Blu-ray
For Fans Only
3 stars
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Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3.5 Stars
Supplements
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
For Fans Only

The Emperor's New Groove / Kronk's New Groove

Street Date:
June 11th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
June 13th, 2013
Movie Release Year:
2000
Studio:
Disney/Buena Vista
Length:
150 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated G
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

'The Emperor's New Groove'

It's been well documented that the early 2000s is when the Disney animated films lost quite a bit of their luster. The show-stopping blockbuster presence of 'The Lion King' and 'Beauty and the Beast' were gone. Silly, unnecessary sequels were being churned out at a dizzying pace, which in turn tarnished the legacy of the originals. Though, there still are a few bright spots when we're allowed to look back with hindsight. They may not have been box office smashes like many of Disney's Diamond Editions were, but they're there. Personally, looking back on this rough patch in Disney animated features I can't help but feel buried within the 'Treasure Planet's and 'Brother Bear's is one of Disney's most underrated movies: 'The Emperor's New Groove.'

Coming on the heels of the ho-hum prehistoric CGI adventure, 'Dinosaur,' 'The Emperor's New Groove' felt like a "nothing to lose," type of movie. The way it's crafted, scripted, and plotted doesn't feel like any other Disney movie out there. It's a fun little farce with quick-witted humor, hilarious characters, and a hysterically diabolical villain. Storytelling conventions of Disney's past are swept aside, while we're given one of the funnier movies that they've ever produced.

Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade) is a young, selfish ruler. He's infatuated with himself and has grand plans of kicking a few peasants off their hill so he can build a him-themed water park. Pacha (John Goodman) is one of those peasants. He's about to get kicked out of his homeland and he can't do a thing about it. As with most Disney rulers, there seems to always be a dastardly advisor waiting in the background concocting evil plans to take over. That role goes to Yzma (voiced by Eartha Kitt). She's old. Real old. But, she's had enough of Kuzco's rule and wants to take the throne for herself. Enlisting the help of her doofy sidekick Kronk (voiced by Patrick Warburton), she ends up turning Kuzco into a llama with a special potion. Well, the potion was simply supposed to kill him, but Kronk can't do much right except when it comes to cooking great spinach puffs.

Kuzco the llama and Pacha are soon throne together in an unlikely duo. There are lessons to be learned and relationships to be cultivated, but it isn't done in Disney's normal manner. What's so fun about this movie is the 'Looney Tunes' way it goes about things. It's an animated madcap comedy that points out its own absurdities. It's endlessly quotable and has, over time, become one of my favorite Disney films. Every time I watch it I find it impossible not to laugh. Its comedy and gags age perfectly well.

'The Emperor's New Groove': 4 Stars

The only way Disney could diminish the hilarity and cleverness of this movie is by churning out one of those stale sequels…

'Kronk's New Groove'

This is the kind of crap that really got Disney into trouble during this era. They couldn't just leave a good thing alone. When Kronk became one of the most memorable characters it was only a matter of time until Disney spun off a sequel with him at the center. Instead of creating something fresh, the same jokes and gags are used, hoping that people will realize "Hey, that was in the first movie. Remember? It was funny then. It must be funny now." It's not, though. That doesn't stop the sequel from treading over everything that makes the first movie such a joy to watch.

This one is little more than a distraction. There's something about Kronk trying to impress his stern father, fending off Yzma once again, and Kuzco commenting from the peanut gallery ("Hey, remember when Kuzco stopped the film and drew on it with a red marker? Yeah, let's do that exact same thing.")

'Kronk's New Groove' isn't worth watching, a sad fact I was reminded of while watching it. It's so stale. It simply regurgitates the same jokes as the first movie hoping to get a couple cheap laughs. The first movie was great. There's no need to sour its memory with this hackneyed rip-off.

'Kronk's New Groove': 2 Stars

Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This is a 3-disc set. Both movies are contained on one 50GB Blu-ray. The other two discs are DVDs. One for each movie. There are only two disc hubs inside. The DVDs come stacked in the same hub. A standard Disney slipcover is provided. Inside is a leaflet with a code for Disney Movie Rewards. The packaged indicates that it's a region-free release.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'The Emperor's New Groove'

Bright, colorful, and, for the most part, clear of any digital defects, 'The Emperor's New Groove' 1080p presentation looks as good as one might suspect. The problem, however, seems to be that these 2-movie releases seem to constantly have a few issues when it comes to banding.

Most of it is good news, though. Fans of the movie will be enthralled by the bright, vivid charm of the two-dimensional animation. Color fills are stable and well resolved. Backgrounds are produced cleanly. Lines are clearly delineated. Black areas are as deep as they can get.

The problems come in the gradients. As Kronk and Yzma descend into Yzma's secret laboratory, down into the darkness, banding can be seen encircling them. The gradients just don't seem to hold together well. While it's a somewhat minor complaint, it is noticeable, and should be addressed.

'The Emperor's New Groove': 4 Stars

'Kronk's New Groove'

Sporting a low-budget look, like most of Disney's sequels, 'Kronk's New Groove' looks more like a cheap Disney Channel cartoon than a feature-length animated film. Cheaply produced animation aside, this movie suffers from the same banding problems, but they're a little more prevalent. Aliasing is also perceptible during a few scenes.

'Kronk's New Groove': 3.5 Stars

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'The Emperor's New Groove'

It's light atmosphere doesn't lend itself well to a completely immersive sound design. Sure we're provided a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, but the movie itself is a breezy affair. Meaning, the lossless mix, while nicely rounded, can only do so much.

Now, that may put the audio mix in a bad light. That's not my intention at all. This isn't like 'The Lion King.' There aren't huge action scenes that require heavy amounts of bass and immersive surround sound activity. This is a light comedic movie, so the audio mix follows suit. The opening song is about as immersive as the movie gets in the audio department. The rear channels are filled with the funky music as we're introduced to Kuzco and his story. Most of the movie, however, is dialogue driven. It's a good thing that the dialogue is always clear.

LFE is sparse, but does have time to shine during the jaguar chase, the waterfall drop, and the movie's soundtrack. It's a perfectly satisfying sound mix given the nature of the film.

'The Emperor's New Groove': 4 Stars

'Kronk's New Groove'

Like the animation, everything here seems a little…less. Sure dialogue is clear, but the music feels oddly thin. Rear channels don't have the oomph they had in the original. LFE is even less involved. All in all, it follows the pattern of the dreaded Disney sequel: never, ever nearly as good as the first.

'Kronk's New Groove': 3 Stars

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

This two-movies-one-disc thing Disney has been doing with its second tier titles is becoming bothersome. If you want to view or listen to the special features for these movies you're going to have to pop in the DVDs, because there aren't any special features on the Blu-ray. What's even worse is that none of the long list of special features from the second disc of The Ultimate Groove Edition from 2000 were ported over.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no Blu-ray exclusives provided here.

Final Thoughts

It's a crying shame that this Blu-ray release doesn't include all of the special feature content that it should include from other DVD releases. There's really no excuse for it, but this is the nature of these 2-movie collections. Honestly, I'd rather have a single movie release and all its extras rather than its insipid sequel. That said, Disney has done another great job technically with one of their most underrated films. 'The Emperor's New Groove' will certainly make a welcomed addition to any Disney fan's collection. It just may make them a little angry when they find out exactly what they're missing.

Technical Specs

  • 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1
  • 1.66:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Russian

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