Making the Grades
Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) is more self-absorbed than the leading brand of paper towels. Sitting on his Incan throne making decisions, the teenager's plans include building a swingin' swimming resort on a nearby vista where the simple peasant Pacha (John Goodman) and his family live. To Pacha's objections, Kuzco simply says, "Find another hilltop."
But Kuzco should have been worrying about his power hungry, recently fired assistant Yzma (Eartha Kitt). She invites the young ruler to dinner intending to poison him. Counting on the help of her burly manservant Kronk (Patrick Warburton)--who isn't the brightest light on the marquee--Yzma is furious when Kronk, distracted by his gourmet creations, messes up the potion and turns the unsuspecting Kuzco into a llama. When she repeats her assassination order, Kronk (who's heart is as soft as his head) secretly places the unconscious Kuzco onto the back of Pacha's cart that is headed for the peasant's home.
Discovering the talking llama, Pacha's surprise turns to disdain when the selfish emperor accuses him for his plight. Believing Yzma is still his friend, and can turn him back into a human, Kuzco demands to be taken to the palace. However the kind-hearted Pacha refuses to succumb to the emperor's orders until he agrees to move his pool project.
With few characters to concentrate on, this well-written script demonstrates trust, cooperation, and forgiveness between two very different people. And while slapstick violence is often on screen, the style of this film is similar to 1950's Warner Brothers animations. If you enjoy the Bugs Bunny cartoons you watched as a child, you'll probably like this title and be happy with the lessons it teaches your children.
Even better, this is one of the funniest Disney movies I've seen since Toy Story . I especially loved Kronk who is visited by a little shoulder angel and devil that tempt him as he wrestles with loyalty to the evil Yzma, versus making the right choices for himself. Providing sight gags for children and plenty of quips for adults, I think Disney has found its groove.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Emperor’s New Groove.
Can you count how many times Pacha forgave the pompous emperor? Can this same tactic work in reality? In the end, how did Pacha and Kuzco settle their differences even though they were still very different people? How did they both benefit from this arrangement?
This movie doesn’t have the many “high tech” animation designs we are used to seeing in recent Disney features. Does the plainer style of animation distract or add to the story? How does the animation style lend itself to the fairy tale type of story that is being told?