A young, egocentric Incan Emperor who believes that the world revolves around him. A sensitive and slightly bumbling bodyguard who also happens to be a culinary genius. A diabolical and ancient advisor who wants the Sun Throne for herself. And a good-hearted village leader who tries to teach a royal upstart that people who aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths matter, too.
Put them in the Mixmaster, hit the frappé button, and you’ve got a colourful pastiche of characters and all the explosively funny ingredients for one fast-paced animated adventure called The Emperor’s New Groove.
Disney’s 40th animated feature is an obvious departure from its usual repertoire of animated classics, but I love this movie because it doesn’t take itself too seriously (The Emperor’s New Groove is also personally memorable because it was the last VHS format movie I bought before DVDs became the de facto medium of viewing movies at home).
What it lacks in gravitas, The Emperor’s New Groove makes up for with slick one-liners, zany action, and an ensemble cast of familiar voices and voice actors.
What happens when royal advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt, in one of her final roles) to Kuzco (David Spade) is fired for sitting on the throne (literally, not metaphorically), goes postal, but instead of poisoning the Emperor over dinner, accidentally turns him into a llama, and her bumbling lackey Kronk (Patrick Warburton), fails to dispatch said llama and loses him instead in the dangerous countryside, a region that is familiar to Pacha (John Goodman), the leader of a village that is destined to be leveled to the ground and re-made into the Kuczotopia holiday resort, the Emperor’s birthday present to himself?
It’s a comedy of errors that results as Pacha attempts to get Kuzco back to the palace, find the potion that will transform the llama back into the young Emperor, and stay a few steps ahead of the hot-on-their-heels duo of Yzma and Kronk. There is no end of funny in this movie, and if you need a few family-friendly chuckles, I recommend The Emperor’s New Groove.