Friday, July 03, 2009

Tonight's Movie: The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

One of my fun goals this summer, along with doing things we've never done before at Disneyland, is to watch some Disney movies I've never seen. In some cases I've seen a lot of a particular movie in bits and pieces, when my children watched it, but I've never sat down myself and deliberately watched the film from start to finish. This was the case with THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, an amusing animated comedy first released in 2000. I enjoyed watching the film in its entirety with my kids today.

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE is the story of Kuzco (David Spade), an ultra-spoiled emperor who is turned into a llama when he fires his evil assistant Yzma (Eartha Kitt). Kuzco finds an unexpected ally in Pacha (John Goodman), a peasant Kuzco had just evicted from his mountaintop home. As Pacha and Kuzco search for the antidote which will turn Kuzco back into a man, Kuzco learns some important lessons about being kind to others.

An Amazon review describes this relatively brief 78-minute Disney movie as "Disney on a diet" -- it's short and there's not a lot to the plot, but what's there is fun. The movie has a creative script and excellent voice work, particularly by Patrick Warburton as Yzma's lunky aide Kronk. (Warburton is familiar to Disneyland fans as the captain in the introductory movie for Soarin' Over California.) Warburton's Kronk made me chuckle out loud on several occasions.

Wendie Malick is also effective as Pacha's spunky wife Chicha. John Fiedler, the longtime voice of Piglet, has a couple scenes as an elderly man.

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE is a smart, sassy film with the added bonus of a nice moral lesson. It's not top-drawer Disney, but it has much to recommend it and it's worth checking out if you've never seen it. The Disney movie it's closest to in tone is probably ALADDIN.

The film was directed by Mark Dindal.

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE has been released as a single-disc or 2-Disc DVD set. It had a single-disc reissue a few years after the initial DVD release.

The movie was also released on VHS.


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