Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Emperor's New Groove

Year 2, Day 80 - 3/21/10 - Movie #445

BEFORE: Knocking another Disney film off the list - I'm digging these shorter animated movies, which allow me a little more time to get some other things done around the house, or get to bed at a slightly more reasonable hour. My sleeping schedule got thrown off last week when I missed a night's sleep due to the pain from my first-ever kidney stone (not that I knew what was causing me such pain at the time...) and I had to call in sick, but then wasted the day off by sleeping all day. It's going to be tough to get back to a somewhat-normal schedule by Monday morning.

THE PLOT: Emperor Kuzco is turned into a llama by his ex-administrator Yzma, and must now regain his throne with the help of Pacha, the gentle llama herder.

AFTER: Yeah, I had trouble staying awake during this one, but I'm blaming it on my wacky sleeping schedule more than the film itself, which was actually above-average. Of course, I'm comparing it to "Happily N'Ever After", so the results might be a little skewed.

Magic is at the forefront of this plot also, as a cocky Aztec (Mayan? I always mix those up...) emperor (voiced by the cocky David Spade) is transformed into a llama in a failed assassination attempt. The Disney animators get to show off their love of drawing animals, but at least this time it's not in the form of multiple cutesy sidekicks, it's people being transformed into animals due to some magic potions - a clever twist.

Patrick Warburton (famous for playing Puddy on "Seinfeld") carries over from the last movie - which is not a big deal, since some rule states that Patrick Warburton must appear in every animated film or TV show made since the mid-1990's or so. Seriously, the guy's done voices for "Family Guy", "Venture Bros.", "Hoodwinked", "Bee Movie", "Space Chimps", "Open Season", "Kim Possible", "Chicken Little" and "Home on the Range" - plus a slew of other TV shows and video-games. Something about his voice just instantly conjures up a muscle-headed moron like Kronk, or Puddy.

Anyway, the Emperor has to rely on a peasant (voiced by John Goodman) to get him back to the, temple...and changed back into a human. Along the way he learns a life-lesson about not being arrogant and tyrannical.

The final battle between Kuzco and the sorceress Yzma, with them transforming into a succession of different animals, is sort of reminiscent of the wizard battle seen in "The Sword and the Stone" between Merlin and Madame Mim. There's a famous folk tale similar to this too, but the details of it escape me right now.

Also starring the voices of Eartha Kitt, Wendie Malick, and Tom Jones.

RATING: 6 out of 10 jaguars

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