Along with Hercules, The Emperor’s New Groove is the most fun entry in the Disney cannon. That’s not to say the others weren’t fun, but it seems that those two in particular were made just for the purpose of being irreverent and fun, and on the way teach us a simple message about life. However, I wouldn’t consider the latter a great movie.
I didn’t think it was great because at times it was too stylish and too quirky. For example, the scene in when Pacha does not yet know that the emperor has been turned into a llama and is in his cart. At what seems to be a rather serious moment, it looks like the reel has stopped, and llama Kuzko appears, breaking the fourth wall to tells us that the story is about him and that he is in the bag. By this point we get that the emperor is an egotistical douche, we don’t need a reminder. There are also some other quirks thought the film that took me out of the movie, like when the camera zooms out as Kronk barely saves Kuzko from falling down a huge waterfall and we stop when we see a monkey eating a bug. I would forgive these interruptions had there been only a couple, but there are a lot throughout the movie.
With that said, these quirks and the self-awareness are what makes the movie as charming as it is. The awkward wait during Kuzko’s dinner with Yzma, Kronk’s talks with his shoulder angel and demon, the explanation to how Yzma and Kronk got to the lab before Kuzko and Pacha when they were clearly behind, etc. These small moments help the movie stand apart from others in the Disney catalogue. But like I said, they sometimes get out of hand.
In the technical side, it is great, as expected. I loved the inpired character design, particularly the animals in the jungle. The score is lovely. And the performances are great. David Spade gives the performance of his career, John Goodman is awesome, as always, Patrick Warburton’s casting is inspired, and the result are what you would expect, and Eartha Kitt kills it as the villainous Yzma. She may not be the scariest villain, but she definitely is the funniest. The latter two is what made The Emperor’s New School the best spin-off TV show.
The Emperor’s New Groove is excellent. However, it is sometimes too stylish for its own good, and that keeps it from being one of the greats. Still, it is one of my favorites.