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4.7 out of 5 stars216
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 November 2001
As a 17 year old guy I'm not sure how much respect I can command when commenting on a Disney movie- but 'The Emperor's New Groove' -and this DVD- is excellent in every sense.

Originally titled 'The Kingdom in the Sun', the film was slated to be Disney's next Epic, but that idea got shunned and a comedy replaced it. I can only praise Disney for the result. I would have loved to see 'Kingdom' but TENG was a stroke of genius. With Disney's reputation, the company proved it's confidence in itself by going with TENG, and deserves respect for that alone. TENG is also the second-best Disney movie I've ever seen, beating back 'Aladin' and coming close to 'The Lion King' -and easily the funniest. Maybe this was due to the frame of mind I was in at the time, but TENG gave me a laugh-out-loud a minute. Literally.

To summarise, Kuzco is an arrogant Ancient American Emperor who fires his advisor and gets turned into a llama by her, partly in revenge and partly because, as any bady would, she wants to rule the Empire. Knocked out, he's transported unwittingly out of his Palace to a village miles away, by Pacha, the village's benign leader who he'd just told his village was to be destroyed tomorrow to make way for Kuzcotopia, Kuzco's 'Ultimate Summer Getaway'. Confused, and discovering he isn't the centre of *any*one's world, Kuzco has to make his way back to his palace to get changed back into a human, guided by Pacha, and pursued by his evil advisor, who wants to finish him off, and her notatall-evil, not-so-clever assistant.

The character development, humour, and frienship that ensue are spectacular, possibly the best-developed I've seen in any movie, ever.

Now termed 'retro' (as barely any of it is computer-generated), the animation is fantastic, smooth, and the locations are beautifully designed, the characters simple yet perfect at the same time.

There's little Disney Mush (tm). Cheesiness is there, but it doesn't come out in spades; it stays at home with the singing, which is also conspicuous by its absence, and a Good Thing Too.

On the singing that *does* happen, Tom Jones sings a great introductory track (Perfect World) which gets better every time you listen to it, and, otherwise, there's little of it, apart from Sting's 'My Funny Friend and Me', which plays as the credits role. Which is beautiful.

Sting wrote a large amount of music for 'The Kingdom in the Sun' which never made it into TENG. I believe a lot of it's on the soundtrack ('One Day She'll Love Me' being the best track there). The DVD contains Sting's short commentary on his contribution to the movie.

On the DVD itself, the Collector's Edition contains two discs. The first has the movie and movie-with-commentary. The second isn't wasted. It's packed with a tour of the Disney animation studios and the animation process with the movie's Director and Producer (admittedly, this is aimed at ten year olds). There are hundreds of images: Character designs and Concept artwork. Three deleted scenes, a run-through of the movie's life, from concept thru production, voice acting, animation and publicity, trailers and posters make up the rest.

Overall, Gorgeous, a great movie on great discs; a credit to Disney.
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on 25 October 2003
This film is utterly hilarious. It was mildly surprising to discover that Dinsney had adopted the sort of humour one finds in Warner Brothers cartoons for one of its classics. The lighter approach doesn't stop it from providing positive messages about loyalty, friendship, etc. It made a refreshing change. I have watched it many times without signs of approaching boredom, and my younger sister has picked up a quote for every situation. Highly recommended
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on 8 May 2004
This is Disney's best cartoon for a long time. Kuzco is an arrogant, spoilt Inca Emperor, who is turned into a llama by his sacked advisor Yzma. He finds himself forced to accept the help of Pacha, a sturdy peasant whose hilltop village Kuzco wants to destroy to make way for a summer palace. Pacha reluctantly agrees to help Kuzco return to his palace, and at the same time tries to persuade him to spare his village. Eventually Kuzco learns to become a little less selfish, and together he and Pacha defeat the evil Yzma and her hunky but not very bright toyboy. This is a very funny film, in which sentimentality is happily kept to the bare minimum. Even Pacha's wife, although beautiful and pregnant, manages to avoid being icky. The plot is entertaining, the characters are likeable, the dialogue witty (there aren't even any soppy songs!). One of Disney's most amusing films.
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... and one that far too many people haven't heard of. I believe that this was conventionally animated, when CGI was taking an increasing share of the market. Perhaps because it didn't have the high-definition quality of the Pixar films (think Nemo) Disney never seemed to do much to promote it.

