Anthony's Film Review
The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
A wild and fun Disney adventure, not to mention wildly funny...
You can definitely count on Walt Disney animation to be fun for the whole family. Within this medium, Disney has explored plenty of genres, including fantasy, adventure, and musical. There's one genre that you might not expect Disney to do for an animated film but does work very well: comedy. That's what struck me about Disney's 2000 animated film The Emperor's New Groove. It's not a dramatic story like The Lion King or a musical like The Little Mermaid. It's a comedy. Yes, a Disney movie focusing a lot on jokes.
The first thing that's funny is the main characters. The central character (and I emphasize "central") is a selfish Incan emperor named Kuzco (David Spade). He is so selfish that he wants a swimming pool on top of a hill, even if he has to boot out the villagers who live there. As you can imagine, he's not well-liked. In fact, Yzma (Eartha Kitt) hates Kuzco enough to try to kill him. She, along with her sidekick Kronk (Patrick Warburton), attempts to poison Kuzco. Only one problem: she mistakenly uses a potion that turns someone into a llama.
Kronk does attempt to dispose of Kuzco, but Kuzco ultimately survives. The llama emperor ends up with llama herder Pacha (John Goodman). What follows is a crazy adventure to get Kuzco back to his throne and restore him to human form. Kuzco and Pacha face dangerous situations, including vicious animals, a waterfall, and an insecure suspension bridge. There are also touching moments as Pacha befriend Kuzco. Oh, did I mention that Pacha may be one of those villagers who could be evicted by Kuzco's hilltop swimming pool?
Let's remember. This is a comedy we're talking about. Every scene attempts to generate chuckles, not thrills, and that's probably a good thing. Imagine trying to make a Disney animated movie about an Incan emperor that is oriented in drama and music. It can be done (and from what I've been reading, it has been tried), but would it be as good as this final result of a comedy? Is there anything an audience member of any age can take away from an animated drama set in South America? Probably not much. So the animation team took the wise move of going for a feel-good comedy rather than a pointless drama.
Although the running time is relatively short at an hour and twenty minutes, there's plenty of good stuff in The Emperor's New Groove. I loved David Spade's comical voicework, and the various gags made me laugh. Some people might overlook this movie and assume it doesn't approach the status of a true Disney classic. You know what? It doesn't need to be. The only thing a Disney movie should do is to be entertaining from start to finish. The Emperor's New Groove certainly does that. That's all it matters.
For more information about The Emperor's New Groove, visit the Internet Movie Database.