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Kuzco is a pompous brat
Who sings and talks about himself.
He isn’t popular for that,
But he’s the one with power and pelf,
And niceness he is clueless at.
Kuzco calls a village man
Named Pacha, who is big on heart,
To tell him of his birthday plan
To have his village torn apart
And build a mansion, since he can.
Kuzco next goes on to fire
Yzma, his advisor old.
She and henchman Kronk conspire
To steal the throne she’s craved to hold
Once they dispatch their selfish sire.
Kuzco drinks yet doesn’t die
But turns into a talking llama.
Kronk, since things have gone awry,
Then gives the emperor head trauma.
So Kronk is told to kill the guy.
Kuzco ends up in a cart
Which Pacha takes back to his town.
The peasant says his help will start
When Kuzco will not tear it down,
But he refuses, and they part.
Kuzco finds a panther pack,
But Pacha helps him from his bind.
The llama thinks he’s sharp as a tack
And lies that he has changed his mind,
So Pacha swears to take him back.
Kuzco, though, reveals his lie,
Before they both fall from a bridge.
They work together, or they try,
To climb back up onto a ridge,
And each assists the other guy.
Kuzco, who is hunger-prone,
And Pacha stop for lunch. Unfed,
The llama hears Yzma the crone
Announce she wanted Kuzco dead.
Depressed, he wanders off alone.
Kuzco’s cheered by Pacha’s aid,
And both depart for Yzma’s lair.
Though Yzma is by Kronk betrayed,
She tries to stop the motley pair
And hides the human brew she made.
Kuzco, Pacha, and the witch
Face off high up in comic style,
But, overcoming every hitch,
Our heroes get the potion vial.
Kuzco drinks the brew to switch.
Kuzco’s changed and shows goodwill
By not destroying Pacha’s town.
He finds he can enjoy life still,
And everybody parties down
With Kuzco on another hill.

Ending Disney’s streak of traditionally animated musicals in the 1990s, The Emperor’s New Groove was a completely different animal from previous classics like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan. It was straight-up buddy comedy with just the right amount of pathos. Possibly Disney’s funniest movie, The Emperor’s New Groove has more jokes, both visual and verbal, than you can shake a stick at. From Kronk’s ineptitude and his arguments with his shoulder angels to the continual comments about Yzma’s age, the laugh-out-loud moments just keep on coming throughout the 78-minute runtime. By the end, the filmmakers even throw in plot holes and serendipity just to point them out for a laugh.

The voice acting is also some of the best I’ve heard. David Spade is appropriately unlikable yet still funny as Kuzco the talking emperor llama (whose character change is quite satisfying), John Goodman is warm-heartedly sympathetic as Pacha, Eartha Kitt fills Yzma’s every line with scratchy-voiced charisma, and Patrick Warburton is an absolute hoot as Kronk, so much so that he got his own funny but not-as-good sequel in Kronk’s New Groove.

While it would have been nice to see the originally planned film, a typical Disney musical with songs by Sting, The Emperor’s New Groove nonetheless deserves a spot on my list just for the unceasing humor. I remember that Yzma’s transformation at the end left me in stitches the first few times I saw it. It may not be the instant classic that so many other Disney films were, but it’s entertaining from start to finish.

Best line: (Pacha, with Kuzco the llama dressed as a woman in a diner) “It’s our honeymoon.” (monotone waitress) “Bless you for coming out in public.”
VC’s best line: (Pacha) “What’d they look like?”
(Townsman #1) “Well, there was this big guy, and this older woman who was… well, how would you describe her?”
(Townsman #2) “Ah, scary beyond all reason?”
(Townsman #1) “Yeah, that’s it.”


Artistry: 3
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 7
Watchability: 7
Other (I just like other films better): -6
TOTAL: 34 out of 60

Next: #274: Hugo

© 2014 S. G. Liput