Disney Classic number 39 is ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’; and I think a pretty good, funny Disney Classic at that. Basically, an arrogant, big-headed, self-absorbed Emperor gets a curse put on him, albeit the wrong curse, one that turns him into a llama. It sounds completely ridiculous, and it is, but it is a Disney film and it is comical.
The evil villain in this film is Yzma (Eartha Kitt), an older woman who wants the power of the empire. Her sidekick is Kronk (Patrick Warburton), someone rather stupid and childish, which adds to the comedy. When Yzma’s plan to poison the emperor and take his power fails, after Kronk accidentally chooses the wrong potion, Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) is turned into a llama. When told to get rid of the now llama Emperor, Kronk loses him on the cart of a kind family man peasant, Pacha (John Goodman). Most of the film then is the journey back to the palace, where many things go wrong and Pacha decides to save Kuzco’s life and helps him get back home; it’s on this journey where Kuzco needs to learn new lessons about his selfish personality and how he is perceived to other people. It is a Disney film after all.
There is a narrator for this film, this being the Emperor Kuzco. The film is clever where it starts the narration from the middle of the film, where Kuzco is already a llama, then tells the story of how he got there; this makes the film more intriguing, and also something that isn’t really seen in many Disney films, which makes it different. Kuzco introduces the characters and the plot, but all from his own point of view and his very selfish biased opinion, where he paints himself as the betrayed victim, but the audience sees the reality. This is how the film exaggerates Kuzco’s personality to portray the moral of the film more predominantly; for example when Kuzco stops the film to talk to the audience to tell him that the story is about him and him only, and to ignore the story that involves Pacha. Just like all Disney films, the moral is the most important aspect of the film; this one being that you have to be nice to people in order to get things from them and live a happier life.
‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ is definitely different from other Disney films. There isn’t any romantic story, or making you pine for the main character to get his girl. Instead, it’s more based upon a new friendship between Kuzco and Pacha, no matter how much they resist and argue. Most predominantly, there is also the element of becoming a better person by being thrown into a bad situation and noticing that nobody helps. For this reason that it is so different, I think it is a brilliant Disney film; it’s not repetitive or alike to others. I know not all Disney films are the romantic ones, but you’d be surprised how many are or at least have a thread of romantic hope in it, but ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ isn’t one; and that’s what I like about the film.
I also like the characters, there is a definite range of personalities to enjoy in this film. Personally, Pacha is my favourite, he is the kind, forgiving type, one who always tries what he can for other people; it is the character of Pacha that contrasts to Kuzco so much. The character Kuzco is also likeable, as it’s following his story, the audience learns more about him; he is quite funny as well. Then there’s the constant angry, evil old Yzma, who no one feels sorry for and she is quite predominantly labelled the villain. But remember this is a kid’s film, so this is done so they understand who to trust and not to. Then finally, the comical stupid Kronk, but what’s great about him is that he is intelligent but not in the aspects for what Yzma wants, so makes a dumb evil sidekick. They also use the devil and angel on the shoulder for Kronk, so the audience understands that he is a good character, just caught on the wrong side.
Of course, there is comedy in the film. Personally, I do think it is funny; however, it’s not a hold your side constant laughter film, but just moments of light humour, for example when things go ironically wrong. This makes the feel better to watch; besides it has to have some humour in it as it can’t be a complete serious film for children.
I would recommend this film, I think it is a light-hearted, moral-driven, feel-good film. Also, it’s not only a moral for children, but for adults as well, making it an enjoyable family film. Besides it Disney!