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Movie Reviews

The Emperor's New Groove  

(voices) Kuzco (David Spade)
Pacha (John Goodman)
Yzma (Eartha Kitt)
Kronk (Patrick Warburton)
Chicha (Wendy Malick)

Directed by Mark Dindal Written by David Reynolds, based on the story by Chris Williams and Mark Dindal
Rated G Running Time: 78 minutes Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
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The Emperorís New Groove is a wacky and funny animated film. In a large kingdom in South America lives a very cocky and heartless emperor named Kuzco (Spade). The emperor is so highly stuck-on himself that he fires anyone that unknowingly interrupts him. Like Yzma (Kitt), who the emperor fires shortly after the film starts for sitting in his chair. Yzma was second in command and the advisor to the emperor before she was fired. However, the emperor doesnít nearly expect what she has in store for him, which is to poison him. But first enters Pacha (Goodman), who is a kind hearted family man and peasant that has come to discuss and maybe change the emperorís mind about building Kuzcotopia. Kuzcotopia is the emperorís new-in-progress Water Park for himself, which he intends to build on the mountain where Pacha currently lives. The emperor turns the humble peasant away in an arrogant and rude manner. Later that night, Ymza attempts to poison the young emperor, but mistakenly turns him into a llama. One thing turns into another, and Kuzco finds himself away from his kingdom and nowhere to go. The only person willing to help him regain his throne, kingdom, and his body is the simple man he turned his back on, Pacha.

The Emperorís New Groove is not a typical animated Disney film. It doesnít have the grace or power of its past animated films like The Lion King. However, this film is enjoyable and very funny.

David Reynolds wrote this story from the original idea by Chris Williams and Mark Dindal. The script is really comprised of no structure except ways to make you laugh. There is a moral story of friendship and realization, but it doesnít stand still long enough to take much affect. Though the script seems to be thrown together, it still works steadily with its comedic lines and situations.

I did learn that this film was once a project for Disney with a different type of content. The original outline for the film was supposedly not a comedy or a musical, but a dark drama. However, Michael Eisner (Disneyís top dog) pulled the plug and the story was almost completely killed. Obviously, someone then stepped in and revised the film into a comedy. Disney did lose some money with the earlier version on storyboards, production art, and songs that were written and performed by Sting. Luckily, the story was changed for the better (children) and Sting agreed to revamp the songs to set well in this version.

As always with Disney features, there are recognizable voices that contribute effectively in the film. John Goodman as Pacha and Eartha Kitt as Yzma were perfect casts for the characters. I am not a big fan of David Spade because most of the time I find him very annoying. In which, his character Kuzco, is annoying and Spade becomes a good choice for the voice.

I believe that everyone in the family will laugh at this film. There are many obvious jokes for the children and even have a couple of inside jokes for the adults. Though the animation isnít the typical state of the art and the script isnít really tapped or polished, The Emperorís New Groove is still a fun film to watch.

Report Card Grade: B-

Beastmanís Movie Reviews
Copyright, 2000 Joseph C. Tucker

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