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The Trumpet Of The Swan
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 75 minutes
Starring the voices of Jason Alexander, Mary
Steenburgen, Reese Whiterspoon, Seth Green, Carol Burnett,
Joe Mantegna, Little Richard
Screenplay by Judy Rothman Rofé
Based on the book by E.B. White
Directed by Terry L. Noss and Richard Rich
Retail Price: $24.95
Features: "Can You Guess The Sound?" Set Top Game,
Bonus Trailers, DVD-ROM
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full
Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround,
Spanish Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English
Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spainish Subtitles, Scene
Selections (28 Scenes)
Released: July 31st, 2001
Come now, my readers and let us go back down memory
lane... from me, at least. I remember reading "The Trumpet
Of The Swan" when I was in the fourth grade. I don't know
why, or what about it, but I enjoyed it a lot. I then
remember as a school assignment I had to write a sequel. In
typical Zach nature, it sounded much like a big budget
action movie. But now I'm getting off topic. In either case,
I was looking forward to revisiting the story in movie form,
as I did forget some of the story.
So what is the story? The story deals with alienation and
being different, and begins when three baby swans are born
to swan parents. However, one of their swan children, Louie,
can't speak at all. This causes some trouble for him, and
during some misadventures, Louie learns that he is special
and that despite his flaws that he can't help, his own voice
rings loud and clear to those around him.
Yep, it's a moral that all kids should learn... about
being different and accepting those different. Then there
that's other moral about how we are special in our own ways.
This movie is not bad by any means, but when you compare it
other studios who have churned out animated feature films,
or the mega Disney empire, it does pale in comparison.
Still, I do think children will enjoy it and it could be far
worse. The movie is also short, so it's rather a painless
experience for older ones who may be forced to subject this.
For a movie that went to video rather quickly and got
limited theatrical run, it did attract a pretty big name
voice cast. The cast here is pretty spectacular and give
much feeling and life to the characters. Jason Alexander,
who has done a lot of voice over work, does a strong job as
Louie's father. The likes of Mary Steenburgen, Joe Mantegna,
Seth Green and Carol Burnett also do good jobs. And while
Louie doesn't talk, he has a voice over voice for what he is
Still, I found a lot of the sensibilities from the book
lost, and jokes and little characters to appeal to kids.
That's not bad, but I suppose it's not being totally true to
the book. It loses some of the charm and feeling and adds
its own, and that can be good or bad depending on how you
look at it. The animation is decent and flows, but is not
highly detailed. There are also some cheesy, downright
If you're looking for something that isn't mindless to
let your kids watch, you can't go wrong here and they'll
probably enjoy it. Personally, I'd set them aside and read
the actual, far more superior book to them.
Columbia/Tri-Star has decided to please both camps as
they included a 1.33:1 full screen transfer and a 1.78:1
anamorphic widescreen transfer. While kids are sure to
prefer the full frame, it's nice that they included both.
Both transfers have great source prints, as I didn't notice
any blemishes, scratches or pieces of dirt. They're
spotless, and the animation looks rather rich with its bold
colors and smooth flow. Black levels and detail are good,
but the main problem with the transfers is that contrast is
way to high. It's not that annoying, but does ruin things to
some extent. Still, everyone should be pleased here.
An English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is included here, in
addition to Dolby Surround tracks in French and Spanish. The
5.1 mix here is rather good, as it gives off nice effects of
the birds flying, the loud crashes and probably most
importantly, the music. The music is well mixed through the
channels and gives a good experience. .1 LFE is surprisingly
good too. Overall, very pleasing. English subtitles and
closed captions are included on the release, plus Spanish
and French subtitles.
The DVD game Can You Guess The Sound? is strictly
for kids. It's a matching game. You hear a sound, you pick
the instrument and then get a congratulatory remark, and
then treated to live-action footage of the instrument being
played plus a fun fact. It's nice to teach kids about music.
We are treated to some Bonus Trailers. We get the
theatrical and teaser for "The Trumpet Of The Swan," and
trailers for "Stuart Little," "Buddy," "The Adventures of
Elmo in Grouchland," "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" and
finally, "Thomas and the Magic Railroad." Hey, might as well
Finally, another section for kids is the DVD-ROM
section. There, kids can get printable cut-out puppets,
printable coloring book pages and a nice supplement as far
as the story's themes, entitled "Who is unique?"
This is an animated film that won't win any awards or get
much notice, but if you liked the book or have kids, it's
worth looking into. While children will care less about the
nice transfer and good 5.1 mix, the features are rather
lacking, but the cheap price makes up for it. This is a
title worth looking into though for some decent family fare.
(3/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)