However, what it lacked in that area is more than made up for in outstandingly funny script and characterisation - the old-school values of animation. "I've turned into a cow. Can I be excused?" Yeah, the tale is a little hackneyed - an odd couple who need to learn to get along to overcome their enemy - but it is just sooooo funny.

I have never been fussed about the "modern classics" like "Beauty and the Beast" or even "The Little Mermaid". But this one is brilliant.
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on 14 March 2006
A Disney movie that doesn't usurp tradition myths and legends and even manages to be historically accurate...well, enough for children to get an slightly-sugared view...
And it still manages to be hilariously funny to children and adults alike. With the voice actors being perfectly chosen and the script timing brilliantly fun.
Not only that the moral is, unusually, sublime rather than in your face...but it's still taught well.
But the crowning glory has to be Kronk (Krunk?)...delightfully amusing in his naiveity and joy. Yuo can't help but smile at almost everything he says...especially when talking to squirrels. I would recommend this to any family...whether you haev kids or not!
Light and Funny.
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 Apparently there was this thing that happened in 1994 called "The Disney Renaissance". The Lion King brought back "Classic Disney" or some such nonsense. The implication is that mega-hits like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin were not good enough. Nope, it was the Lion King which restored dignity to the studio. Dignity which they then squandered on garbage like Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. On top of this Dreamworks Animation was gearing up to be a serious competitor while Pixar was hogging all of the glory.

Such was the success of the Lion King that director Roger Allers was given permission to indulge himself in a vanity piece called Kingdom of the Sun. It was to be an epic, mystical spin on the Prince and the Pauper set in Peru during the time of the Incas as well as a romantic comedy musical with serious weight to the mythology.

Honestly, this sounds like the kind of movie that I would have hated. The Disney suits felt the same way, though were even less kind when it came to communicating that opinion to the creative team. The development and production of Kingdom of the Sun dragged on for years with innumerable clashes, arguments, and differences between Allers and Disney. None of the moneymen liked where the film was going. A half-finished version was screened and rejected. Production was shut down. Allers was off the project and Mark Dindal was brought in to replace him. In the process Dinal completely overhauled the movie and changed it into something quite different. And thus Kingdom of the Sun gave birth to The Emperor's New Groove. A serious, mystical epic became an archaic slapstick comedy more in the vein of Looney Tunes than Lion King. And it's all the better for it.

Throughout this shambolic development only three people remained constant: David Spade as the spoiled emperor Kuzco, Eartha Kitt as the conniving Yzma, and Sting, who would provide the soundtrack. The latter ended up only doing a single song "My Funny Friend and Me", but it did get an Academy Award nomination (which it lost to Bob Dylan). Sting's wife Trudi Styler was even commissioned to make a documentary on the production of Kingdom of the Sun and covered every torturous twist during those terrible times. What was supposed to be just an ordinary "making-of" became a rather notorious stand-alone documentary called "The Sweatbox" which was such a damning and difficult portrait of the House of Mouse that they have never allowed it to be officially released (and barely acknowledge its existence).

Make no mistake, The Emperor's New Groove did not have an easy journey from concept to screen. Far, far from it.

When the trailer screened in early 2001 in the UK I was immediately dismissive. I had become tired and jaded of the setting and tone. With The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado in the recent past I was not in the mood for more of the same. I was loudly vocal about how awful the trailer looked. But then something very odd happened...Kuzco turned into a Llama and it became surreal and hyper. I remember squinting and saying "Uh...what IS this?" I'd much rather take a chance on an odd curiosity than a self-proclaimed epic.

