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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 


In a mythical kingdom high in the Andes, the main man is young Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade). The teenage ruler is, however, not well liked. Vain and self-absorbed, he lives in an isolated world of privilege; blissfully unaware of how his actions affect others. One of those affected by his whims is a peasant Pacha (John Goodman) whose village is to be demolished to make way for the Emperor’s new summer house (complete with waterslide & pool). But Kuzco makes the mistake of alienating the evil Yzma (Eartha Kitt). With the aid of her bumbling paramour Kronk (Patrick Warburton), she plans to poison him – but the plan goes awry. Instead of killing him, the potion turns Kuzco into a llama. Stuck in Pacha’s village, he has to find a way back to the palace and get the antidote.

"From the opening credits it’s clear that Disney’s army of animators and writers and musicians had a serious purpose with this film: entertain the living daylights out of the audience, making fun the absolute mantra for the project. It has a freewheeling script and daredevil animation – driven by a script that assumes everyone is hip and cool and totally in tune with animation as entertainment. Messages whizz by and a moral story anchors the script into Disney territory, but for the target market, this is just a rollick. High energy – as only a cartoon can be – all the way, action adventure and comedy come together as David Spade, John Goodman and Eartha Kitt (the eternal) have a real hoot with their respective characters. Patrick Warburton is the voice of muscly fall guy Kronk, and does a terrific job creating a character a notch above the expected. The Inca-style exotica is also fun for the eyes, and the music works a treat. If you’ve got a problem or need some cheering up, never mind the kids, go alone – and get your face lit up."
Andrew L. Urban

"Ever wondered what it would be like to be transformed into a llama? This is your chance to find out – amidst earthy rhythms, bright colours, sparkling humour and bucket loads of fun. The Emperor's New Groove is a lively fantasy, filled with delightful characters, melodic tunes and imaginative production design. It's an enchanting story about magic potions, witchcraft, greed and of course along the way, there are lessons to be learned on the road of life. With its roots grounded in classic fairy tales, there are plenty of chuckles and laughs, while superb voice casting serves up the personalities of John Goodman and David Spade. Eartha Kitt's distinctive, shrill, raspy voice makes for a memorable villainess; like 101 Dalmatians' Cruella DeVil, Yzma is a character we love to hate. Kitt was certainly an inspiration for veteran animator Dale Bauer, who got a kick out of just watching her gesturing wildly. With music from Sting, in collaboration with composer David Hartley, the music has bite and attitude. It's goofy, happy and is guaranteed to leave you with positive vibes for the rest of the day. Go Groove!"
Louise Keller

"Disney’s latest animated adventure sees a return to "traditional" line animation, following its use of CGI in features like A Bug’s Life. The result is one of the studio’s funniest films, even if it’s not the most charming. With the talents of the razor sharp David Spade, The Emperor’s New Groove positively zings along, propelled by a simple plot, plenty of gags, a good dose of slapstick and several inventive scenarios. The animation style departs from the usual Disney design, but it works brilliantly. Although the film starts out a little slowly, it soon picks up the pace and becomes both a rollicking adventure tale and a parable about the dangers of selfishness. David Spade makes the film, his perfect delivery complimented by a great sense of timing and a slightly manic edge. John Goodman provides the foil as Pacha, Kuzco’s "straight man" if you like. His booming voice and quiet dignity contrast superbly with Spade’s machine-gun approach. Eartha Kitt makes for a fine villain in Yzma, and she’s nicely counterpointed too by Patrick Warburton as the none-too-bright Kronk. Indeed, Warburton gets some of the best lines in the film. This is one Disney movie to which both children and adults can relate. While the kids are screaming over the goofy llama, their parents can have a good chuckle at the many in-jokes and movie references, and Spade’s comic stylings. Despite the merchandising blitz that will inevitably accompany it (look out for it at a fast food franchise near you), The Emperor’s New Groove is a slick, exciting, fun movie experience that really is for the whole family."
David Edwards

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ANIMATION Voices of: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick

PRODUCERS: Randy Fullmer

DIRECTOR: Mark Dindal

SCRIPT: David Reynolds and Roger Allers, Mark Dindal, Matthew Jacobs, Chris Williams (story)

EDITOR: Tom Finan, Pam Ziegenhagen

MUSIC: John Debney, David Hartley, Sting (songs)


RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International


VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE (To Own): October 24, 2001

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