The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

emperors new groove poster 2000 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

A great comedy

Not the best Disney animation and a generic story with great dialogue

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Emperor’s New Groove

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  December 15, 2000

MPAA Rating:  G

emperors new groove quirrel llama

The movie that finally answers the question of which is more evil: A llama or a red squirrel
(The movie would lead you to believe it is a red squirrel…clearly they are wrong)

Emperor Kuzco has no attachment to his Incan people.  Ruling like a tyrant, Kuzco has ordered the destruction of Pacha’s home to build himself a new palace.  When Kuzco is accidentally transformed into a llama by his former advisor Yzma, Kuzco finds himself turning to Pacha for help.  Now Pacha and Kuzco must find a way to restore Kuzco and stop Yzma before she takes control of the kingdom.

Directed by Mark Dindal, The Emperor’s New Groove is the fortieth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series.  Following the computer animated Dinosaur also released in 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove originally was going to be a traditional Disney animated musical called Kingdom of the Sun (based around The Prince and the Pauper) but transformed as this film was made.  The movie was met with positive reviews but was less of a box office draw than Disney films of the ’90s.  The song “My Funny Friend and Me” was performed by Sting and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

emperors new groove kuzco pacha

I hate you

The Emperor’s New Groove isn’t your standard Disney movie.  While most Disney films go for straight jokes and classic set-ups, The Emperor’s New Groove is a very modern comedy that is very self-reflexive and even mocks Disney standards.  Some of the jokes are really cutting edge and very smart…something that Disney isn’t always known for…it was a pleasant surprise to see.

The basic premise for The Emperor’s New Groove is rather typical Disney fodder.  The arrogant, egotist emperor is transformed into a lowly llama and of course (over the course of the movie) learns his lesson.  What makes the movie a bit unique is that it isn’t treated a Disney movie, nor does it feel like a Pixar film.  It is a weird hybrid that kids probably can enjoy, but it feels more like a movie for adults.

The movie is aided by some really great vocal casting.  David Spade always is able to play arrogant and really give life to Kuzco.  He’s joined by two great straight-men in John Goodman as Pacha and Patrick Warburton as Kronk (Yzma’s bumbling assistant).  Eartha Kitt is also great as Yzma and taps into her past as Catwoman (with her transformation into an evil kitten).  Other fun voice actors include Wendy Malick as Pacha’s wife and Tom Jones as Kuzco’s “Theme Song Guy”.

emperors new groove ive been turned into a cow

The audacity of this cow to believe he should be excused when there is an octopus still willing to fight outside of its element.

The animation for The Emperor’s New Groove isn’t the most powerful animation, but it is always nice to see traditional animation when everything is so heavily computer animated now.  The character designs and the animation are rather standard, but they work for the story and enhance it.

I have to say The Emperor’s New Groove really surprised while entertaining me.  I went into the film thinking it was a typical Disney film with so-so animation and a goofy kid based story.  The movie instead is a really fun comedy that is possibly more for adults than for kids.  It almost made me forget that I hate llamas…almost.  The Emperor’s New Groove was followed by the straight-to-video Kronk’s New Groove in 2005 and a TV series The Emperor’s New School.  Disney followed The Emperor’s New Groove with Altantis:  The Lost Empire in 2001.

Related Links:

Kronk’s New Groove (2005)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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