Monday, March 22, 2010

The Emperor's New Groove 2: Kronk's New Groove

Year 2, Day 81 - 3/22/10 - Movie #446

BEFORE: This was a direct-to-video sequel to last night's film, which would usually mean that it's below my radar, but the Disney Channel ran it a couple years ago, and I taped it to put on DVD as a double-feature, so it made its way on to my list.

THE PLOT: This movie picks up Kronk's life from where "The Emperor's New Groove" leaves off.

AFTER: This is a different way of telling a story, with 2 flashbacks dividing the film into three segments. Each contains a little life-lesson - OK, I suppose it's the same lesson three times in a row, as Kronk learns three times that honesty is the best policy (Kronk's a little slow...)

We learn that Kronk aided the sorceress Yzma in a scam to sell a useless "youth potion" to a bunch of senior citizens, who sell their house to Kronk so they can afford more potion. In the second flashback, Kronk leads a team of Chipmunk scouts in a camp competition, and after falling for the rival female counselor, decides that fair play is better than doing whatever it takes to win.

However, things don't always tend to go Kronk's way, despite the fact that he chooses to listen to the angel on his right shoulder more often than the devil on his left. (did the Aztecs believe in angels and devils? Just wondering...) And after losing his house and his girl, despite his attempts to be fair and honest, he's got nothing to show when his father, Papi comes to visit.

Because he can't stand his father's disapproval, Kronk tosses out the lessons he's learned, and tries to deceive his father with a fake family, and not admit that he's just a lowly homeless fry-cook. In the end, he learns (for the third time) that it's better to tell the truth, but since he's surrounded by his friends, it's sort of a touching "It's a Wonderful Life" moment.

There are plenty of references to other films, both Disney and non-Disney. Kronk and his girlfriend share a meal similar to the one in "Lady and the Tramp", swing on vines like "Tarzan", and the arrows hitting a bullseye resemble the animated "Robin Hood". Other references are to "Titanic", "Evita", "Lord of the Rings", and the dance sequence manages to pay homage to "Saturday Night Fever", "Pulp Fiction" and the moves of Michael Jackson. Even Yzma's appearance as a part-cat seems to be a nod to her days as Catwoman on the old "Batman" show.

And it's a Patrick Warburton triple-play, as his Kronk takes center-stage in this film. A host of other TV-sitcom voices are heard here, like David Spade, John Goodman, Wendie Malick (all reprising their roles from the first film), along with John Mahoney ("Frasier") and Tracey Ullman.

RATING: 5 out of 10 loaves of raisin bread

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