The Emperor's New Groove is a 2000 American animated buddy comedy film created by Walt Disney Feature Animation. It is the 40th film in Disney's animated features canon. It was directed by Mark Dinal, produced by Randy Fullmer, written by David Reynolds and stars David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton and Wendie Malick.
The film was altered significantly over its six years of development and production. It began as a musical epic titled Kingdom of the Sun, to have been directed by Dindal and Roger Allers (co-director of The Lion King), and was changed by Disney executives into a light-hearted buddy comedy. The documentary The Sweatbox details the production troubles that the film endured.
The film received generally positive reviews and is considered to be one of the best films of Disney's post-Renaissance era. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for ''My Funny Friend and Me'' performed by Sting, but lost to ''Things Have Changed'' by Bob Dylan from Wonder Boys. A direct-to video sequel, Kronk's New Groove, was released in 2005, followed by an animated television series, The Emperor's New School in 2006.
Kuzco is a selfish Incan emperor. He dismisses the appearances of potential brides and has an old man thrown out the window for ''throwing off his groove''. On the day before his 18th birthday, Kuzco fires his advisor Yzma for abusing her status and ruling the kingdom behind his back. Shortly after Yzma leaves, the compassionate and good-natured peasant Pacha arrives at the palace with orders to visit Kuzco. After a brief conversation, Kuzco reveals his birthday plans: destroying Pacha's village to make way for a luxurious summer home he calls ''Kuzcotopia''. Enraged, Pacha attempts to protest, but fails and is dismissed back to his home.
Meanwhile, Yzma schemes in her laboratory. Bitter over her lost job, she invites Kuzco for dinner in order to kill him. During supper, Yzma attempts to poison Kuzco, but her dim-witted but affable henchman Kronk accidentally end up giving him a potion that transforms him into a llama. After knocking Kuzco out, Yzma orders Kronk to dispose of the body, but he faces his conscience and saves the llama. Wondering what to do, Kronk drops the unconscious Kuzco, who ends up landing on Pacha's cart as he leaves. That night, Pacha arrives home, afraid to tell his pregnant wife and two children about Kuzco's plans. Awakening in the cart, Kuzco reveals himself as a llama and orders Pacha to take him back to the palace, but Pacha will only do so if Kuzco changes his plans. Kuzco arrogantly sets off into the jungle alone, before being ambushed by jaguars. Pacha rescues him after going over a waterfall. The next morning, Kuzco falsely promises to spare Pacha's village and the two make their way to the palace.
Convincing the kingdom that Kuzco was killed, Yzma takes the throne. However, Kronk reveals he actually lost Kuzco, so the two set off to find him. Pacha and Kuzco are almost back to the palace when Pacha falls through a bridge and Kuzco refuses to help him up, admitting he never meant to keep his promise, but he soon finds himself in danger as well, and they work together to save both their lives. With the bridge destroyed, the journey will take a longer time, giving Pacha hope that Kuzco will change his mind. Hungry and tired, Pacha and a disguised Kuzco visit a diner. Unbeknownst to them, Yzma and Kronk are there as well. Pacha overhears Yzma and Kronk talking to have Kuzco dead. Throughout the commotion, he tries to warn Kuzco, but Kuzco does not believe him and the two go their separate ways. Kuzco then overhears Yzma's plot to kill him, and that the kingdom doesn't even miss him. When he tries to return to Pacha, he finds that he has already left and unable to find him, then the crestfallen Kuzco wanders in the jungle alone.
Later, Kuzco is soon reunited with Pacha amongst a herd of llamas, where Kuzco apologizes for his actions. With their differences settled, Pacha and Kuzco resume their journey to the palace. However, last night Kronk realized that Pacha he saw in the diner was the same guy who had Kuzco on his cart. After facing obstacles with Pacha's family, Yzma orders Kronk to begin the race to the Imperial palace before Pacha and Kuzco. The race seems to end with Yzma and Kronk falling off a cliff but the pair still inexplicably arrives at the palace first.
Upon arriving at Yzma's lab, she reveals herself and shows them that she has the human potion. Yzma then orders Kronk to kill Pacha and Kuzco, giving a dagger to him. After another conversation with his conscience, he finds he cannot bring himself to commit murder. When Yzma savagely berates him and his cooking for not obeying her orders, he turns on her, and then cuts down a chandelier hanging above Yzma. Having survived the attempt at foiling her plans, a riled Yzma flips a switch that drops Kronk into a trap-door and calls for Imperial guards. Inciting a brawl that ends with the human potion on the ground buried in other potions. Accusing that Pacha and the ''llama'' had murdered Kuzco, the guards chase after the pair. With no time to try each of Yzma's animal potions, Pacha and Kuzco grab them all and run from the guards.
After several guards are transformed into animals while testing potions and Yzma is transformed into a kitten, Pacha and Kuzco work together to try and get the last vial. Yzma snatches it at the last moment, but is foiled by Kronk's sudden appearance. Now a human again, and a ruler with better morals, Kuzco redeems himself and decides to build his summer home elsewhere, and Pacha suggests a neighboring hilltop. In the end, Kuzco is shown living next door to Pacha's family in a modest cabin, sharing a swimming pool with with Pacha and his family. Yzma, still a kitten, grudgingly joins Kronk's Junior Chipmunk troop, along with Pacha's children.
- David Spade as Emperor Kuzco
- John Goodman as Pacha
- Eartha Kitt as Yzma
- Patrick Warburton as Kronk Pepikrankenitz
- Wendie Malick as Chicha
- Kellyann Kelso as Chaca
- Eli Russell Linnetz as Tipo
- Bob Bergen as Bucky the Squirrel
- Patti Deutsch as the Waitress
- John Fiedler as the Old Man
- Tom Jones as the Theme Song Guy
- Additional voices: Stephen J. Anderson, Rodger Bumpass, Robert Clotworthy, Jennifer Darling, Miriam Flynn, Geri Lee Gorowski, Jess Harnell, Sherry Lynn, Danny Mann, Mickie McGowan, D.F. Reynolds, Andre Stojka, Steve Susskind & Joe Whyte
- Perfect World / Perfect World Reprise (performed by Tom Jones)
- My Funny Friend and Me (performed by Sting)
International releases Edit
For information about international dubs and releases, The Emperor's New Groove/International.