1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #40: The Emperor's New Groove

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #40: The Emperor's New Groove

Disney Movie Review: 40/52 - The Emperor's New Groove

Ryan Dosier - Of the three films released by Disney animation in the year 2000, by far the sharpest, funniest, and strongest is The Emperor’s New Groove. Just saying the name of this film invokes laughter in the minds of some millennials. New Groove is one of the most distinct Disney films that is totally different from anything else ever produced by the studio. The humor, timing, and charm of this film cannot be denied or stopped. It is relentless.

The story in the film is an excellent buddy comedy. The evolving friendship between Kuzco and Pacha is wonderful. They are one of the funniest pairs in Disney history and deserve a lot more attention than they receive. The duo of David Spade and John Goodman is wonderful. I’ve never enjoyed David Spade more than in this role. He is truly suited for voice acting and clearly loved the role of the spoiled brat Kuzco. Goodman once again shows how adept he is at voicing lovable characters and he is absolutely terrific as Pacha. 

But the duo that completely steals the show is that of Yzma and Kronk. The villain and her hapless sidekick are absolutely phenomenal in this film. Yzma, voiced by the great Eartha Kitt, is one of the most hysterical and inept Disney villains and by far one of the most entertaining. Kronk, voiced by Patrick Warburton, is also excellent and adorable. Their interactions are ridiculous and magnificent—incredibly hard not to enjoy.

The Emperor’s New Groove is also the goofiest and zaniest Disney animated feature. The plot takes a back seat to quips and sarcastic jabs that totally steal the show. The dialogue is outstanding, the humor superb, and the gags phenomenal. New Groove never stops unloading joke after joke and great line after great line. The delivery and timing of everything in the film is top notch.

The design work in the film is also gorgeous. The influence of Incan culture can be seen all around Kuzco’s palace and kingdom. The crazy shapes and forms thrown around in Yzma’s laboratory and in the other creatures and characters and props in the film are truly awesome. No other Disney film has looked like The Emperor’s New Groove either. 

The animation is strong as always. Kuzco as both a llama and a human is animated beautifully. He has the funniest movements in the film. Yzma has outstanding facial expressions that elevate her comedy even further. She grimaces and grins and grouses in an outstanding way. Just watching her move is truly amazing. All of the characters are animated perfectly.

Humor is far and away the film’s strongest trait. It misses out on some of the emotional points seen in other Disney features, but it almost doesn’t matter since you never stop laughing. The relationship between Pacha and his wife and kids is amazing, but not given enough time in the film to truly develop into something that transcends the film. Kuzco and Pacha’s friendship is the emotional core and the end leaves us with a satisfying conclusion, but their friendship never reaches the high point of, say, Aladdin and the Genie.

On the whole, The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the funniest, most impressive, and most relentlessly entertaining Disney animated films. The amount of humor jam-packed into less than an hour and a half is truly amazing. The Emperor’s New Groove is, in my opinion, the most underrated Disney animated feature. It deserves more attention, more merchandising, and more laughter. Emperor Kuzco demands it.

4.5/5 Spinach Puffs


  1. I love to watch the Emperor's New Groove. It is extremely entertaining and funny. However, when I think of "Disney" movies there are two negative traits: 1. there is nothing really emotional in the movie and 2. the animation is TOO simplistic. When I think of Disney movies I think 1. emotionally charged story and 2. realistic animation... Once again I love the movie but when I think of it as a "Disney" movie it just doesn't fit into what I think of as a Disney movie

    1. To be fair, it was orginally going to be a traditional Disney film called "kindom of the Sun". However, due to alot of changes in direction, (which was document unintentually into a unrelaese documentary on what would later be known as "Sweatbox"), it ended up becoming what we have here.