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By Heather Wadowski | May 11, 2001

Why is it that the older people get, the more they think they are above animated features? Sure, not all feature length cartoons were intended for an audience over five, but if Walt Disney Pictures taught studios anything, it’s that kids and adults enjoy a good story — live-action or animated. The only problem is studios other than Disney have had difficulty figuring out how to create an animated feature that caters to both children and adults. So when a cartoon comes along that is both smart enough to entertain those in the audience who don’t know all the breeds of a Pokemon, it’s worth noting. Tri-Star Pictures “The Trumpet of the Swan” is one of those films.
“The Trumpet of the Swan” is based on the E.B. White children’s novel and focuses on a mute trumpeter swan named Louie. He learns to play a trumpet his father stole for him in order to “have” a voice. However, when Louie sees how distraught his father is over having to steal the instrument, Louie makes a pact with himself to run away and not return until he earns enough money to pay his father back.
Featuring the voices of Jason Alexander, Reese Witherspoon, Seth Green and Carol Burnett, “The Trumpet of the Swan” will appeal to both kids and the young at heart. Similar to most Disney animated features, it works hard at having humor in the film directed towards both the adults and the kids to keep everyone entertained. However, for every joke targeted toward adults, there are three cute, cuddly characters and two kiddie jokes that will keep the youngsters entertained enough so that they don’t question the adult humor in the film.
“The Trumpet of the Swan” isn’t just a film focusing on making the audience laugh, however. Themes center on what it’s like to be different from the universal standard for normal — or in Louie’s case being “defective” — and protecting the Earth’s endangered species.
The film is not without its flaws. The musical numbers are tedious. Whoever believes that EVERY animated feature has to be a musical, needs to watch A Bug’s Life. In fact, none of the songs actually do much to advance the plotline, which is a shame since E.B White’s “Charlotte’s Web” made use of its musical numbers perfectly — they never once seemed thrown in.
Despite this, “The Trumpet of the Swan” is entertaining and worth seeing if you want to see a heartwarming story with a touch of humor. It’s one of those rare animated features that gives all non-Disney cartoons some hope that maybe one day adults will flock to see them without a kid in hand.

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