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Disney: The Emperor's New Groove

Yzma: A llama?! He's supposed to be dead!
Kronk: Yeah. Weird...

A very atypical animated movie from Disney. Hugely self-aware and a lot more dirty than the previous 39 entries in the studio's canon, The Emperor's New Groove is a film that trolled the deepest levels of Development Hell and finally emerged as more or less a spoof of its original concept. As indicated by the title, it is loosely inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story The Emperor's New Clothes.

Kuzco (David Spade) is the spoiled teenaged Emperor of a mountainous jungle nation based (once again, very loosely) on the ancient Incan empire of South America. On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, he becomes the target of an assassination attempt by his incredibly ancient adviser Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her borderline idiot-savant lackey Kronk (Patrick Warburton), after he unceremoniously fires them from their high-profile jobs. Their plan fails, and Kuzco is accidentally turned into a llama. He's forced to team up with burly and good-hearted peasant Pacha (John Goodman) on a dangerous trek through the jungle to reclaim his throne — while Pacha tries to teach Kuzco just a little bit of humility in the process.

The film has no love story apart from Pacha and his very pregnant wife, only two significant songs (both written by Sting after the other 90% of his soundtrack was discarded, and one of which is performed by Tom Jones), and the spurned would-be cute animal sidekick vengefully attempts to get Kuzco eaten by a pack of jaguars. As you might guess, this all plays out more like a feature-length Looney Tunes cartoon than a typical Disney flick. Roger Ebert's review specifically said that this wasn't an animated feature, but a 100-minute cartoon, and that he meant that as a good thing.

It was extremely well-received by critics, but a lackluster Disney marketing effort on its behalf lead to middling box-office returns. It eventually did do well enough to spawn a (significantly less well-received) made-for-video sequel centered around Kronk, and then a TV series.


The Emperor's New Groove provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hug
  • Affably Evil: Kronk, being a Gentle Giant and having great social skills.
    • Yzma has an amusing moment when she politely dismisses a soldier who asks if he can leave after being transformed into a cow.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of classic Disney and Acme cartoons and epic fairy tales.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The alligators in Yzma's trap door moat whine like dogs when slapped.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Yzma, possibly due to being unfathomably old, is an inhuman purplish-gray in a movie where every other character is a more natural light brown.
    • And her face turns bright red when she gets angry.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The waitress says "mazel tov" at one point in the movie. It's possible the film just takes place in a universe where all the Inca are Jewish. Or something.
    • The humor is heavily influenced by Borscht Belt sensibilities.
    • Fun fact: Ancient Meso-Americans being (partially?) descended from Israelites is a big part of what The Book of Mormon is about!
  • Anachronism Stew: Oh, so much (what's an American-style Greasy Spoon—complete with incomprehensible orders and an Expy of the Big Boy—doing in the pre-Colombian Andes?). Most of it can be chalked up to Rule of Funny, except for the wheels. The writers actually spent quite a while debating whether to include wheels before realizing this just wasn't the kind of movie that needed to worry about historical accuracy.
    • A floor waxer gets a few seconds of screen time as part of a joke.
  • Angel Face, Demon Face: Kuzco starts out very hard-lined and softens to more Disney-appropriate features after he learns his Aesop. Yzma looks like she's going to have the demon face but ends up turning into something much cuter than her original "scary beyond all reason" appearance.
  • Animorphism: Since Kuzco is turned into a llama in appearance, it's natural that he'd retain his bipedal capabilities
  • Antihero: Kuzco is a Jerk Ass, but with Character Development he gets better
  • Antivillain: Kronk is only evil by his association with Yzma, and is at worst Affably Evil
  • Apathetic Citizens: But when their choice of leaders is between Kuzco and Yzma, can you really blame them?
  • Argument of Contradictions: Pacha's kids argue about whether their father would ever kiss a llama. They interrupt their rapid fire litany of "Nuh-uh!" "Yeah-huh!" only to say good night to their mother, then continue through the night.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "...[And] I never liked your spinach puffs! Never!" Made even more hilarious because this cut Kronk deeper than anything else she said. Even his Shoulder Devil does a Heel-Face Turn after that.
