The Emperor's New Groove

The spirit of Chuck Jones' classic Warner Bros. cartoons lives again — ironically at Disney, the studio whose nice 'n' sweet theatrical 'toons once represented everything the rebellious WB animators avoided. Like the best Bugs Bunny-Daffy Duck confrontations, this is a rapid-fire parade of smart-aleck wit, self-reflexive playing to the audience,...read more

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Reviewed by Frank Lovece
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The spirit of Chuck Jones' classic Warner Bros. cartoons lives again —

ironically at Disney, the studio whose nice 'n' sweet theatrical 'toons once

represented everything the rebellious WB animators avoided. Like the best Bugs

Bunny-Daffy Duck confrontations, this is a rapid-fire parade of smart-aleck

wit, self-reflexive playing to the audience, imaginatively sustained extended

gags and the kind of wonderfully oblivious comedy-of-manners where it's okay

to poison a man, but just don't serve him overcooked spinach puffs. In a

mythical, Inca-like land, the fun-loving yet monstrously self-centered teen

emperor Kuzco (voice of David Spade) summons village leader Pacha (John

Goodman) to the palace for a little bad news: He plans on demolishing Pacha's

village in order to build a summer palace. But when Kuzco catches his

ambitious advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt) attempting to run things behind his back

and actually fires her, Yzma plots her revenge. With the "help" of her

easily distracted right-hand-man, Kronk (the pitch-perfect Patrick Warburton),

Yzma attempts to poison her boss, but due to a labeling error, Kuzco is instead turned into a talking llama and winds up at the home of Pacha, his

feisty wife Chicha (Wendie Malick) and their two young kids. Pacha strikes a

deal: He'll lead Kuzco back safely through the treacherous jungle if Kuzco

will break ground somewhere else. What follows is an uproarious

reluctant-buddy comedy, with plot turns that pay such homage to Warner Bros.

cartoon conventions, those giant trampolines might as well say "Acme" on them.

This wonderful addition to the Disney canon began — and almost ended

— as "Kingdom of the Sun," a Prince and the Pauper-like romantic

drama. With reportedly one-third of that version completely animated and, by

most accounts, not clicking, Disney gave the filmmakers two weeks to either

rework it or cease production entirely. The phoenix-from-the-ashes result is a

comic masterpiece.

<i style="">Homecoming</i>, <i style="">When They See Us</i>, <i style="">Tidying Up with Marie Kondo</i>, <i style="">Stranger Things 3</i>

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