I am REALLY on the fence about The Emperor’s New Groove. Sure, it has it’s moments… it has Eartha Kitt… it also has Patrick Warburton and Wendie Malick. On the down side, it does have the barely one-dimensional David Spade in the lead role, and it was directed by Mark Dindal who was still perfecting the art of really screwing up an animated film here (his Masters thesis was Chicken Little in 2005, easily the worst film ever from Disney.)
The Emperor’s New Groove began life as the much more serious in tone and epic in scope Kingdom Of The Sun. Originally, the music was done by Sting, and Roger Allers was the director. Sort of a Prince and the Pauper story at first, Allers just could not bring the story to life.
To breath new life into the project, Disney execs hired Mark Dindal, who brought in the comic element. This resulted in a very uneven production… half light and half dark. In the summer 1998, under a time crunch for a 2000 release date, Allers was forced off the film. Dindal retooled the film, dropped the Sting songs, and retitled the film.
In this comedy, the vain and cocky Emperor Kuzco is a very busy man. Besides maintaining his “groove,” and firing his suspicious administrator Yzma, he’s also planning to build a new water park just for himself for his birthday. However, this means destroying one of the villages in his kingdom. Meanwhile, Yzma is hatching a plan to get revenge and usurp the throne. But, in a botched assassination courtesy of Yzma’s right-hand man Kronk, Kuzco is magically transformed into a llama. Now, Kuzco finds himself the property of Pacha, a lowly llama herder whose home is ground zero for the water park. Upon discovering the llama’s true self, Pacha offers to help resolve the Emperor’s problem and regain his throne– only if he promises to move his water park.
So what do you think? Would you like to have seen Allers original film, or do you like the comedy version by Dindal?