Flashback Review: The Emperor’s New Groove (Disney’s Flops Vol.1 #11)

After “Tarzan” marked the end of “The Disney Renaissance,” Disney worked on their next project. This time it’s a non-musical buddy comedy film filled with slapstick and witty dialogue starring David Spade & John Goodman as Kuzco & Pacha who must get along together in order to find a way to get the former back home after a failed attempted murder transformed him into a llama. The plot I’m referring to is “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove was released in 2000. (same year Gladiator came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Despite warm reception, film underperformed at the box office. Regardless as a box office disappointment, The Emperor’s New Groove eventually became a cult classic among young viewers who bought DVD/VHS copies. The Emperor’s New Groove spawned a spin-off sequel “Kronk’s New Groove” was released on DVD focusing Kronk, the lovable dimwitted henchman. A television series titled, “The Emperor’s New School” aired on Disney Channel from 2006-2008.

To prep up for Disney’s upcoming movies including the “Mulan” remake, “Artemis Fowl” “Jungle Cruise” among a few entries in development. I’d like to share what’s good or bad about The Emperor’s New Groove.

Today’s review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Does it still hold up? Let’s find out shall we? Keep in mind, this is a short review, because it’s not a grand scale epic like “The Lion King.”

Yay & Nay Elements

Yay: David Spade, John Goodman, Patrick Warburton & the late Eartha Kitt all did a decent job for their respective voiceover performances.

Fun Fact: Both David & Patrick went on to star in the Happy Madison produced sitcom, “Rules Of Engagement.”

Hand Drawn Animation is pretty darn good. Couldn’t spot any problems nor errors.

Humor has a bunch of laugh out loud moments that’ll cause you to pee your pants. Be sure to go to the bathroom before you watch. Gotta love slapstick and witty dialogue perfectly executed.

Yzma & Kronk are really fun to watch. Their chemistry is similar to the gangster duoRocky & Mugsy from “Looney Tunes.”

The film is full of memorable lines. Especially “Demon Llama.” That right that line made me laugh so hard it definitely deserves Bonus Points for giving me a belly ache.

Wait a second, the main character learns a moral lesson upon turning into an animal, this predates “Brother Bear.”

Somebody uses a frying pan for a weapon. Ten Years Later, Rapunzel uses one from “Tangled.”

Chemistry between Kuzco & Pacha served as the main highlight. Their interactions flesh out their friendship.

Tom Jones has a voiceover cameo singing Kuzco’s introduction. Tom later made a guest voiceover in “Duck Dodgers” when he and Daffy Duck swapped voices.

Without giving too give away, Character Development involving Kuzco. As the film progresses, he goes from a selfish narcissistic manchild to caring person who learns to accept responsibility.

The movie is self-aware. You know “Breaking The Fourth Wall?” It’s as if Deadpool wrote the script.

“The Police” frontman Sting wrote the song, “My Funny Friend And Me.”

Nay: A “we are through” cliche is used. I always hate that trope. In almost every buddy cop or romantic comedy, we know the pair will forgive each other, put aside their differences and move on. I find this cliche predictable.

The Final Verdict: A-

The Emperor’s New Groove is a decent Disney animated film. This gem remains as one of my favorite Disney movies growing up and it still holds up to this day. Performances, animation, humor, character development and fourth wall breaks indicate this is a must see for the whole family. If you want to introduce your kids to The Emperor’s New Groove, I highly recommend it.

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