Series Intro: This is Part 40 of a multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors.
Official Title: The Emperor’s New Groove
Release: December 15, 2000 (Third Release this year!)
Running Time: 78 minutes
Estimated Cost: $100 million
Estimated Revenue: $169.33 million
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Kuzco is a vain emperor who loves his “groove,” and in the opening number he winds up throwing an old man out the window because he threw off Kuzco’s groove. After the opening number, we are simultaneously introduced to the two plot lines that run through the story: Pacha’s farm is going to be turned into Kuzcotopia (a summer house); and Yzma (Kuzco’s advisor) being fired and enacting her revenge. She turns Kuzco into a llama (thanks to the blundering Kronk who mixed up the poison with the llama potion). Llama Kuzco is knocked out and winds up going home with Pacha.
Pacha only agrees to help Kuzco return to the palace if Kuzco agrees not to tear down Pacha’s house. Kuzco doesn’t agree but Pacha’s good heart leads him to do the right thing. Kuzco and Pacha have several misadventures (almost being caught by Yzma and Kronk in a diner).
Once back at the palace, Kronk changes sides and is almost killed during a hilarious chase scene where Yzma’s potions turn Kuzco into several different animals (including Yzma into a kitty cat). After being returned to normal, Kuzco decides that Pacha’s farm isn’t the best location for Kuzcotopia (but he buys the neighboring farm). Kuzco, Pacha and Pacha’s family play in the farm land while Kronk is leading a scout troupe (with kitten Yzma as one of the scouts). And they all lived happily ever after.
Not a musical.
The score was great though, it still felt like a musical with the music actually still moving the plot along.
Plot Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This was a great movie! It was much more character driven than plot and the “buddy/buddy – film” was a nice break from the love stories that dominated the 90’s during the Disney Renaissance. There wasn’t an ounce of romance (other than Pacha saying he loved his wife, and even that was made fun of by Pacha himself).
In many ways this harkened back to Peter Pan. It was about the adventure of the heroes!
Animation Rating: 5 out of 5
WOW! Just wow! The traditional animation was, of course, on par with those of the 90’s, but the CG effects were absolutely amazing! I just couldn’t believe that this was the same company that just earlier this year released the horrid Fantasia 2000 and their crappy flying whales.
The Test of Time:
A sequel and two seasons of a prequel TV show, shows that Disney was still running on the Renaissance formula that their movies were hits and everyone wanted more. That just wasn’t the case with this movie (it barely broke even).
Despite the fact that this was my first viewing of this movie, I had seen the TV series and enjoyed it.
Through the Modern Lens
David Spade, really? Here is when Disney knew their films were heading south and were trying to bring in big names to voice their characters.
Although historically inaccurate (which Disney is actually accurate), I thought this film presented a socially enjoyable movie.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (I’ll finally figure out why it’s not just “Atlantis” - I always thought this was some sort of sequel.)