93. The Emperor's New Groove - The Part-Time Critic

Friday, March 20, 2009

93. The Emperor's New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Directed by Mark Dindal

I first saw The Emperor’s New Groove in the fall of 2000 on a night when I was in a particularly bad mood. My friends and I drove nearly an hour to the Vero AMC, a nice theatre we would go to when we so desired. In a way that only a truly pleasant film experience can, The Emperor’s New Groove completely changed my spirits and had my friends and I laughing the whole car ride back. I’ve watched it several times since and its simple delights have not diminished.

Much like Kung Fu Panda, there is a sweet innocence to the story of Emperor’s New Groove that makes it such straightforward pleasure to watch. The decision to tone down the animation and go with a stylized look versus a realistic look adds to the “pull up a chair and hear a story” quality that I love. I think I am going to stop myself for a moment. It’s hard for me to encapsulate all the details that work so well for me in this film, so I think I am just going to stop myself here.

There is no overarching social commentary, deep insights, or deep artistic cry in this film,and while the technical aspects are exemplary (the voice over work Kitt, Goodman, and Spade are fantastic), it may be best if I just stick to the basics. I enjoy this film. Its simple and well told. When I am feeling down and need a pick me up, this one will always do it. What more needs to be said? This is a film I can’t live without.


  1. This is easily one of the most surprising theatrical experiences I can recall. My friend and I went to see this in early December 2000 at a paid sneak preview. I knew only that the production had been completely overhauled and the animation looked far more stylized than the norm. I laughed so hard in the last twenty minutes that I embarrassed myself. This is easily David Spade's best work and (arguably) Eartha Kitt's finest hour.

  2. It really is incredible how such a small film has gained such a strong following. Hands down, out of all the posts so far, people are talking to me more about this film than any of the others. The theatre my friends and I saw it in was filled with mostly children and their parents. It did feel odd for a bunch of teenagers to be laughing at all the same things as the parents were. Who would of thought, The Emperor's New Groove would bring adults and teenagers together?