Groovy, Baby!

Disney's psychedelic animation feature is a laugh riot.


That is perhaps the best way to describe Disney's latest offering, "The Emperor’s New Groove." A hilarious concoction of colour, song and magic, Disney has once again outdone itself in making an animation feature that,I think, should well go down in cartoon history as being funny and well-directed. There’s the self-absorbed king, the antiquated old hag who schemes to take over the kingdom, her large-bodied, small-brained helper and of course, the simpleton good-guy peasant.

The story is set in ancient South America, llamas et al. Incidentally that is exactly what the king, Kuzco, (David Spade does a brilliant job on the voice) is turned into by the evil and very wrinkled Yzma (with a little help from her helper Kronk.) Pacha, the simple peasant, agrees to help the "Talking Llama" get back to the palace and on the way teaches him a few lessons on what it feels like being a neglected, lonely subject in a ruthless kingdom.

The egoistic, footloose and fancy-free king soon learns what responsibility means. However the bad guys are still looking for him, remember? The second half of the feature is a laugh riot, what with the ridiculous things each side does to protect itself.

The animation is a clever combination of the ancient and modern. For example, when Yzma and Kronk reach their secret laboratory, they automatically don white doctor suits and anti-radiation glares. The court musician for the king is Elvis in Aztec jewellery. Kuzco even does the moonwalk. Somehow, just the sight of cartoons in Aztec dress - long robes, blue circular earrings et al - doing an impromptu Jackson imitation is too much for the stomach to take without bursting!

This article was first published on 14 May 2001.