome of the war. It's not a bad premise, if a hard sell to kids born after Operation Desert Storm. What sinks it is an overall lack of imagination and authenticity: The script is typical family-flick underachievement, with feeble puns and other stabs at birdie personification keeping the less discriminating adults in the house amused until the inevitable belches and flatulence can catapult their troglodytic offspring into hysterics. Just as bad, the CG visuals are shoddy to the point of weirdness. Where Pixar has taught us to expect soulful facial expressions and lush, rich textures, Valiant looks as if a C-level animation student took an old piece of claymation and rotoscoped it. You just can't accept anything on the screen as being "real" or even an attractive interpretation of reality which makes the movie decidedly difficult to engage with after the first 10 minutes or so. (G)
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