The Emperor’s New Groove
- David Spade as Emperor Kuzco
- John Goodman as Pacha
- Eartha Kitt as Yzma
- Patrick Warburton as Kronk
A fresh take on the buddy genre with a moral lesson at the centre, The Emperor’s New Groove is a funky entry into the Disney canon that is often overlooked in my view. Why it is I’m not sure because it has humour, eccentric characters and some excellent voice work.
Kuzco is the selfish, bratty emperor of an Incan Empire. He has no patience for anyone and is always used to getting his own way. He summons Pacha, the leader of a nearby village to inform him that his town will be destroyed for the building of an amusement park for Kuzco. Angry and dejected, Pacha is uncertain of what to do. But he isn’t the only person that Kuzco has rubbed the wrong way. His power-hungry advisor/sorceress Yzma is left bitterly angry when she is fired for attempting to assume Kuzco’s position. Rather than just take being fired nicely, Yzma along with her dim-witted sidekick Kronk, concoct a plan to kill Kuzco. This in turn will elevate the malicious Yzma to the role of Empress. Their plan backfires when the potion to kill Kuzco is misplaced and he drinks a potion which transforms him into a llama. Kronk whilst trying to get rid of Kuzco accidentally loses him and he ends up in the hands of Pacha. Although they are initially belligerent towards one another, Kuzco and Pacha eventually develop a friendship as they take the hazardous journey back to the palace through the jungle. This is whilst being chased by Yzma and Kronk after the revelation that Kuzco isn’t dead emerges. Through his friendship with Pacha, Kuzco begins to change as a person and considers the effects of his selfish needs. Laughs, groovy music and memorable characters make The Emperor’s New Groove a treat that the whole family can enjoy.
Firstly, the animation is superb as is to be expected by Disney. In this movie they craft some excellent scenes of Kuzco and Pacha travelling through the dangerous jungles. The script is razor-sharp and full of hilarious lines, especially in the form of Yzma’s. Interestingly the humour is funny for children but also manages to be appealing to older people in the audience. The music is fresh and comical in equal measure.
What really gives The Emperor’s New Groove spark is the talented voice cast. David Spade nails the role of the arrogant Kuzco, and his many extravagant and eccentric antics are really funny to watch. John Goodman provides the suitably kind but firm voice of Pacha, who eventually begins to break through to Kuzco’s kinder nature. Stealing the show has to be Eartha Kitt, whose slinky voice and flair for theatricality lead to some great comical scenes. Whether barking orders at the put-upon Kronk, mistakenly bragging about her supposed beauty(which no one seems to see) or plotting the many ways she should eliminate Kuzco, Yzma is a hoot of a villain. Patrick Warburton gives the character of Kronk a soft heart that often leads him into trouble when it comes to going through with the many heinous plans of Yzma. Yzma and Kronk are the two characters that really stick in the imagination because of the humour involved in their scenes. Just watch the scene in the jungle when Kronk confers with a squirrel and Yzma tries to gain knowledge of Kuzco’s whereabouts and you will see the hysterical humour on show.
So if it’s a funny moral story mixed with elements of the buddy genre and comedy that you’re looking for, The Emperor’s New Groove is the film you should watch.