Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

In this animated comedy from the folks at Disney, the vain and cocky Emperor Kuzco is a very busy man. Besides maintaining his "groove", and firing his suspicious administrator, Yzma; he's also planning to build a new waterpark just for himself for his birthday. However, this means destroying one of the villages in his kingdom. Meanwhile, Yzma is hatching a plan to get revenge and usurp the throne. But, in a botched assassination courtesy of Yzma's right-hand man, Kronk, Kuzco is magically transformed into a llama. Now, Kuzco finds himself the property of Pacha, a lowly llama herder whose home is ground zero for the water park. Upon discovering the llama's true self, Pacha offers to help resolve the Emperor's problem and regain his throne, only if he promises to move his water park. [imdb]
When the title of The Emperor's New Groove was first announced, my initial reaction was disgust.  I had no desire whatsoever to see some bastardized hip-hop version of The Emperor's New Clothes.  How could Disney stoop so low in their attempt to ride the coat-tails of modern trends like that?!  I would never bother to watch this piece of crap.

Then one day, I was at Blockbuster and caught a single scene of the movie (for those of you who've seen it, it was the scene where Kronk is attempting to dispose of the emperor's body)... I wanted, no I HAD to see this movie.  So I rented it, and I watched it... and watched it... and watched it... and bought it and watched it... and so on.

This is definitely one of my favourite and most-quoted Disney films of all time.  It was also the start of yet another era in Disney's animated films... This is Disney in the 21st century.

The movie is chock full of pop culture references and jokes, and it is very self-aware.  There's no real similarities between the source of the title and the movie, and the complete lack of historical and cultural accuracy is very apparent.  In fact, there are times they just seem to be gloating about the modern day references they've thrown in.  This is far from a complaint, because it just makes the movie that much more relatable to the current viewing public.  It's never done in a distasteful manner, and the insanely fast pace of the dialogue and story help the nit-picky mind wash over every fallacy.

The commentary was enjoyable as well, but I was a tad disappointed by the behind-the-scenes featurette.  It was just trying a bit too hard and wasn't very insightful about the real making of the movie.  In fact, I discovered more about the history of the project by reading the Wikipedia entry (linked below) than I did the featurette.  I won't go into much detail, but I would recommend reading on it if you enjoy the movie.  Suffice it to say that I am far more happy with the way it turned out than the original intent.

So if you are at all like I was at first, and have yet to see this movie... Get it. Watch it. Love it.... Squeaken.