    Devil: That's it. [cocks trident like a shotgun] She's going down.
  • Art Shift: The animation which accompanies Yzma's Evil Plan.
  • Asexuality: Kuzco seems to lean toward this. Until the TV series, that is.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! / Cloudcuckoolander: Kronk's inability to concentrate more than 10 seconds on Yzma's plans because he always gets distracted (generally by his own cooking). It quickly becomes a Running Gag.
    Yzma: So, is everything ready for tonight?
    Kronk: Oh, yeah. I thought we'd start off with soup and a light salad, and then see how we feel after that.
    Yzma: Not the dinner. You know...
    Kronk: Oh, right. The poison. The poison for Kuzco, the poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco, Kuzco's poison. That poison?
    Yzma: Yes! That poison.
    Kronk: Got you covered.
    Yzma: Excellent. A few drops in his drink, and then I'll propose a toast, and he will be dead before dessert.
    Kronk: Which is a real shame, because it's gonna be delicious.
    • Kronk's cooking is apparently good enough to warrant the lack of focus, since he even convinced Yzma that they should wait until after coffee and dessert before dumping Kuzco.
  • Award Bait Song: Perhaps the most traditional aspect of the film is "My Funny Friend and Me", sung by Sting over the end credits.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Emperor's transformation into a llama is the result of Kronk bumbling Yzma's attempt to assassinate him, mistaking a transformation potion with the intended poison. Later, chaos ensues during the finale when they acquire the rest of Yzma's transformation potions, and Yzma herself never fully recovers from being turned into a cat.
  • Bamboo Technology: Yzma's secret lab.
  • Bat Scare: Kuzco and Pacha disturb a flock of bats when trying to save themselves from falling off a cliff. Fortunately, they ultimately return them back to higher ground.
  • Berserk Button: Seriously. DON'T THROW OFF KUZCO'S GROOVE!
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The movie runs almost entirely on Rule of Funny and Lampshade Hanging.
  • Be Yourself: Completely deconstructed (in a Disney movie no less). Kuzco's selfish Jerk Ass personality is exactly what makes him unloved by pretty much everybody. He suffers heavy consequences for it, ending up abandoned and alone in the middle of the jungle, which leaves him at the edge of the Despair Event Horizon. He realizes he can't continue to behave this way or he'll live as a lonely llama the rest of his life. It gives him enough sense to start acting like a decent man and asking Pacha for forgiveness.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: This film basically demolishes the fourth wall with a truckload of dynamite, then reconstructs it behind the audience.
    • In the second act, Kuzco-as-narrator appears on-screen to complain about the plot focusing on Pacha, then proceeds to DRAW on the fourth wall. From the audience's side of it.
    • During his Heel Realization, in-movie Kuzco actually argues with Narrator Kuzco, who is still self-centered. The madness must be seen to be believed.
    • Towards the film's climax, Kuzco & Pacha race against Yzma & Kronk to reach the palace first. The movie shows the audience a map of Team Kuzco's and Team Yzma's paths, represented by red dashes and purple arrows respectively. At one point, when Team Kuzco is ahead, the film cuts to Yzma... and she realizes that there is a line of red dashes on the ground ahead of them. Then she looks back and sees that Kronk is inexplicably leaving behind a trail of purple arrows next to the dashes. They shrug at each other and keep running.
    • The above scene ends with a sudden thunderstorm knocking the purple arrow line down into a ravine. Yet when Kuzco and Pacha arrive at the palace, Yzma and Kronk are waiting for them.
      Kuzco: No! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?
      Yzma: Ah...uh, how did we, Kronk?
      Kronk: Well, ya got me. [pulls down the map with the dashes and arrows] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
      • More explicit in the Italian dub. Kronk just says that the writers are still figuring it out.
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario: One of the turning points of Kuzco's Character Development.
  • Brick Joke:
    Yzma: Why do we even have that lever?
