The Emperor’s New Groove (6/4/12)

Emperor's New GrooveMovie One Hundred Thirty Six

In Walt Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, a young Peruvian emperor has to learn how to be a better person after being turned into a llama.

Kuzco (David Spade) is the spoiled bratty emperor of ancient Peru that wants to build his summer house on the hill that Pacha (John Goodman) lives on. Soon after, Kuzco’s advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt) decides to poison him with the help of her assistant, Kronk (Patrick Warburton), to control the empire. Instead of poison, the two use a potion that turns Kuzco into a llama and Kuzco is disposed of. He then has to make his way back to defeat Yzma, right his former wrongdoings, and also turn back into a human.

Say what you will of the quality of Disney’s animated films from the past 15 years, but for me, The Emperor’s New Groove is one of my favorite Disney animated features ever. If you’re wondering why, I would assume that means you haven’t seen it and I can’t say I blame you. Even Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame got more marketing and sustainability while poor Emperor’s New Groove was released and quickly forgotten. I’m sure its troubled development is largely to blame. It’s a simple film that I find pretty hilarious that also has a great artistic style and soundtrack.

While the film is not up to the level of quality of say, Lion King or Aladdin, but The Emperor’s New Groove doesn’t seem to try to be those films. It is unique enough that it’s almost surprising it’s Disney. Even as an almost-thirty year old that has seen it several times, I laugh out loud during multiple scenes. Most of the credit belongs to the amazing cast assembled. David Spade is the obvious weak link, especially since he is in the lead, but his personality and mannerisms transfer perfectly to the character, even if you aren’t a fan of his.

I love proselytizing in the case of The Emperor’s New Groove mostly because no one else seems to. Very few people I know are even familiar with this lost gem of the Disney catalog so I feel it’s my duty to recommend it. There are few films quite like it, even if the story is taken from the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, the spin put on The Emperor’s New Groove is fresh.

I give it 4 multi-linguistic “Boom, baby!”s out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


19 responses to “The Emperor’s New Groove (6/4/12)

  1. Good review, Andy. I haven’t seen this one yet, so you can count me among those who probably needed some proselytizing to check it out. They really surrounded Spade with a lot of talent, didn’t they? Goodman, Kitt, Warburton… all very solid character actors.

    • After seeing it, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing the voices. The characters seem almost tailored to them without being characterizations of them, if you know what I mean.
      I do hope you get a chance to see it and I hope that my gushing doesn’t oversell it.

  2. I have always been a big fan of this film, along with one of my best friends. I’m glad there is another person out there who loves it as much as we do. Keep spreading the word!

  3. I remember seeing this when I was younger, and enjoyed it. I haven’t seen it since, but still have good memories of it, even though it’s far from being a Disney classic like Pinocchio or Beauty and the Beast. Good review.

  4. Great review, Andy! It’s so awesome that you chose to write about this one because I fucking love it! I agree, it’s very unique and funny and it should be more well known. I actually prefer it in Spanish. I hate when they dub films, but the dubbing in Spanish is so great. The actress who voiced Yzma was so damn good!

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  6. “The Emperor’s New Groove is one of my favorite Disney animated features ever.”

    Same here. I saw this a million times when I was a pre-teen. lol. It’s absolutely hilarious. Looking forward to seeing it again. I love the chase sequences.

  7. Lol, I had a terrible band teacher in high school who ended up showing us this movie like ten times to kill time, so it’s definitely got that nostalgia appeal going for it. I watched it again recently and was happy to find that I still enjoyed it just as much, now if david spade could only be animated in real life…

    Good review, I always like it when critics have a sense of fun with their choice in movies instead of just judging everything as if it’s supposed to be The Godfather Part II

    • That’s kind of an odd choice to show during band but I would have looked forward to watching this one over and over during school. It’s a shame that Spade has never come close to his role as Kuzco again.

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