Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Emperor's New Groove (2000) Film Review
Disney cartoons were in danger of overdosing on saccharine. Not any more.
The Emperor's New Groove has a sharp comic edge, almost cynical in tone, with soft-hearted nice guys wet behind the ears and a wicked woman who makes Cruella de Vil look benevolent. The script is garnished with camp Californian humour, which may go over the heads of younger kids, and there's a whiff of originality in the air. The only nod to traditional values is Sting's musical interludes, thankfully kept to a minimum.
Kuzco is the teenage Emperor of some mythical kingdom, who makes the most of his position by taking selfishness to the limit and indulging every whim - girls are not one of them. His political right hand is Yzma, a power-crazed hag, adept at magic potions. When trying to poison her boss, she mixes up the phials and changes him into a llama.
He escapes on the flat bed of a cart, belonging to Pacha, a gentle peasant, who has come to the city to plead for his village, destined to be destroyed to make way for the Emperor's new holiday home.
Yzma and her faithful hunk of a servant, who prefers cooking to fighting, give chase. Kuzco persuades Pacha to take him back to the palace, in order to raid Yzma's phial drawer for the llama antidote, not letting on that he has no intention of changing his demolition plans.
For once, you don't feel you have been here before. The animation is excellent and the repartee barbed. David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton handle vocals. They don't put a vowel wrong.
Sentimentality has been banished, in favour of wit. Older kids will love it.Reviewed on: 09 Mar 2001