    [3/4 the movie's running time later]
    Kuzco: Okay, why does she even have that lever?
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Kronk and Yzma in the closet, lampshaded in the DVD commentary.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: In the scene where Kronk slices the rope holding the chandelier over Yzma.
  • The Caligula:
    • Kuzco is a milder version, but he does have an elderly man defenestrated for the crime of "throwing off the emperor's groove".
    • Yzma also fits this trope during her time of regency.
      Yzma: It is no concern of mine whether or not your family has... what was it again?
      Peasant: Umm... food?
      Yzma: HAH! You really should have thought of that before you became peasants!
  • Camp Straight: Kuzco is an example of this. (As mentioned above, however, he may be asexual; he just never shows interest in men.)
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: "No Llamas."
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: Yzma's lair has two identical levers, one of which triggers a trap, and another which activates a mechanism for getting around the lair. This later became a running gag in The Emperor's New School.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A Shout-Out to The Fly.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: See Inevitable Waterfall below.
  • The Cat Came Back: Yzma and Kronk's inexplicable and speedy return to the lab. Heavily lampshaded, in that even they didn't know how they did it. They even show a map of their route, which goes down a canyon and never reappears.
  • Catch Phrase: "No touchy!"
    • Also "Boom, baby!"
    • "It's brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT!"
  • Cats Are Mean: When they're Yzma, anyway.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject
  • Characterization Marches On: Kuzco the narrator keeps the characterization he had at the beginning of the movie: shallow and self-absorbed. This is contrasted with Kuzco the llama, who grows to realize what a jerk he's been, eventually resulting a scene where the llama calls out the narrator on his attitude.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "You know, in my defense, your potions all look the same. You might wanna think about re-labeling some of them."
  • Chekhov's Skill: CLEARLY the bridge scene was going to be just for the laughs... OH WAIT CLIMAX.
  • Chewbacca Defense: Courtesy of Kronk's shoulder devil. It works better on the angel than on Kronk, who just gets confused.
  • Circling Birdies: Kuzco sees llamas after Chicha whacks him with a frying pan.
  • Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Actually a coincidental intentional disguise, leading to Yzma replacing a pinata at a children's party.
  • Comforting Comforter: Pacha with Kuzco.
  • Comically Missing the Point: "THE PEASANT! AT THE DINER! ... he didn't pay his check."
  • Complexity Addiction / Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Yzma's orginal plan for Kuzco.
    Yzma: Ooh, I know. I'll turn him into a flea, a harmless little flea. And then I'll put that flea in a box, and then I'll put that box inside of another box, and then I'll mail that box to myself. And when it arrives, AH HA HA HA, I'LL SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Played straight with Pacha, later subverted with Kuzco; see Was It All a Lie? below.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: As Kuzco and Pacha try to get the potion that will turn Kuzco human, Yzma knocks over the other potions so they can't tell which is which, saying "Oops, clumsy me!" as she does.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the end, Yzma's stuck as a kitten and has to participate in Kronk's Junior Chipmunks group, complete with uniform, the horror!
  • Cucumber Facial: Yzma when sleeping, to Kronk's horror.
  • Cue the Rain: Llama-Kuzco gets hit with a sudden downpour when he's alone and abandoned in the jungle.
  • Cute Kitten: Yzma at the end.
  • Cut Song: Just about every song was cut from the movie, except for one, with another played over the end credits. They're still on the soundtrack, though. There's a whole documentary, ''The Sweatbox'', about the film's troubled production (see Troubled Production below) which puts a great deal of focus on these songs (which were written by Sting).
    • The most notable of which was Yzma's Villain Song, "Snuff Out the Light", which, while a fantastic song, was actually a necessary cut, because the plot of the movie changed and made the motivation and ultimate goal described by the song irrelevant.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kuzco and Kronk.
    Kuzco: Y'know, it's a good thing you're not a big fat guy or this would be really difficult! [All while pushing Pacha up a cliff.]
  • Death as Comedy: "C'mon men! Nobody lives forever!" - Guards drop down the hole to their deaths. (Although see Disney Villain Death below...)
