Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday animation: The Emperor's New Groove


I love hand-drawn animation.  I've become quite obsessed with it over the years.  I love learning about the different techniques that are used in each film.  Animation has come a very long way, that's for sure!  I especially love animated films.  Animated T.V. shows are very fun, but the amount of work that goes into a full-length film is what really captivates me.

I keep a list on my computer of all the hand-drawn animated movies that have ever been made from every country.  I would love to watch all of them someday, but animated films from countries other than the U.S., Canada, and Japan are difficult to find for some reason.  For that reason, most of the films I have seen are from these countries.  In addition to keeping track of movies I have seen, I also write short reviews of each movie.  I have decided to post my reviews here.  Just for fun, I generated a random number using random.org, and the generated number corresponded to The Emperor's New Groove!

Boom, baby!

Overview: The Emperor's New Groove is a buddy comedy film released by Disney in 2000.  The film was mostly well-received by critics though it did not have a very high box office gross.

Art: Certainly high quality and fluid.  I wouldn't expect anything less from Disney.  Lots of color, very vivid.  It has a more "cartoony" look than other hand-drawn Disney films, but the film is a lot more "cartoony," so it fits it perfectly.  To be honest, the style reminds me a lot of Aladdin, fluid lines and bright colors.  This might be because Aladdin and The Emperor's New Groove are both meant to be comedies, though The Emperor's New Groove is less serious than Aladdin.  I don't know if I could call the style beautiful.  There is some lovely background art, of course, but overall, the art is not particularly beautiful.  It's sleek and looks great, very eye-catching and fun, but I cannot think of any scenes that took my breath away on visual value alone.  Each character was uniquely designed, all very different from each other and fitting their personalities perfectly.

Sound/Music: As a modern film, sound quality is superb.  Clear audio and music.  I cannot say the music is very memorable.  I cannot remember any of it except the beginning song, and even that, I can only remember bits of it.  I know the ending song, My Funny Friend and Me, was sung by Sting, but I just didn't like it.  Something about it was just too odd for me.  It didn't sound right.  The score overall wasn't bad or obnoxious.  It fit everything well; I just wouldn't buy the soundtrack.  As for voice talent, it was an all-star cast, and I thought they were all perfect.  David Spade had perfect delivery for Kuzco, Eartha Kitt made Yzma especially Pittmanesque and awesome, and Patrick Warburton as Kronk was the greatest idea ever.  John Goodman also did great as Pacha, though I think his performance is not as memorable as the others.

Story: Despite the title, this film is nothing like The Emperor's New Clothes.  Actually, when this film was first conceived, its title was Kingdom of the Sun.  It went through such great "development hell" that practically everything about it changed including the title.  Can I say that this new story is better than the story of Kingdom of the Sun?  Well...it's a very quirky tale about a young emperor who decides to destroy an entire village in order to build his gigantic summer home there as a birthday gift for himself (yes, he's a Pittman).  The leader of the village, Pacha, is not at all happy about this, of course.  When Kuzco fires his advisor, Yzma, she attempts to kill him and take the throne but accidentally turns him into a llama instead.  The emperor-turned-llama wakes up to find himself at Pacha's home and demands to be escorted home.  The two attempt to return to his palace while Yzma and her bumbling right-hand man, Kronk, try to find them to kill Kuzco.  It all ends with Yzma being turned into a cat (YEEEEEEEEEES) and Kuzco learning the value of friendship and deciding to not destroy Pacha's village after all.  At its core, it's a buddy film, for sure.  Kuzco and Pacha are totally different people, but as they say, opposites attract!  Um...it's not a great story, to be honest, and there are a lot of overly cartoony things that happen that are kind of annoying, but it's certainly entertaining and never boring.  I suppose it has a good moral, too, and the characters are certainly interesting.  Kuzco is a real brat, Kronk is a lovable idiot, and Yzma is...Pittmanesque.  It feels a bit rushed at times, but it's definitely a fun film to watch when you're bored!

Personal appeal: I hated this movie when I first saw it.  I didn't think it was funny at all.  It was what I called "forced humor" in that the humor wasn't genuine, it seemed like the jokes were there because the writers forced them to be there, not because they actually naturally worked with what was going on.  Everyone else seemed to adore this movie, and I just couldn't figure out why until many years later, like ten years later.  I finally started to find the film funny because I stopped judging it for being forced and just tried to enjoy it for what it was, and now, I actually love this movie, too!  The art, music, and story aren't particularly brilliant, but the characters and jokes are enough to make me smile every time.


Overall, I give this movie three out of five peridots.

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