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Toon Talk: Valiant
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Whipped into shape by a stereotypically gruff drill sergeant (Jim Broadbent), they are thrust into action prematurely to retrieve a vital message intercepted by the villainous Von Talon (a surprisingly underplayed Tim Curry) and therefore save all of England.

If the story sounds threadbare, it is … the whole film clocks in at just over an hour and ten minutes. About the only interesting part is trying to pick out the English actors among the cast (sure John Cleese and Hugh Laurie are easy to spot, but can you identify John Hurt and Rik Mayall of The Young Ones?) Let’s all hope that talks between new Disney chief Robert Iger and Pixar czar Steve Jobs end positively, or we’ll be stuck with more bird-brained ideas like this one.

Toon Talk Rating: C-

In this ‘Toon Talk’ feature, I’ll briefly highlight a recommended film or DVD, outside of the Disney universe, of similar interest to the main subject.

Another film about heroic birds, albeit of the non-cartoon variety, is Fly Away Home (1996, Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video). Filled with breathtakingly gorgeous photography by famed cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (who was Oscar-nominated for his work here), this inspiring tale (based on a true story) stars Anna Paquin as a girl who befriends a flock of geese and the helps them to literally fly south for the winter. Director Carroll Ballard (an expert at such nature-themed films such as The Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf) deftly handles what could have easily been a typical “kid power? flick, crafting an incredibly moving piece of filmmaking that earns every tear and goose bump.

Coming Soon in Toon Talk:

  • Go back to the beach for some more Hawaiian fun with Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, making its debut on Disney DVD August 30th.
  • “To infinity and beyond!? Toy Story celebrates its 10th anniversary with a new Collector’s Edition DVD (September 6th).
  • Warner Bros. presents the latest stop-motion animated oddity from the mind that brought you The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (September 23rd).

And Coming Soon from Buena Vista Home Video:

  • More TV DVD sets with the third season of Boy Meets World, the second season of Once and Again and the complete series of Life As We Know It; the Baby Einsteins grow up (a little bit) in the feature-length Little Einsteins: Our Huge Adventure, soon to be a Playhouse Disney series; and Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet get all gooey-eyed with each other in the recent romantic comedy A Lot Like Love (August 23rd).
  • It’s “Lights! Camera! Fashion!? for Barbie and friends with My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie (August 30th).
  • Now’s your chance to get caught up on the two biggest and newest hits on television with the complete first seasons of Lost (September 6th) and Desperate Housewives (September 20th).
  • September 6th also brings the latest additions to the Disney Princess collection with Disney Princess Sing Along Songs, Volume 2: Enchanted Tea Party and Disney Princess Stories, Volume 3: Beauty Shines from Within; from the wholesome to the whore, Pretty Woman is reissued with a 15th Anniversary Special Edition; from the whore to the horrible, we have the latest in the seemingly endless line of The Prophecy and Hellraiser movies with The Prophecy: The Forsaken and Hellraiser: Hellworld; from the horrible to the honorable, we have Natasha Richardson in Haven, the true story of an American journalist who rescued 1,000 Jewish refugees from a war-torn Europe; from the honorable to the fashionable we have the long-awaited debut of the critically acclaimed Paris is Burning, a documentary on New York City drag queens and the art of “voguing?. Also available, two crime thrillers: Written in Blood (starring Michael T. Weiss and Peter Coyote) and Den of Lions (starring Bob Hoskins and Stephen Dorff).
  • A couple of award winners and a treat bagful of Halloween fun highlight September 13th’s offerings: the Academy Award-winning Chicago finally gets the deluxe treatment it deserves with a new three-disc “Razzle Dazzle? Edition; another Oscar-nominee (for Best Foreign Language Film, 2003), The Netherlands’ Twin Sisters (De Tweeling); just in time for All Hallow’s Eve: Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween, Halloweentown and Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge (double feature on same disc) and Halloweentown High. Plus, the DVD debut of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Get ready to sing on September 20th with a whole bunch of Disney Sing Along Songs releases: Disneyland Fun, Beach Party at Walt Disney World, Campout at Walt Disney World, Flik’s Musical Adventure, Sing a Song with Pooh Bear and Piglet and The Lion King; for Playhouse Disney fans, we have two new Rolie-Polie Olie titles (The Great Defender of Fun and The Baby Bot Chase) and two new Stanley titles (Spring Fever and Hop To It); for older kids there’s Robert Rodriguez’s 3-D superhero flick The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl; and for grown-ups we have the Christian Slater/LL Cool J actioner Mindhunters and the Unrated Collector’s Edition Scary Movie 3.5.
  • You’ll be seeing double on September 27th with the release of two new holiday editions from the Classic Cartoon Favorites line: Classic Holiday Stories and Holiday Celebration with Mickey and Pals, plus another double feature: the original The Parent Trap and, for the first time of DVD, The Parent Trap II.

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-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logo by William C Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics

Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ...

Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.

The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted August 19, 2005

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