  • Destination Defenestration: The punishment for Musicalis Interruptus.
  • Deus ex Machina:
  • Development Gag: The candle-holder in the dinner-scene depicts a character who got cut in the movie's overhaul.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Yzma and Kronk do this when the latter is forced to mix all the drinks together after losing track of which one has the potion in it.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Essentially the entire movie, without even having musical numbers, but see particularly the chase sequence near the end of the film.
    • The rollercoaster scene to get to the "secret" lab is also somewhat acidic, though the effect is for comedy rather than confusion.
  • Disney Death: The old man who threw off Kuzco's groove and suffered a Destination Defenestration out of a high window is later revealed to have survived by getting tangled up in a banner. The palace guards who suffer a similar fall in a later scene may or may not have been so lucky.
  • Disney Villain Death: Wonderfully subverted:
    Palace Guard: For the last time, we did not order a giant trampoline!
    Delivery-man: Ya know, pal, you could've told me that before I set it up.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Done hilariously, where an elderly man accidentally bumps into the Emperor during his song number:
    Kuzco: Doh! You threw off my groove!
    Guard: I'm sorry, but you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.
    [Cut to the man being chucked out a window]
    Old Man: SOOOOOOOORRRRYYYYYYYYYyyy!
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: Subverted/played for laughs when Kronk pulls the lever that was supposed to take him and Yzma to the "secret lab," but instead opens a trap door that causes Yzma to fall into a crocodile-filled moat. It's subverted when you consider the fact that that particular lever really is supposed to do that.
    • Although why they have it is a mystery.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After putting up with all of her abuse, Kronk finally turns against Yzma when she claims to have never liked his spinach puffs. Or at least, he tries to.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: Yzma, after becoming a kitten and finding her voice is much higher and squeakier: "Is that my voice? Is that... MY voice?!"
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Some unused elements from the original concept for the film (Kingdom of The Sun), such as the llama-herder Love Interest, Malina and Yzma wanting to regain her youthful looks, were revived for the TV series.
    • This basic conception of an old woman wanting to gain back her youthful looks was later reused with Mother Gothel, chief villainess of Tangled. The Kingdom of Corona in that film, even has the sun as its symbol, thus making it a Kingdom of the Sun!
  • Don't Explain the Joke: See Ironic Echo below.
  • Door Judo
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: See Even Evil Has Standards below.
  • Dumb Muscle: Kronk; somewhat subverted in that in certain narrow areas he displays razor-sharp competence.
  • Egopolis: Kuzco is also planning to build a place named Kuzcotopia.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: Actually a dining room, but close enough.
  • The Emperor: Obviously.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Hilariously played with in the case of Kronk's Shoulder Devil, when Yzma reveals that not only does she hold the lowest opinion of Kronk possible, but also that she never liked his spinach puffs! NEVER!
    Shoulder Devil: That's it! [cocks trident like shotgun] She's going down!
  • Everybody Knew Already: "Yzma's got that 'secret' lab."
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: Goes without saying.
  • Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Bucky.
  • Evil Chancellor: Yzma.
  • Evil Gloating: Both Yzma and Kuzco do this. Kuzco turns back into danger to gloat after he leaves Pacha to die, and karmically falls into the same peril. Yzma does it more effectively much later, but Kronk ruins the moment by lampshading it.
  • Evil Plan: See Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon above.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Subverted when Yzma makes her final transformation. An ominous smoke appears and she starts laughing evilly in a deep, booming bass, but once the smoke clears, she's a tiny kitty with a squeaky voice.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Yzma.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Subverted:
    Kronk: Strange, that usually works.
  • Fan Disservice: Yzma, until she gets turned into an absolutely adorable little kitty. This is, naturally, lampshaded:
    Yzma: Then I bet you weren't expecting this!
    [hikes up her skirt]
    Pacha: GAAAAH!
    Kuzco ACK! NOOOO!
    Yzma: Ah-HA! [pulls out a dagger]
    Pacha: Phew.
