The Emperor’s New Groove—Ridiculous Nonsense in the Best Way

The Emperor's New Groove movie poster
The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove is a Disney Movie that follows the Emperor Kuzco after he’s cursed and becomes a llama. He then has to rely on the peasant Pacha whose home he’d planned on destroying. It’s a buddy comedy that makes the most of using humor to get away with any and everything.

1—The Nonsense

We start the movie off with Emperor Kuzco narrating how his life got so off-track. He occasionally stops the story to do things like scribble over the top of it. Also, we get one instance of story-Kuzco arguing with narrator-Kuzco, with is very meta. There are plenty of anachronisms, like an electric floor buffer, and animals that don’t belong in a jungle, like a squirrel. During the final chase scene, Yzma and Kronk get taken out by a very localized lightning storm, only to reappear at Yzma’s secret lab and not know themselves how they got there. But oh well, on with the assassination attempt! The visual gags and use of “cartoon” physics just works in this movie.

2—All-Star Cast

The Emperor’s New Groove has a great cast, each voice perfectly suiting their character. David Spade as Kuzco is annoying but not too much, and John Goodman as Pacha brings an earthy quality. But Eartha Kitt steals the show as Yzma, the emperor’s advisor, whom he fires and who then tries to poison him, only for her dense assistant Kronk, voiced by Patrick Warburton, to use the wrong potion. Wendi Malick also does an excellent job as Chicha, Pacha’s pregnant but far from helpless wife.

3—Bright and Colorful

The design of this movie is spectacular, from Kuzco’s palace, to Pacha’s village, to the jungle where much of the film takes place. The palace’s ridiculous architecture full of stairs so shallow no one could actually climb—for instance, Kuzco descends his throne via a rope in one scene—and golden figures is beautiful, as is the jungle, full of lush green vines and saturated brown trees. Pacha’s home is shown to have a lovingly carved doorway. It’s a beautiful movie.


The Emperor’s New Groove was a lot of fun with a good heart beating through all the silliness. Not that the silliness is a detriment—the movie wouldn’t be the same without it. So if you can put your sense of, well, sense on hold and just enjoy the ride, it’s a good time.

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