/ Opinions / ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ still great fun nearly 20 years later

‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ still great fun nearly 20 years later

April 17, 2020 by Kayla Houp


There’s nothing quite like an old favorite to lift your spirits and bring some levity to an incredibly stressful. And so, as I was sitting at home looking through some of my favorite films to revisit and do just that, I came across a film I hadn’t seen in years, but always loved.

“The Emperor’s New Groove,” released in December 2000, follows a young and self-centered Incan emperor, Kuzco, after his ex-advisor Yzma accidentally turns him into a llama in an attempt to kill him.

Disney’s “The Emperor’s New Groove” was one of the first film’s released in the company’s Post-Renaissance Era, where classics like “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “Mulan,” revitalized how the company told its stories by returning to musically animated films mostly based on well-known stories.

While the films in Disney’s Post-Renaissance Era weren’t quite as popular as their predecessors, this new era of Disney films gave the company room to try new things and explore new avenues of animation that ultimately resulted in some of my favorite Disney films.

Directed by Mark Dindal from a script written by David Reynolds and based on a story by Chris Williams and dindal, “The Emperor’s New Groove” features a well-known voice cast including David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, and Wendie Malick.

Following his transformation into a llama, Kuzco is disposed of by Yzma’s henchman, Kronk, and falls into the care of Pacha, a peasant who had visited Kuzco earlier that day to defend his home from Kuzco’s summer home development plan.

From there, Kuzco learns the error of his selfish ways and finds the true value of friendship and kindness as Pacha brings him back to the palace to get his original body back.

The film follows a brisk pace that keeps the viewer engaged and intertwines madcap, eccentric, slapstick comedy that, though not all that deep, is still absolutely hilarious.

The film’s comedy and strong voice acting aren’t its only strength, though, as the film’s underlying messages of self-improvement and how our closest relationships can help us learn compassion and kindness.

It is through Pacha’s continued help and support that Kuzco realizes there’s more to life than all the lavish comforts his lifestyle as an emperor provides.

It’s one of the things I love about the film. At the start, Kuzco is an awful, self-serving, selfish person who looks out primarily for himself, but he grows and he changes and he recognizes that he was wrong.

Overall, “The Emperor’s New Groove” is an entertaining buddy-adventure comedy that continues to teach valuable lessons nearly 20 years after its initial release.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email [email protected]


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