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

EmperorsNewGrooveANDKronksNewGroove2MovieCollectionThis summer, Walt Disney Studios invites audiences to get into the groove with two outrageously funny animated comedies, The Emperor’s New Groove and Kronk’s New Groove for the first time ever on Blu-ray hi-definition, in a 2 movie collection.  The 3-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack includes both feature films on a single Blu-ray disc plus each film on individual DVDs.   The fun begins with The Emperor’s New Groove, featuring an all-star cast and Academy Award-nominated music by Sting (Best Music, Original Song, Sting, 2000).  When the young and spoiled Emperor Kuzco (voice of David Spade) is transformed into a llama by his sinister advisor Yzma (voice of Eartha Kitt) and her henchman Kronk (voice of Patrick Warburton), it takes a thoughtful peasant named Pasha (voice of John Goodman) to restore the kingdom and show Kuzco just how much fun it is to be true to yourself.  Then audiences can continue the fun with Kronk’s New Groove.  The outrageous sequel stars Yzma’s hilarious henchman Kronk in a riotous adventure that’s filled with hysterical mayhem and mishaps.  Kronk cooks up a get-rich quick scheme to impress his Dad.  But when things go wrong, Kronk kicks into comical high gear and discovers that the true riches in life are his friends and being “true to your groove.”


The Emperor’s New Groove  

Kronk’s New Groove  

A lot has been said about The Emperor’s New Groove’s troubled production, as it was originally supposed to be a drama called Kingdom of the Sun with songs from Sting to help tell the story.  When Disney executives saw the rough cut of the film as it was being completed, they weren’t happy and they ended up scrapping what had been done (including Sting’s songs and some voice actors) and moved the movie into a more comedic direction.  An interesting side note to this situation was the facts that as part of his agreement to make music for the movie, Sting got Disney to agree to let his wife Trudie Styler document the process in a film that would later be called The Sweatbox and one that I really want to see now.

Now with a new director and direction, this updated take on the classic story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” would feature some of the same elements of the original movie but spin them into a more comedic fashion.  The main focus of the story would still be a spoiled young emperor who must learn to think of others and the many adventures and lessons that he would learn along the way to achieve that enlightenment.  With this new approach, Disney allowed for a more improvisational approach to how the story would be told, with Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) frequently pausing the film to address the audience directly.

From the very beginning of the film we see just how selfish Kuzco can be when he orders that an elderly man be thrown from a high window for ruining his “groove.”  Kuzco also has no problem summoning a peasant named Pacha (John Goodman) that his house and the rest of his village will be destroyed to make room for his summer palace.  His advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt) is even worse that he is and she is plotting to kill him to take his place on the throne with the help of Kronk (Patrick Warburton), her dimwitted assistant/chef.

After getting fired by Kuzco for trying to take his power, Yzma and Kronk feed him a potion that should have killed him but because of a mistake by Krink, it turns Kuzco into a llama instead.  Kronk is ordered to kill Kuzco but bungles that too as he accidentally drops the bag containing Kuzco into the cart of the peasant Pacha who is dejectedly walking home with the bad news about the village.  They arrive at Pacha’s village, and Pacha discovers Kuzco in the bad.  He offers to help Kuzco if Kuzco will agree to abandon the summer palace plan and allow Pacha and the rest of the villagers to stay in their home.

From this point on, it’s a buddy movie as two mismatched guys have to learn to work together and get past their differences while trying to avoid getting killed by Yzma and her henchmen.  This isn’t your typical Disney movie and I enjoyed a lot of the humor in it.  Your enjoyment level may vary depending on how you feel about David Spade, as he’s a big part of the movie and much of the humor is intrinsically tied to him.  If you don’t like his shtick, then you probably won’t like this movie.  Even if you don’t like Spade, the rest of the cast is excellent in their roles.  John Goodman is always good in these kind of roles and Eartha Kitt is also fantastic as the evil and yet humorous Yzma.

Patrick Warburton was so good as Kronk, that he his character became the focus of the sequel that’s included on this disc.  In that, Kronk gets duped into helping Yzma defraud some senior citizens so he could build a big house to impress his father.  While it’s not as funny as the first movie, Kronk’s New Groove does have some laughs and it’s better than most of Disney’s direct to video movies and surprisingly enough, it even has the entire original cast return to voice their characters.  All in all, this is a fun movie and a decent sequel, so if you are looking for something a little more sarcastic and different than the usual Disney movie, then you should give this one a shot.