    Kuzco: Oh, okay.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Apparently, Kuzco and Pacha would rather be stabbed to death than witness Yzma strip.
  • Foreign Queasine: Steamed giant pillbug. Smack it with a straw to uncurl it, use the straw to eat/drink its guts.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Kuzco is within inches of getting the vial that will turn him back into a human, but Pacha is slowly losing his grip on the edge of the palace wall at the same time. At the very last second, Kuzco runs over and grabs Pacha's hand, and the vial falls off the wall.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Chicha uses one on Kuzco when he startles her.
  • The Fun in Funeral: "Well, he ain't gettin' any deader! Back to work!"
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During the dinner scene, there's a small potted cactus. Yzma ditches her llama-transformation drink into it... Guess what it looks like in a later shot?
    • In one scene, Kronk is talking to himself while, in the background, Yzma is being chased across the screen several times by a swarm of bees.
    • After Kuzco insults his prospective brides and turns back to the matchmaker, you can see one of them getting angry and moving to hit him, but another bride holds her back.
  • Genius Ditz: Kronk again. While the ditzy part is unquestionable, he knows how to be liked by anyone he meets (another kind of intelligence), is a great cook, has a lot of practical knowledge about things and can survive in the wild all by himself, plus he's fluent in both squirrel and Hash House Lingo.
  • Genre Savvy: Kuzco manages at least one moment of this; see Inevitable Waterfall below.
  • Gentle Giant: Kronk.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • This very, very awkward conversation:
      Kuzco: So... Kronk seems, uh, nice.
      Yzma: Oh, he, um, he is.
      Kuzco: ...He's, what, in his... late twenties...?
    • Kuzco is a llama and dressed as a woman:
      Pacha: We're on our honeymoon.
      Mudka's Meat Hut Waitress: Bless you for coming out in public.
    • Shortly afterwards, Kuzco heads to the kitchen on all fours, his hips swaying a good deal. Another restaurant patron watches "her" go, then leers and gives Pacha a thumbs-up.
    • And in the Norwegian version of the movie, they didn't bother with subtlety and the dialogue goes (directly translated) like this:
      Pacha: We're on our honeymoon!
      Kuzco: [girlish giggle]
      Waitress: Brave of you to come out of the closet.
    • See above under Fan Disservice.
    • Yzma's cut Villain Song includes the following line, not at all helped by Eartha Kitt's delivery:
    Supai baby turn me on...
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied by Kronk, whose angels are just as dim as he is.
  • Gosh Hornet: While in the jungle, Yzma gets chased back and forth by angry Synchronized Swarming bees.
  • Greasy Spoon: Mudka's Meat Hut, complete with incomprehensible order lingo and an expy of the Big Boy statue outside.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up:
    • Yzma's scary enough at a distance...
      [As the camera pans over Yzma's face]
      Kuzco: Whoa! Look at those wrinkles. What is holding this woman together? What the!? [sees a piece of spinach in Yzma's teeth] How long has that been there?
    • The scene which shows Kuzco attempting to eat grass like the other llamas could give John Kricfalusi a run for his money.
  • Hand Wave: Wonderfully subverted near the end of the movie, where a handwave is directly asked for and the reply is: "Well, ya got me. By all accounts, it doesn't make sense," complete with handy chart showing how it doesn't make sense. Everyone immediately stops worrying about it.
  • Happily Married: Pacha and Chicha
  • Happy Birthday to You
  • Hash House Lingo: Somehow, Kronk gets it right away.
  • Hates Being Touched: Kuzco, at least at first.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Kronk, not that it required a very big step.
    • A bigger, if less obvious example, would be Kuzco himself. Bear in mind that at the beginning of the film he plans to bulldoze an entire village for his own profit, and later leaves Pacha to die (after admitting he was planning on locking him up anyway.)
  • How We Got Here: The film begins with a sad llama sitting all alone in the middle of a rainstorm. The voiceover informs us this llama once was a powerful emperor. The first half of the movie focuses on how he got there.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Pacha and his wife Chicha, Kronk and Yzma.
