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The Emperor's New Groove


After Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000 both released in the summer of 2000.  Disney released a third film that December called Emperor’s New Groove.  Continuing the attempt to bring in big name celebs this one had David Spade, Patrick Warburton, and John Goodman.  They utilized the musical talents of Sting to try and bring in the big chart-topping song.


This one was an original story that they started to develop in 1994.  It was Kingdom of the Sun and was a take on Prince and the Pauper.  This was on the heels of the success of the Lion King.  The focus on Africa in the Lion King gave way to focus on some South American ancient culture.  The story was to be big and grand and focus on culture like Pocahontas and Hunchback.  But the disappointing box offices of those films caused Disney to change directions to a more kid friendly comedy rather than a huge epic.


Today this film has a little bit of representation in Disney.  It had a couple of video games, an appearance on House of Mouse, and a roller coaster at Tokyo DisneySea took inspiration from the film for the architecture.  It is still a fan favorite if a bit forgotten.  At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party I have personally seen a few people dressed up as Kronk and Yzma.  I’ve also seen a few Pachas during the Disney Marathon weekend.  There is also constant chatter about the possibility of a roller coaster imitating the way Yzma and Kronk get into their lab.


The movie is cute.  It is a huge departure from the last few.  There is little in the way of serious story with strong emotions and instead went the route of over-the-top humor with unbelievable situations.  The film leans so heavily on extreme situations that it almost feels like a parody of a Disney movie. 


The characters are back to the one-dimensional creations of earlier Disney films.  Kuzco is selfish, Pacha is generous, Yzma is power hungry, Kronk is dumb…


The animation is again stylized similar to Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan.  Lots of angles and square shapes.  Unlike the others this one brings that style beyond the characters and into the backgrounds.  There are lots of impossible and improbable shapes for buildings, natural elevations, and furniture.


The music is forgettable and again, not synced well with the story.  It has the same feel as Tarzan where the music is made for the music as opposed to a true musical where the songs are made for the action.


Overall, this is a fun, fun movie.  It lacks a serious side, so it isn’t a great film by any means, but as a cartoon being compared to things like Looney Tunes, this is a smash hit in my mind.  It does lack the Disney magic that so many others have, it isn’t well represented in the parks, and it was too much for one year being the third film that year. 




Run Time – 78 Minutes


73rd Academy Awards – 1 Nomination

Best Original Song – “My Funny Friend and Me” – Nominated


Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality

1. Beauty and the Beast 9-29-1991

2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 6-21-1996

3. Lady and the Tramp 6-22-1955

4. Aladdin 11-25-1992

5. Tarzan 6-18-1999

6. Mulan 6-19-1998

7. Peter Pan 2-5-1953

8. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 3-11-1977

9. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1-25-1961

10. The Lion King 6-15-1994

11. Hercules 6-13-1997

12. The Emperor’s New Groove 12-15-2000

13. Dumbo 10-23-1941

14. The Fox and the Hound 7-10-1981

15. Oliver and Company 11-18-1988

16. Cinderella 2-15-1950

17. The Little Mermaid 11-17-1989

18. Pinocchio 2-7-1940

19. Sleeping Beauty 1-29-1959

20. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949

21. The Jungle Book 10-18-1967

22. The Great Mouse Detective 7-2-1986

23. Fantasia 2000 6-16-2000

24. Robin Hood 11-8-1973

25. The Rescuers Down Under 11-16-1990

26. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946

27. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947

28. Dinosaur 5-19-2000

29. The Aristocats 12-11-1970

30. Pocahontas 6-23-1995

31. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937

32. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942

33. The Sword in the Stone 12-25-1963

34. The Rescuers 6-22-1977

35. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951

36. The Black Cauldron 7-24-1985

37. Melody Time 5-27-1948

38. Bambi 8-13-1942

39. Fantasia 11-13-1940

40. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944




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