The Emperor's New Groove & Kronk's New Groove
The Emperor's New Groove (December 9/05)
With its thoroughly irreverent vibe and emphasis on contemporary gags and references, The Emperor's New Groove has little in common with typical animated fare from Disney (the exceedingly quirky aura does, however, resemble the current face of computer-generated animation). The story revolves around a tyrannical dictator named Kuzco (voiced by David Spade) who receives a lesson in humility after he's transformed into a llama by the evil Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and left to fend for himself in the middle of the dense jungle. It's there that Kuzco must team up with Pacha (John Goodman) in order to survive, although Pacha is still angry that Kuzco was going to demolish his village to make room for an expansive summer home. Though it does take a while to get used to director Mark Dindal's unrelentingly off-the-wall sense of style, The Emperor's New Groove is - by and large - a surprisingly entertaining and awfully funny piece of work. Spade and Goodman are just about perfect in their respective roles, while supporting player Patrick Warburton (playing Yzma's inept minion) deftly steals each of his few scenes. While it's highly unlikely that The Emperor's New Groove will ever be ranked among Disney classics such as The Lion King and Bambi, there's no denying that the film is one of the studio's more enjoyable (if entirely forgettable) efforts to come around in a while.
Kronk's New Groove
Though Patrick Warburton's Kronk was undoubtedly the best thing about The Emperor's New Groove, this film proves that the character works best in small doses; forced to carry an entire movie, Kronk becomes tedious and (unbelievable as it seems) unfunny. The storyline - involving flashbacks and digressions a-plenty as Kronk reminisces on how everything in his life went to pot - generally comes off as series of loosely-connected episodes rather than a cohesive whole, with the emphasis placed on Kronk's various misadventures (including a long stretch in which Kronk must confront a competing camp counselor). And while there are a few clever bits here and there (ie a Busby Berkeley-inspired musical number), the film's sense of humor often leans towards the juvenile and silly (ie after being nicknamed "Kronky-poo" by his new girlfriend, Ms. Birdwell, Kronk dubs her "Birdy-poo"). Having said that, Kronk's New Groove does boast several top-notch voice performances and an animation style that's just as bright and colorful as the original, so (at the very least) the film doesn't have the feel of something haphazardly slapped together.