Australian Council on Children and the Media

Valiant

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Valiant
  • a review of Valiant completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 January 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to some scary scenes, parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of eight.
Children over the age of 8 Children over the age of eight should be able to view this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Valiant
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 73 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

It’s May 1944, and the Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) is suffering heavy casualties from ‘Nazi’ Falcon attacks over the Channel. Wing Commander Gutsy (Hugh Laurie) sets out to replenish the messenger squads with recruits from around England. Gutsy’s daring exploits and heroics gain the admiration of a small, but plucky pigeon, Valiant (Ewan McGregror), who decides to enlist. After bidding farewell to his mother and friend Felix (John Hurt), Valiant flies off to London, where he meets and accidentally rescues a somewhat scruffy Bugsy (Ricky Gervais). The pair joins the RHPS and are put in “F squad”, along with the posh Lofty (Pip Torrens), brothers Toughwood (Brian Lonsdale) and Tailfeather (Dan Roberts), and under the command of Sergeant (Jim Broadbent). The tough training regime is somewhat sweetened for Valiant by a romance with nurse Victoria (Olivia Williams).

Meanwhile, across the Channel in France, the ‘Nazi’ falcon, Von Talon (Tim Curry) and his minions, Cufflingk (Rik Mayall) and Underlingk (Michael Schlingmann), are trying to extract the location and plans of the French Resistance from a captured RPHS member, Mercury (John Cleese). Thus far, Mercury has managed to resist their interrogation.
The day arrives when F squad are called up to join Gutsy in a mission to get an important message from the Mouse Division of the French Resistance. The squad must overcome their fears, inexperience and self-doubt to complete the mission as a team and rescue their fallen comrade, Mercury.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some mild violence in this movie, usually with comic intent, including:

  • During training, there are frequent mishaps, with birds falling over, crashing and colliding into each other and inanimate objects.
  • Brothers Toughwood and Tailfeather often end up in fights with each other, as do the two German falcon guards.
  • There are a number of sequences when the pigeons and mice are pursued by falcons. At times they are caught or mildly hurt, but no members of F squad or the resistance are killed.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scary scenes in this movie that could disturb younger children, including:

  • at the start of the movie, three pigeons are flying back over the Channel on a dark and stormy night. They are pursued by falcons, which eventually catch them and kill them. The deaths are not shown, by feathers are shown to be flying.
  • Mercury is caged, threatened with torture, harassed and given a truth serum injection by his Nazi Falcon captors. At times he appears frightened, distressed and then confused and under the influence of the drug.
  • After tricking some menacing magpies, Bugsy is chased and set upon by the two birds. This is shown in a comic light.
  • Valiant and Mercury both are shown to be fearful of receiving injections. The needles and syringes are very large.
  • Squad F are dropped in over France, but their plane is under heavy attack and crashes, seemingly with Commander Gutsy still inside. The birds appear scared and sad.
  • Valiant hears noises in the rumble of a bombed church. He enters the darkened building, looking fearful, and screams when he stumbles into a gargoyle statue.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group could also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some of the above-mentioned scenes could also concern children in this age bracket, particularly the plane crash with Commander Gutsy apparently still inside, and the pursuit of pigeons and mice by the falcons.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are no scenes in this movie that would scare children over the age of thirteen.

Sexual references

The film contains some mild sexual references including:

  • the squad all admire and ogle at a war-time styled poster of a pigeon starlet
  • Bugsy deliberately misinterprets what the French resistance’s female leader says, hearing ‘message’ instead of ‘massage’. He then going on to request a full body massage.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity in this movie.

Use of substances

There is a scene in Valiant’s local pub, but none of the main characters are shown to be drinking or inebriated.

Coarse language

There is no coarse language, but some name calling, including:

  • bird-brain
  • idiot
  • feather-brain
  • birdbrains
  • shut up
  • pipsqueak.

There is also reference to a ‘poop-deck’ (pointing to a bottom).

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is that good overcomes evil, and that size really doesn’t matter.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • friendship and loyalty
  • endurance through adversity
  • courage
  • responsibility and being a team-player
  • not being limited by other people’s expectations
  • positive self-talk.

This movie could give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their consequences, such as.

  • violence as a way to solve conflict, particularly the way the two brother pigeons constantly fight with each other
  • teasing
  • the unequal gender roles portrayed.

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