Directed by Gary Chapman, starring the voices of Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, John Cleese, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Rik Mayall, Olivia Williams, Pip Torrens, Brian Lonsdale, Dan Roberts and Sharon Hogan.

Funny, charming and very original, this is a movie that will warm the hearts of young and old alike.

'Valiant' tells the tale of a group of very comical messenger pigeons who enlist in the Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) in a brave attempt to make their mark on World War II.

Valiant the pigeon (McGregor) is tired of constantly being the butt of jokes because of the size of his wingspan, so when he sees a promo film for the RHPS, he finally decides that this may be his opportunity to prove himself. His idol Gutsy (Laurie) commands the respect of all the pigeons, particularly the ladies, and Valiant is determined to get a bit of the action, however he can.

After a chance meeting with the grubby Bugsy (Gervais) in Trafalgar Square, Valiant drags him along to enrol in the homing pigeon training school, much to lazy Bugsy's disgust. There they meet a cast of unlikely heroes, each willing to put their lives on the line for their country's war efforts. From the stiff upper beak gentleman pigeon Lofty (Torrens) to the Geordie twins Toughwood and Tailfeather (Lonsdale and Roberts - The Ant and Dec of homing pigeons!), the training academy has a rare breed of recruits in the class of squadron F.

As all good stories go, it eventually comes to pass that the success of the British forces depends on these very same unlikely recruits, and it is Valiant who must make the biggest efforts in the attempt to defeat the Falcon enemies and carry the all-important messages home. Infecting everyone he meets along the way with his sheer enthusiasm, and even managing to charm war nurse Victoria (Williams), Valiant lives up to his name as he takes on one brave challenge after another.

So the underdog triumphs, but it never winds up being as sickly and sweet as it sounds. Packed with great characters vying for attention, Ewan McGregor and Ricky Gervais deserve the biggest hats off for their comic efforts as Valiant and Bugsy.

With some great borrowed scenes, from the likes of 'Armageddon', 'Coyote Ugly' and numerous war films, 'Valiant' is very hard to dislike. It's witty, succinct, and nicely animated, bringing a colourful motley crew to life. What's not to like?

Linda McGee