  • Humiliation Conga: After the Door Judo sequence.
    • The entire movie can be seen as one for Kuzco.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms:
    • In the beginning of the movie, when Kuzco gets rid of Yzma.
      Yzma: What do you mean, "fired"?
      Kuzco: Um, how else can I say it? "You're being let go." "Your department's being downsized." "You're part of an outplacement." "We're going in a different direction." "We're not picking up your option." Take your pick.
    • Then turned back on him when.. well, see Ironic Echo below.
  • I Lied: Pacha agrees to take Kuzco back to his palace if he agrees not to build Kuzcotopia on his village, which he agrees to. They even shake hands on it. But when Pacha gets stuck in the ropes of a suspension bridge, Kuzco refuses to help him and announces that he still plans to build Kuzcotopia when he gets back to the palace.
    Pacha: So all of it was a lie?
    Kuzco: Well, yeah! Wait. (looks up in thought for a moment) Yeah, it all was a lie.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Yzma and Kronk. Well, Yzma may not be so sympathetic, but she is pretty ineffectual.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: With a nice Genre Savvy Lampshade Hanging. Also a prime example of Casual Danger Dialogue and This Is Gonna Suck.
    Pacha: Uh oh.
    Kuzco: Don't tell me. We're about to go over a huge waterfall.
    Pacha: Yup.
    Kuzco: Sharp rocks at the bottom?
    Pacha: Most likely.
    Kuzco: ... Bring it on.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Most of the cast, although Eartha Kitt, (despite her best efforts), was not scary beyond all reason. Apparently Disney was worried that this trope would offend Eartha Kitt, seeing as how Yzma is... less than appealing. Fortunately, Kitt loved the character.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • "We've been through this... It's a HARP. and you know it."
    • "That's a harp... and that's a dress." "ROBE."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Kuzco and Pacha.
  • Ironic Echo: Several examples: "Nobody's that heartless!" "...why do we even have that lever?" "...scary beyond all reason?" "You're being let go.." with the last example receiving a Lampshade Hanging from Kronk:
    Kuzco: Okay, I admit it. Maybe I wasn't as nice as I should have been. But Yzma, you really wanna kill me?!
    Yzma: Just think of it as...you're being let go. That your life's going in a different direction. That your body is part of a permanent outplacement.
    Kronk: Hey, that's kinda like what he said to you when you got fired.
    Yzma: I know. It's called a "cruel irony". Like my dependence on you.
  • It's All About Me: Kuzco, of course. A movie poster featuring him and the trope title word-for-word is the current page image for this trope.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Implied about Yzma in this film. In Kingdom In The Sun, it was an actual plot point that had to do with her back-story and villain motive.
  • Jerkass: Kuzco starts out as one of these...
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: ...and develops into one of these.
      • Prior to his character development however, he pulls a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk moment on Pacha, making him believe he's had a change of heart and decided to build his vacation place elsewhere, only to come out and tell Pacha (on the worst possible timing for the latter) that he was lying in order for him to take him home.
  • Kiss of Life: Directly called as much by Kuzco.
  • Knows A Guy Who Knows A Guy:
    Chicha: So, remind me again how you're related to Pacha?
    Yzma: Why, I'm his third cousin's brother's wife's step-niece's great aunt. [beat] Twice removed.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • A good chunk of the dialogue, taken from various points of the film. As noted above, see Inevitable Waterfall for a particularly fine example.
    • The video game is highly prone to doing this as well. In one cutscene, Pacha points out how five levels cover a twenty second scene from the movie ("This scene was a lot shorter in the film"), and Kuzco points out that using bananas to regain health is "such an obvious plot device". Other memorable moments include Kuzco saying that Yzma will be back after a boss due to having seen the script, saying that she's a terrible end of level boss, and Tipo not being able to find his Jump Button.
      Kuzco: Kid, how do you know all this?
      Chaca: I don't know! Beats me!
  • Large Ham: While this trope is typical of most Disney villains, Yzma is in a class all to herself. Naturally, this is due to being voiced by the late, great Eartha Kitt.
