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EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (2000)

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EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (2000)

Saturday, 28 September 2013 20:07

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Written by 

The Buzz:

 

     Kuzco is a self centered emperor who is turned into a Llama and forced to become appreciative of the power of friendship in order to get his human body back. Yzma is a power hungry witch who vengefully turns Kuzco into a llama in order to usurp the throne. Kronk is a dim-witted muscle bound lackey of Yzma who secretly struggles with following the orders of a mad woman. Pacha is a simple farmer who just wants to protect his family and village from destruction by the uncaring Kuzco, but is also driven by doing the right thing to help Kuzco get his human form back. All in all a largely stereotypical set of characters in generally predictable plot somehow turn this into a lesser known gem of Disney.

 

Life of the Party:

 

     The cast for the voice actors are all perfect for the characters, but this is exactly what you'd expect from a powerhouse like Disney. David Spade (Kuzco) is the quintessential narcissist, John Goodman (Pacha) doesn't know how to suck in film, Patrick Warburton (Kronk) while often typecast; is to dumb macho guys as David Spade is to jerks, and Eartha Kitt (Yzma) is so epically expressive. Tack on a theme song by Tom Jones and you have casting perfection. 

 

     But, again, this isn't really surprising for Disney. Look back over their Animated films and you always see top notch work. But what you also almost always see is a musical! Emperor's New Groove marked the first time since The Rescuer's Down Under that a Disney Animated Feature was not also a musical. It was also a drastic change in scope for Disney. Prior to Emperor's New Groove Disney animated pictures often were written in epic scale with numerous characters and dramatic plot lines. This picture was written as a buddy comedy with a small cast to form a more intimate story that would pull audiences into the characters and it pulls this off amazingly. It's a really nice refreshing change from Disney. Don't get me wrong! I love Disney animated movies, I do…. and sometimes their epic tales are exactly what I want! But, sometimes I want Disney quality but without the Disney over the top tone. Emperor's New Groove fits so perfectly in that niche. It's fun and funny to watch, top quality production work, great for kids and adults alike, and not so heavy that I need to "be in the mood" to put it on. 

 

     Speaking of the humor, this is another nice change of pace for Disney. Lots of Disney pictures have humor throughout; you need it to get kids through them. But this is a different direction for their comedy. This is much more non-sequitur and opts to break the fourth wall or be self aware much more often. This was a turning point that I think made Disney realize they could step away from slapstick and be a bit more creative and witty. This was the first, that I can recall, that I felt was truly designed to appeal to the parents as much as the kids in theaters. 

 


This scene is a metaphor for the porn industry.

 

Potential Hangovers:

 

     This picture was intended to be something TOTALLY different than what we got. Thankfully, what it became is actually pretty great! Originally titled Kingdom in the Sun it was written to be a romantic drama epic by the creator of Lion King. Production problems, delays, and negative feedback on screenings drew it out over 6 years and Michael Eisner almost scrapped the whole thing. Eight original compositions were written and performed by Sting for the original script and had to be scrapped due to the rewrite. They still ended up on the CD release of the soundtrack and one of these songs was nominated for an Academy Award despite never being in the film. To me this is the one setback of moving in the direction of the great movie we got; we lost inclusion of a fantastic soundtrack. Luckily, we can still hear these songs if we want, but it's not quite the same. 

 

     For some the drastic change in direction from previous Disney animated films may come as a bad thing and I can understand that when you have some 50 years of expectations being established, but I truly feel if you're willing to not walk in with those expectations you'll find movie that grows on you to the point of even rivaling some of the classics. 

 


Every morning after I have sex....

 

The Vibe: Solo Experience, Date Night, Casual Gathering, Large Party, Family Viewing, Man-Cave, Girl's Night

 

     This movie is a good call for any occasion. I talk to so many people who have never even heard of it, and that's a tragedy. I actually honored this film as being the first DVD I ever purchased (I now have thousands…) because I loved it so much when I saw it in theaters. But you no longer have to worry about such a thing, it's now easily watchable on Netflix (and I believe Amazon Instant). What makes it so versatile is that if you're watching it alone, with a couple friends, or a significant other you can catch all of the subtle jokes and background humor or appreciate the morality of the story, but even on in the background while you work on something or a big party there is enough out of the blue ridiculousness as to catch your eye and make you laugh.

 

     In the end this is hidden gem in the Disney catalog that almost never was. It's a shining example of how sometimes when rushed to pull a failing project together the end result doesn't have to be a sloppy mess.      

 

Plus/Minus:

 

+ Colorful

+ Perfect casting

+ Witty and non-sequitur humor

+/- Not a musical

+/- Not the usual Disney epic

- We lose Stings great soundtrack

 

Drinking Games:

 

- Drink every time something is smashed with a hammer.

- Drink every time anyone does a hand gesture (high-five, thumbs up, thumb guns, etc.)

- Drink for as long as Kuzco dances.

- Drink every time a llama or llama shaped thing is on screen that isn't Kuzco.

- HARDCORE: I'm stealing a rule from Tees Maar Khan; drink every time Kuzco's name is said.

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About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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