cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

click for full sized poster

Buy the Poster

The Emperor's New Groove

Starring David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton and Wendy Malick
Screenplay by David Reynolds
Directed by Mark Dindal
click for Official Website

IN SHORT: A gutbuster. [Rated G for General Audiences. 75 minutes]

There is a very fine documentary on the life of animator Chuck Jones currently running on Public Television (or click to buy VHS). You are encouraged to see it because the influence of the man in its spotlight is all over The Emperor's New Groove, the new animated movie from Disney. There are healthy dashes of Max & Dave Fleischer and nods to Disney's Pinocchio to be found as well, with a couple of musical signatures lifted from Star Wars and the Superman movies of the 1970s.

All of that would be enough for us up to dismiss The Emperor's New Groove as derivative except for two things: 1) The average viewer wouldn't notice and/or wouldn't care about the Chuck Jones influences. Long time readers know that Cranky is an avid 'toonhead -- we've got an original Jones Grinch cel hanging on the wall and had the great pleasure of having had dinner with the man back in our college days -- and we take more than the average amount of pleasure in steering folk to classics like What's Opera, Doc? whose style is very present in a lot of the early minutes of this film.

The second exception is that the Disney folk responsible for The Emperor's New Groove -- not the suits who are probably writhing at the comparisons to a Warner Brothers animation director -- have gone 180 degrees from the epic and absolutely classic 'toons in the vein of The Lion King and delivered a simple story that aims straight for the funny bone and continues the current trend of animating characters with the facial characteristics of the actors delivering the dialog. Familiarity, in this case, enforces laughter. Thus John Goodman's character looks a bit like the real John Goodman. Ditto Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld's Puddy) and lead voice David Spade. An audience that has grown familiar with these actor's characters from teevee makes an immediate connection with the characterizations onscreen, because in at least three of the four cases, you're seeing characters that aren't that far off from what you know from the little screen. Does it work? Ask the big name teevee critic sitting behind us, who complained about the very late start of the screening (as did we) to a kidlet cartoon that he didn't want to be wasting his time at. As Emperor played out, the man was cackling. As in laughing. Literally cackling.

The story revolves around Kuzko (Spade), Emperor of All He Sees, King of All That Is, Master of the Universe, a self-absorbed ass with a capital "A" whose "Perfect World begins and ends with ME!". His Royal Arrogance has had a busy day. First, he catches his chief advisor, the very elderly and scary beyond all reason Yzma (Kitt) sitting in his throne, acting as if she were the boss. That's a big no-no, which gets the crone and her twentysomething boytoy Kronk (Warburton) busted out of their palace gigs. Next up, the peasant Village leader Pacha (Goodman) learns that, the next day being the Emperor's birthday, the Village he rules will be razed to build a new summer palace. Something well placed to get a lot of sun. With a water slide off to the side. While Pacha shuffles off to figure out what to do, Kuzko settles in for a nice dinner -- Kronk may be a muscle-bound moron but at least he can cook -- at which Yzma accidentally turns him into a llama and boots him out of the palace.

It was supposed to be poison, not a magic potion, but this is a Disney movie and you won't find a zombie starring in one of those. So, a self-absorbed, arrogant talking llama it is, who narrates this story and learns how to be nice after he is befriended by Pacha. Yes, same guy.

Parent, don't groan. The Emperor's New Groove is not a message movie in almost any way shape or form -- unless you've got a two year old, in which it can be turned into a learning tool. For the rest of us, the main character's descriptive adjective changes only from a capital "A" to a small one. Perfectly in keeping with the character image David Spade has cultivated since his years on Saturday Night Live.

And that snide, sarcastic stuff, even softened for the Mouse, is the reason there's a number at the bottom of this page. The Emperor's New Groove works as a great cartoons for kidlets who glom to Roadrunner 'toons -- I've beaten that connection within an inch of its life it's a very high compliment to be paid -- and there's more than enough stuff that will sail over their heads for us grownups to make this a darn good thing to watch.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Emperor's New Groove, he would have paid...


Ah the heck with it. The adult stuff is like Jones doing Bugs. There I said it. I'll probably never get invited to a Disneyflick again . . .

amazon com link Click to buy other Disney animated films
Click to buy films starring David Spade
Click to buy films starring John Goodman
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.