The Emperor’s New Groove  

Kronk’s New Groove  

Just like Lilo and Stitch, The Emperor’s New Groove’s 1080p (1.68:1) transfer looks a lot better than the previous DVD release but not quite as good as other recent Disney releases.  Colors come across very well, with a nice variety of bright colors that look good throughout the movie.  Detail is also very good with a clean, crisp look to it that is considerably better than the previous release.  Black levels are acceptably dark and solid.  My main complaint about this transfer is that there’s some slight banding issues that are noticeable but not to the point of being overly distracting.  It’s just enough to lose a star from what would otherwise be a perfect score.  Kronk’s New Groove is arguably the same quality as the first movie’s encode, but with less refined animation as it’s a direct to video release so it has a made for TV look to it.  It too suffers from banding but other than that, it looks very good for a non theatrical release.


The Emperor’s New Groove  

Kronk’s New Groove  

The Emperor’s New Groove’s DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is an above average one but not nearly as good as most of Disney’s other releases.  This lossless mix is fairly low key but it does kick into action when something zany is happening on screen.  The dialogue is clear even during the frantic action scenes and the music is delivered well without being overpowering.  Kronk’s New Groove DTS-HD Master Audio track is more of a front heavy mix that does the job fairly well.  The rear channels do provide some activity on occasion, but overall it’s a fairly straightforward direct to video mix.


In what appears to be a trend now from Disney, this 2-Movie Collection includes three discs – one Blu-ray that contains both version of the movie and no special features at all, and two DVDs for each film that have the limited extras.  That’s annoying enough, but what makes it even worse is the fact that the audio commentary is relegated to the DVDs too which means if you want to hear it, you’ll have to watch the movie on a crappy DVD instead of the Blu-ray. As far as the extras go, I guess it doesn’t really matter that they are on DVD since each of the extras is in standard definition anyway.  As an additional side note, if you have the previous “Ultimate Groove” 2 disc edition of the first movie on DVD, you might want to keep that since this set left out an entire disc of extras that was on that set.  It’s also a shame that Trudie Styler’s The Sweatbox wasn’t included as that would have been cool.

Here’s what you will find on the DVDs:

The Emperor’s New Groove

  • Deleted Scenes – There are three deleted scenes that are introduced by executive producer Don Hahn and director Mark Dindal and they are: “Destruction of Pacha’s Village,” “Pacha’s Family” and “Original Kuzcotopia Ending.”
  • Backstage Disney: Behind the Scenes – This extra offers a collection of featurettes.   The first one  “The Research Trip”, covers the research trip to Peru that they took for inspiration, the second one “The Character Voices”, gives us a behind the scenes look at the cast getting recorded, and the last one  “Creating Computer Generated Props”, shows us how objects in the movie are created and how much work is involved.
  • Interactive Game –  Kids can play “The Emperor’s Got Game” which is a trivia game where they try to beat Yzma to get back to the palace to change from a llama back into a human.
  • Audio Commentary – The commentary is provided mainly by producer Randy Fullmer but others chime in with their thoughts too.  There’s also director Mark Dindal; art director Colin Stimpson; character designer Joseph C. Moshier; story supervisor Stephen J. Anderson; supervising animator for Kuzco/llama Kuzco, Nik Ranieri; and supervising animator for Pacha, Bruce W. Smith.
  • Music Videos – “My Funny Friend and Me” by Sting and “Walk the Llama Llama” by Rascal Flatts.

Kronk’s New Groove-

  • Interactive Games – More games for the kids including: “Kronk’s Brain Game,” where kids have to complete his to-do list by answering questions; and “Pyramid Scheme,” which is a game show type of game where Kuzco ask trivia questions that will earn a summer home if they are correct.
  • Backstage Disney: How to Cook a Movie – This is a look at the film-making process that is geared for kids.  It stars directors Saul Blinkoff and Elliot M. Bour as well as Patrick Warburton as they try to find the necessary ingredients to make a film so they can get a green light from the studio.


I enjoyed both movies but I like the first one the best.  It has plenty of jokes and sight gags and despite it’s troubled production, it turned out pretty good.  The Blu-ray offers some decent video and audio quality, but the extras needed more work. I don’t like that they are put on the DVDs and even the ones that are still here aren’t that great.  I wish they had ported over all of the extras from the previous “Ultimate Groove” edition and put them on a second Blu-ray disc instead of this.  These movies look and sound a lot better than they did on DVD though, so I still recommend that it’s worth upgrading for that.  You just might want to keep your DVDs for the extras if that’s important to you.

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