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The Emperor’s New Groove 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray Review

The Emperor's New Groove 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray

“The Emperor’s New Groove” is a light and breezy Disney flick.

“Kronk’s New Groove” is a standard made for DVD sequel.

Originally planned as another picture entirely called “Kingdom of the Sun,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” became a vastly different project based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In this short 78 minute feature length animated film, the story revolves around the spoiled, rude, self absorbed Emperor Kuzco who wants to rule and live life his own way. This, of course, does not sit well with Yzma (the Emperor’s creepy and cruel advisor) who wants to rule in his place. With the help of Yzma’s dim witted right hand man Kronk, the two devise a plan to poison Kuzco. Thanks to a mix up, however, Kuzco doesn’t die, but instead becomes turned into a llama. While trying to find a way to turn back into a human, Kuzco finds that the only person who can help him is a kind hearted common family man named Pacha. Unfortunately, Kuzco and Pacha don’t exactly get along as Kuzco wants to build his Kuzcotopia where Pacha’s home and village rest. Can Kuzco turn back into a human? Will Kuzco learn from his mistakes? Can Yzma be stopped? You’ll have to find out.

While not as deep or poignant as say “Pinocchio,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” is a light, funny, colorful, weird, and fast paced animated feature about friendship, selfishness, kindness, and change. Sure, some of the writing is a bit clunky (probably as a result of the rewrites and multiple development phases) and some of the gags make zero sense (like the Yzma racing out of a closet bit), but if you invest in the story and characters, you won’t mind too much. Adults and kids alike will undoubtedly respond to the character dynamics between Kuzco and Pacha, but really, it’s the film’s oddball humor that makes the biggest impression. Between the odd asides like the chimp bit and the Marx Brothers esque restaurant sequence to Kuzco’s breaking the fourth wall narration and Kronk’s squirrel talk, the film has plenty to make viewers laugh.

On the subject of Kronk, the character clearly steals the show here thanks to the award worthy voice acting performance by Patrick Warburton. He manages to bring the morally confused, dim witted, and sometimes surprisingly intelligent character to life with ease. John Goodman (who has become a voice acting pro in his own right) also shines as Pacha especially in his scenes with his family and with Kuzco (voiced by David Spade). Not to be forgotten here is Earth Kitt who voices Yzma. Yzma is one of the rare villains who is both nasty and funny.

As much as I dug Kronk in the first film, it becomes quite apparent that he’s not as interesting when he’s the focus of the made for DVD sequel (“Kronk’s New Groove”). While the character is certainly fleshed out more, the multi-story film is a bit too cluttered for my taste. “Kronk’s New Groove” is essentially 3 films in one as there are stories about Kronk (now a chef) trying to please his father, Yzma scamming senior citizens with a youth potion, and a camp competition story in which Kronk falls for a female troop leader named Birdwell.

While I appreciated the fact that the story went in slightly different directions with the inclusion of multiple subplots, the sequel still recycles much of the first film’s themes, story element, and plotlines. For instance, ‘Kronk’ has songs, themes about friendship and family, the same settings (for the most part), another fiendish Yzma plot, more breaking the fourth wall narration, etc. Sure, the movie does mock the fact that it’s a sequel at times (which was amusing), but I wish these made for DVD sequels were more fresh and less by-the-numbers.

Video/Audio:

Both films, which are presented in widescreen 1080p, have been given typically stunning Disney Blu-ray releases. “The Emperor’s New Groove” is particularly noteworthy here as the colors really pop in this transfer. As for ‘Kronk,’ the film’s lesser production values are more apparent in hi-def, but this is still the best the sequel has ever looked.

It should come as no surprise that the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio tracks for both films are superb. From the lively musical numbers to the stand-out voice acting, these tracks deliver.

DVD Extras (the Blu-ray disc has none):
* Disney trailers.
* “The Emperor’s Got Game”-Action-Filled Adventure Game”-
* 3 deleted scenes including the original ending for “The Emperor’s New Groove.”
* “Behind The Scenes”- 3 featurettes titled “The Research Trip,” “The Character Voices,” and “Creating CGI.”
* Commentary on “The Emperor’s New Groove” by Randy Fullmer, Mark Dindal, Colin Stimpson, Joseph C. Moshier, Stephen Anderson, Nik Ranieri and Bruce W. Smith. The group chat about the characters, cut material, storytelling, etc. Sadly, there’s a lack of discussion about what the film was originally going to be.
* Music videos for Sting’s “My Funny Friend And Me” Rascal Flatts’ Learn To “Walk The Llama Llama.”
* 2 more games titled “Kronk’s Brain Game” and “Pyramid Scheme.”
* “Backstage Disney: How To Cook A Movie”- Voice actor Patrick Warburton and the two directors (Elliot M. Bour and Saul Andrew Blinkoff) talk about the process of how a movie is created.

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June 27, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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