STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes
Deleted Scenes
Rascal Flatts Music Video
Sting’s "Making The Music Video" Featurette
Behind the Scenes Featurettes
Feature Commentary

The first time I saw The Emperor’s New Groove it was the Sunday night feature on ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney. Having never seen it before I found most of the jokes at least a little humorous (others quite funny) and walked away from the experience pleased. Question was – would it hold up on repeat viewings?

The Flick

In New Groove, David Spade provides the voice for the haughty, arrogant jerk-of-an-emperor named Kuzco (not that big of a stretch for Spade, as most all of his roles involve him being a haughty, arrogant jerk). Kuzco lives his life via his "groove." I don’t really know what his "groove" is, as it’s only mentioned once in the entire film and they never bother to explain it, although apparently the punishment for disrupting his groove is being thrown out of a window. So, take that for what it’s worth.

Emperor of the dance!
Apparently, the Emperor’s new groove was riverdancing, which, ironically, was neither new or all that groovy

In Kuzco’s service is his advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt), a dinosaur of a "woman" who has her sights set on Kuzco’s throne. In her aid is the standard loveable oaf, Kronk (Patrick Warburton). Kronk is a good guy by all accounts, just a little too dumb to realize what Yzma’s using him for. Rounding out the main cast is Pacha (John Goodman), the representative of the village of which Kuzco is emperor.

The story breakdown is as follows: Kuzco fires Yzma as his advisor as she’s always trying to do his job. He also has his sights set on Pacha’s property as the build-site for his new summer home ("Kuzcotopia"), so he summons Pacha to the palace to break the news. Meanwhile, Yzma, still pissed off from her being handed the pink-slip, conspires with Kronk to kill Kuzco via magical potion so she can assume his seat. The plan backfires, Kuzco’s turned into a llama and ends up on Pacha’s cart as he’s headed back to his home. The real story begins when Pacha realizes who he’s brought home and Yzma realizes Kuzco’s not dead. So the race is on as Pacha has to bring Kuzco back to the palace so he can change back and reclaim his throne before Yzma and Kronk catch up to them and finish the job they started. It’s not as convoluted on screen as I seem to want to make it out to be. Anyway…

This year’s hot new European fashion trend? Dilophosaurus, baby!

As I said before, the first time I watched this I enjoyed it. The jokes were fresh and I was fairly entertained. So, naturally when the opportunity came to review I gladly accepted. Well, not entirely the best choice, as it turns out. I know a lot of people who really like this movie and I can totally understand why, but, for me, upon repeat viewing, this totally fell flat. The jokes seemed to only be funny once (maybe mildly amusing twice) and because there are so many of them it was easy for me to be distracted from the other problems this movie has.

What problems? Well for starters, the voice acting. None of the actors really appeared to give an effort. David Spade played the same pompous ass that he…well…is. Patrick Warburton played the same Puddy/Tick character he always plays (with the exception of his shoulder angel & devil. Those are great) and Eartha Kitt was Eartha Kitt. John Goodman was the better of the four, but that isn’t saying a lot. He added a little more "thoughtful inflection" to his voice but that’s about it. The only reason I call that a "problem" is that these are all fairly recognizable voices and when Kuzco talks you don’t hear Kuzco – you hear David Spade. It sort of pulls you out of the moment. Aside from the voice acting, the story was…well…I don’t know what the word is. Okay, for example, Kuzco basically tells Pacha "I’m tearing down your house and there’s nothing you can do about it…fuck you and fuck your family. Why? Because you’re a peasant." Kuzco was so ruthless, so…evil to Pacha that it’s almost offensive to see Pacha actually help Kuzco get back to the palace. Now I know – it’s a movie about growth and change and good conquering all, blah blah blah. That’s all well and fine but it was hard for me to get behind that notion after seeing what a reprehensible ass Kuzco was at the beginning. It made Pacha look weak and I just didn’t buy the complete transformation. But that’s just me.

There’s no mistaking the face of a man who’s listening to Back in Black.

6.0 out of 10

The Look

Very, very nice. Especially for traditional animation. The colors are vibrant and come through brilliantly. You really can’t expect any less from a new Disney movie, so it’s hard to be impressed, per se, but it’s definitely very pretty.

7.0 out of 10

Tent pitcher!
Yeah…that’s real subtle

The Noise

Well here ya go, audiophiles! You can choose from Dolby & DTS 5/1 tracks! Personally, I can’t really tell a difference but I know some of you can so there you have it. Now, whichever track you choose, you should be pleased. Everything’s evenly mixed, nothing’s over modulated or intrusive and there are plenty of nifty little sound effects and environmental sounds to give your satellites a healthy workout.

8.0 out of 10

Happiest Place on Earth
It was hard for Yzma to be happy as she knew this picture would cost her $29.95. Damn Disney Land and their In-Ride cameras.

The Goodies

Ok, so earlier I was listing the problems I had with the film. I have another problem with this DVD, but it didn’t involve the film itself so I’ll name it here: The New Groove Edition is, in fact, the third edition of The Emperor’s New Groove on DVD. Yeah – a triple-dip. With all the brilliant movies getting crap treatment or not even getting the DVD treatment at all, The Emperor’s New Groove has three editions. Why three? Good question, when it was originally released in ’01, it was the standard single-disc set. Then it was (expectedly) re-packaged and re-released as a 2-Disc Ultimate Groove Edition. More features, snazzy cover art, your basic "Collector’s Edition." So, again, why a third? I don’t know. I even did a little digging and couldn’t find an answer. What bonuses you have were lifted from the Ultimate Groove Edition and the only thing new is a trailer for the new Kronk Movie (Cleverly titled Kronk’s New Groove).

Eat some ham!
Tired of being called a "fat lard," Tina went in search of a more welcoming family

As far as the extras themselves? Nothing spectacular. Some deleted scenes with commentary, a self-described "Action Packed" Set-Top game that is anything but, some fluff about Sting and the song he wrote for the movie, and some featurettes that, while informative, are recycled and that just bugs the hell out of me. There’s also a music video that teaches kids how to do the "Llama Llama." Take that as you will. The whole damn set of extras is recycled, and there’s still no discussion of the film’s origins, which is actually a semi-interesting story (look up Disney’s Kingdom of the Sun for details).

Triple-Dip, indeed.

0.0 out of 10

Apparently Mike Brown was named head of Standards & Practices at Disney Studios

The Artwork

Well, the artwork for this version is different from the others, I’ll give it that. Much better than the first edition, nowhere near as cool as the Ultimate Groove Edition, this falls in the middle. The main characters posed around the Title Logo. Uninspired, but colorful. What I don’t get is the slipcase. Slipcases are only practical if a) it’s holding a few slimlines, or b) housing a gatefold. However, no one ever said practicality was that important, so if you’re going to put your single-disc case in a slipcover, use your imagination. Take advantage of the extra canvas and show off some artwork. A perfect example? The Life Aquatic. Poster art on the slipcase, alternative art inside. If you’re not willing to do that then don’t waste the effort on the slipcover. It’s simple. But again, the art was different from the previous two editions, so that’s worth something.

4.0 out of 10

One wonders if this is what Harrison Ford wakes up to every morning

Overall: 5.0 out of 10