Today, I wanted to talk about an underrated Disney movie: The Emperor’s New Groove. Before we get into anything, let’s start with a quick plot recap:
In this animated comedy from the folks at Disney, the vain and cocky Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) is a very busy man. Besides maintaining his “groove”, and firing his suspicious administrator, Yzma (Eartha Kitt), he’s also planning to build a new waterpark just for himself for his birthday. However, this means destroying one of the villages in his kingdom. Meanwhile, Yzma is hatching a plan to get revenge and usurp the throne. But, in a botched assassination courtesy of Yzma’s right-hand man, Kronk (Patrick Warburton), Kuzco is magically transformed into a llama. Now, Kuzco finds himself the property of Pacha, a lowly llama herder whose home is ground zero for the water park. Upon discovering the llama’s true self, Pacha offers to help resolve the Emperor’s problem and regain his throne, only if he promises to move his water park.
A bit of background
The Emperor’s New Groove was released in 2000 by Walt Disney and it can be best classed as a buddy comedy film. It’s actually Disney’s 40th animated feature film, directed by Mark Dindal with a script by David Reynolds. The voices are sure to sound familiar, with David Spade as the Emperor, John Goodman as his buddy Pacha, Eartha Kitt as the evil schemer Yzma, Patrick Warburton as her sidekick Kronk and it even features Sir Tom Jones.
Development for the movie began back in 1994 as a dramatic musical before it was reoriented to a lighthearted comedy a few months later. It didn’t do too well at the box office, but the movie found larger success when it was released on DVD, becoming the best-selling DVD of 2001. It got favourable reviews from critics all round and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “My Funny Friend and Me” by Sting. A sequel Kronk’s New Groove was released in 2005 and a two-season TV-show The Emperor’s New School between 2006 and 2008.
I really liked this movie because I felt like it was a bit edgier than the usual cookie-cutter Disney princess movie. And it also shows in the reviews and approval ratings which were rather well, better than the Disney movies that were released before it. I also like that it has humouristic touches for the entire family, on different levels. It has great comedic timing and includes slapstick comedy reminiscent of the Looney Tunes.
I am also a fan of deep voices, so I loved Patrick Warburton’s rendition of Kron. (I also think he’s a great actor besides his voice, don’t worry). I also thought Spade’s voice was perfect in the role of the over-indulgent and selfish emperor who needs to learn his lesson. And it was offset with John Goodman’s slow, jovial voice. They make the perfect duo. And of course, who doesn’t love llamas?
Definitely a must-see in my book!