The Emperor's New Groove is a 2000 American animated buddy comedy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 40th animated Disney feature film and was directed by Mark Dindal from a script written by David Reynolds, based on a story by Chris Williams and Dindal. The voice cast features David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, and Wendie Malick. The Emperor's New Groove follows a young and self-centered Incan emperor, Kuzco, who is transformed into a llama by his ex-advisor, Yzma. In order for the emperor to change back into a human, he trusts a village leader, Pacha, who escorts him back to the palace.

Development began in 1994, when the film was conceived as a musical epic titled Kingdom of the Sun. Following his directorial debut with The Lion King (1994), Roger Allers recruited English musician Sting to compose several songs for the film. Because of the underwhelming box office performances of Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dindal was brought in as co-director to make the film more comedic. Because of poor test screenings, creative differences with Dindal and production falling behind schedule, Allers departed, and the film became a lighthearted comedy instead of a dramatic musical. A documentary, The Sweatbox (2002), details the production troubles that The Emperor's New Groove endured during its six years of development.

The Emperor's New Groove was released to theaters on December 15, 2000. It performed disappointingly at the box office compared to Disney films released in the 1990s, grossing $169.3 million on a $100 million budget. However, the film found larger success when it was released for home media, and became the bestselling DVD of 2001. It received generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised it as one of the best films released during Disney's post-Renaissance era and the most comedic. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "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, and an animated spin-off, The Emperor's New School, aired on Disney Channel from 2006 to 2008.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Kuzco is the young, selfish, and overly-pampered emperor of the Inca Empire who lives the high-life and routinely punishes those who displease him, such as having an elderly man defenestrated for the crime of "throwing off his groove". One day, Kuzco meets with Pacha, a kind peasant and village leader, and tells him that he plans to demolish his hilltop family home to build himself a lavish summer home called "Kuzcotopia". Pacha protests, but is quickly dismissed. That evening, Kuzco's conniving adviser, Yzma, plots to take over as empress by hosting a dinner (her trick of secretly poisoning Kuzco as her revenge for him firing her for stealing his job running orders), but due to a mislabeled vial, her muscular but clumsy and oafish henchman Kronk Pepikrankenitz inadvertently spikes Kuzco's wine with the wrong potion, turning him into a llama. After knocking Kuzco out, Yzma orders Kronk to dispose of him in a river. However, after doing so, Kronk has a crisis of conscience at the last second and saves Kuzco, but misplaces him on a cart belonging to Pacha.

Upon returning home, Pacha does not tell his family about Kuzco's decision. After awakening from the bag on the cart and scaring Pacha, Kuzco blames Pacha for his transformation and orders Pacha to return him to the palace. Pacha agrees, but only if Kuzco agrees to build Kuzcotopia elsewhere. Kuzco refuses the offer and decides to go by himself against Pacha's warnings, but quickly ends up getting chased through the jungle by a pack of black jaguars. Pacha arrives to rescue him, and extends his offer a second time, to which Kuzco seemingly accepts. The two survive many ordeals in the jungle, and Pacha finds that Kuzco has a good side to him underneath his selfishness. Meanwhile, Yzma takes the throne, but is angered to learn from Kronk that Kuzco is still alive, so the two set out to find him.

The next day, the pairs arrive at a jungle diner at the same time, unaware of each other's presence. While Kuzco complains to the cook, Pacha overhears Yzma's plan and attempts to warn Kuzco when he returns, but he doesn't believe Pacha, thinking he is beloved by his people, and reveals that he intended to renege on his promise to spare Pacha's home. However, Kuzco soon overhears Yzma's and Kronk's plot of attempting to kill him and learns that no one in his kingdom misses him due to his selfishness. Feeling guilty and unwanted, Kuzco leaves the diner on his own, planning on living out the rest of his life as a normal llama. Pacha catches up, still willing to help Kuzco return to normal after knowing his life is in danger. Kuzco reconciles with him before they set off to Pacha's house for supplies.

Upon arriving, Yzma is already there, searching for the two. Pacha has his family delay Yzma, giving him and Kuzco a head-start back to the palace, intending to enter Yzma's lab and find a potion to reverse the effects of the llama potion. However, they are ambushed by Yzma and Kronk, who somehow made it back ahead of Kuzco and Pacha. Yzma then orders Kronk to kill the duo. When Kronk hesitates, Yzma insults him, prompting him to betray her, but she drops him down a trapdoor. She then summons the palace guards and claims that Pacha and Kuzco murdered the emperor, forcing them to flee with an armful of vials containing various animal potions (Yzma deliberately knocked them all to the floor so that Kuzco and Pacha could not tell which one is correct), which they use to transform Kuzco during the chase. Pacha also knocks a table of flasks containing other animal potions into the pursuing guards, turning them into various animals. As they are cornered on the ledges of a giant wall structure, they are left with two remaining vials. Yzma and Kuzco struggle over the vials, accidentally crushing one and transforming Yzma into a small kitten. Pacha and Kuzco use teamwork to reach the other vial. Pacha gives Kuzco the vial, and Kuzco, after expressing his gratitude to Pacha, drinks the potion.

Some time later, a restored Kuzco, having reflected on the consequences of his selfishness and made amends, takes Pacha's suggestion of moving Kuzcotopia over to a neighboring and unoccupied hill. Kuzco then joins Pacha and his family at his modest and smaller resort.

Voice cast[edit | edit source]

Main article: List of The Emperor's New Groove characters

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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