The final story sees Emperor Kuzco betrayed by his assistant Yzma who plots to kill him in revenge for being fired. Her lunkhead servant Kronk (perfectly voiced by Patrick Warburton) mixes up the poison potion and instead transforms Kuzco into a Llama. Discarded into the nearby jungle Kuzco teams up with good-natured peasant Pacha, whom he earlier condemned to homelessness. They make a deal - help Kuzco turn back to human and Pacha can keep his community. Together they fight their way through the wilderness back to the palace with Yzma and Kronk close behind, determined to finish the job.

TENG moves so fast it will make your head spin. This movie barely takes a breath, so much so that I don't think that the opening and closing titles even lasted a single second. It's just one wonderfully overblown set-piece followed by another. You'll be grinning so hard your face will be in agony. I can't call it anything other than my absolute favorite Disney animation (Big Hero 6 coming in at a close second) but I'm sort of annoyed that it gets such a bad reputation and that its often forgotten.

Released in the US in late 2000 the movie received little fanfare and had a horrible dated marketing campaign that was stuck in the mid- 90s. While most Disney movies are shoved in our face and pretty much demand that we go see them this one seems to end up merely being discovered by growing cult of fans. I guess that makes a unique and controversial movie all the more special.

The Blu-ray sports a flawless 1.66:1 1080p transfer that is a big step-up over the old DVD with DTS HD-MA sound. Extras are pretty thing and weak. It would be amazing if Disney included The Sweatbox as an extra feature as the documentary is as symbiotic to TENG as Hearts of Darkness is to Apocalypse Now, but they have an image to uphold, so that's not likely to happen. The Blu-ray is still a must for all Disney fans and collectors and a definite purchase for anyone who might be curious about this overlooked oddity.
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2015
Occasionally Disney steps out of its preferred comfort zone, full of fluffy animals or princesses, and the results are usually abysmal or tremendous. With this step Disney hit pure gold and has created something different and extremely entertaining.

Emperor Kuzco is a spoilt brat who treats everything and everyone in his kingdom as his own personal property to do with as he pleases. The idea of doing the right thing rather than what he wants to do has literally never entered his brain. When he needs to displace a town to make way for his new pool, the villagers are not very happy and things start to get complicated. Throw in two of Disneys best ever bad guys, Cronk and Esma, the talented David Spade as Kuzco, John Goodman as Patcha the village leader, a witty and genuinely funny script, very stylish animation, songs by Tom Jones and Sting and you end up with something very different to the normal Disney fare. In fact if you missed the beginning you would not know you were watching a Disney film at all.

Originally a much bigger epic picture, it ended up a light and frothy comedy about friendship and responsibility and is probably all the better for it.

A hidden gem.
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I have never seen The Emperor's New Groove before, but I watched Chicken Little yesterday and loved that, so decided to watch The Emperor's New Groove today. I have to be honest, I felt it wasn't as good as I had hoped it was going to be from reading the description on the back on the DVD case.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying it was bad, it is still a great film and deserves the 5 stars I have given it, I was just expecting more music.

I think the main problem was that maybe I was expecting it to have more musical numbers in it with a title of Emperors New Groove and with it kicking off with such a big musical based number as well, plus after watching Chicken Little yesterday which had some great song parts in it. However even with the lack of musical segments I did enjoy it, some parts I found very funny. I don't want to give too much away, but when Emperor Kuzco (when he is in donkey form) and Pacha are in the cafe pretending they are husband and wife, well that part had me in stitches.

So overall, while It was not really what I was expecting it to be I did enjoy it & will be watching it again in the future.
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on 6 April 2007
My kids love this, and its a great movie for all the family to watch together. It has a nice storyline and plenty of humour thrown in too, some of it aimed at the parents as it went straight over my kids heads. They must have watched this a dozen times, but it still gets chosen as the family film to watch on rainy Sundays!

Buy it, you wont regret it!
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on 21 April 2014
This is a classic.... lets get real , Aladdin is not , but this is .... the DVD transfer was ok but this gives the colour pallet a new lease of life... and if you love this film then this is a fabulous HD Transfer and the audio is miles better than DVD..... BUY.
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