7/13/11

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE - REVIEW


Well, it took me 11 years but finally I sat through the entirety of Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. A film so odd-looking that it even alienated me at the time. I loved Mulan but the trailers for this one just seemed...weird and I really didn't feel like sitting through an hour and a half of a scary llama screaming around.

It's a shame really, I'm sure I would have loved it.

It's 11 years later and now I know who Patrick Warburton and David Spade are and I'm cool with llamas in general, I felt it was time to pay The Emperor a little visit. Interestingly, the humour in this one is much more goofy than I could have imagined: think the Looney Tunes crossed with the Genie from Aladdin. Pretty wacky stuff.

You've got a random story with an off-beat setting, no gimmicky big stars and a dislikable character at the heart of it all and yet this is one strangely accessible, fun ride with David Spade at his best, a great villainess, a gloriously dense henchman and some very good animation.

The story is quite modern in how it's told and unlike anything Disney's tried before: you've got a self-aware narrator, much like Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, who not only helps you follow the story but adds his own input and point of view. The film is seen through the hugely selfish emperor's eyes so when the character grows a bit of a heart little by little it makes his journey and his friendship with the John Goodman character all the more rewarding.

All in all this is one entertaining little film that's very funny throughout, especially when dim-witted Kronk is on screen (he can speak squirrel), and the Will E Coyote-style approach to the slapstick is refreshing and very un-Disney.

Groovy indeed. Check it out.

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