Friday, August 10, 2012

The Emperor's New Grove (Mark Dindal, 2003) Review

We were all confused when this was released. This was from the same animation gods that created The Lion  King and Beauty and the Beast but when they announced there next film would be about a llama voiced by David Spade. Let me repeat that: David a llama. I...whah...I...WHAT?! I was as confused as the next person but when I finally watched it, I will admit that it was pretty good. Sure, it wasn't as good as the likes of The Lion King or Aladdin but it has a certain charm. Let's take a deeper look.

Kuzco (David Spade) is a egotistical, self centred emperor who, despite his flaws, is adored by everyone...everyone except his administrator Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her right hand man Kronk (Patrick Warburton)...not that Kronk really cares. Yzma decides that she has had enough of Kuzco and decides to poison him. Kronk gives him the wrong poison and ends up turning him into a llama. He is dumped out of the castle and left with a peasant named Pacha (John Goodman) who is reluctant to help Kuzco since he planned to destroy Pacha's house to make his own holiday home. Kuzco promises to not build it and they set off to the castle in order to restore him to his former glory.

Kind of like A Goofy Movie, The Emperor's New Groove is a buddy film (between Kuzco and Pacha) and also a 'road to' film since they are trying to get back the castle and visit a number of different locations filled with random characters they meet along the way. It's also one for Ymza and Kronk...although I use the term 'buddy' very loosely. I guess it was nice to see Disney do a comedy for once. The humour of the film is memorable and is actually pretty funny. I think the bizarre combination of Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton (name a weirder duo, I dare you) is what really brings the humour out. They really work well together. Of course, David Spade is funny but is just being David Spade.

I do have a few gripes with this film. The obvious one being that I just can't escape the thought that Disney will never be as good as they used to be. The Princess and the Frog sort of teased us into thinking that it was going back to the way it was. Sure, The Emperor's New Groove looks good and it's nice that it was traditionally made but I would rather watch some Disney films during the Disney Renaissance (from The Little Mermaid to Tarzan) but I can't really say it's the worst Disney where near.

The Emperor's New Groove is a funny, good looking film that's only as good as you find it. It's a simple film that sees our heroes getting from point A to point B but it features some good character development, great villains and some decent voice acting. I would recommend it to anyone who likes comedies. You don't have to  like animated films because the writing is good enough to pass as a live action script.

A good looking comedy that features some great aspects. Not Disney's best but it's nowhere near the worst.

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