  • Lean and Mean: Yzma is the most extreme example of this in Disney's animated history.
  • Leitmotif: In several places.
    • Yzma's is the most noticeable, as it doubles as the main theme of the movie.
    • Pacha has a theme that's also pretty noticeable, as it plays prominently in both his entrance and the scene where he returns to his family for the first time.
    • Kronk's leitmotif is abit more sublte, but the theme that plays when Kronk is sleeping in his tent, recurs in some of his other scenes.
    • Ironically, Kuzco, despite the movie being all about him, doesn't appear to have one: he does have a kick-ass theme, but it doesn't recur.
  • Lemony Narrator: Kuzco, for the first half of the movie. Eventually his onscreen self tells his narrator self to shut up, and the rest of the movie has no narration.
  • Less Embarrassing Term: It's not a dress, it's a robe.
  • Literary Allusion Title: As noted above.
  • Loophole Abuse: Used to justify Kuzco lying about his going back on his promise not to build Kuzcotopia where Pacha's village once was.
    Pacha: WE SHOOK HANDS ON IT!
    Kuzco: Y'know, the funny thing about shaking hands is... you need hands!
    • In the end after Kuzco changes back, he claims he was being literal about wanting a "hill that sings" in order to have an excuse not to build Kuzcotopia on top of Pacha's property.
  • Mad Scientist: Yzma.
  • Magic Antidote: Except for the potion that turns Kuzco into a llama at the beginning of the film (which has been diluted), all of Yzma's potions work immediately.
  • Match Cut: Done with Kuzco's real head cutting to a stone bust about to be smashed by Yzma, and Kronk's block-like torso matching some architecture.
  • Mayincatec: The visual designers had a lot of fun with a fantasy Pre-Columbian South America look. Aside from Kuzco's name (Cuzco was capital of the Incan Empire), the relationship with history is understandably remote.
    • Pacha's name comes from Pacha Camac ("Earth-maker"), an Incan creator god.
    • Whereas "Yzma" seems to be taken from Izmachi, an ancient Mayan city.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Come on, nobody's that heartless!" First uttered by Pacha when Kuzco says he's still going to demolish Pacha's village after Pacha helps him. Later said by Kuzco when Pacha points out he could have let him fall to his death.
  • Meaningful Name: Kuzco means "the center of the world"
    • Unfortunate Name: In the ancient Peruvian language called Quechua, Yzma means "Shit".
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Kronk, of course.
    Kronk: My spinach puffs!
  • Minor Insult Meltdown
    Yzma: Kronk! Why did I think you could do this? This one simple thing... It's like I'm talking to a monkey...
    Kronk Good Angel: Whoa now.
    Yzma: A really. Big. Stupid. Monkey. Named. Kronk.
    Kronk Evil Angel: Ouch.
    Yzma: And do you want to know something else!? I never liked your spinach puffs!
    All Kronks: [gasp]
    Yzma: Never!
    Kronk: [begins crying]
    Evil Angel: That's it (cocks trident) she's going down!
  • Missed Him by That Much: Kuzco and Yzma in the diner.
  • Mistaken for Own Murderer: Invoked by Yzma, who tells the guards that Pacha and Llama!Kuzco "murdered the emperor."
  • Mobstacle Course: This is how Kronk loses the bag holding the unconscious Kuzco.
  • Morphic Resonance: Kuzco the red and black llama, and Yzma the purplish kitten.
    • "Kuzco-the-everything-else" when he tries several other potions near the end...
  • Mundane Made Awesome
    Yzma: Our moment of triumph approaches! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! It's...dinnertime! *Dramatic Thunder*
  • Murder By Inaction: As Kuzco and Pacha cross a rickety old bridge on their way to the palace, Pacha falls through and ends up tangled up in the ropes. Rather than help him up, Kuzco leaves him there, saying that it's better than imprisoning him in a dungeon as per his original plan. This backfires immediately when he too falls, forcing the two of them to work together to save themselves.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Don't throw off Kuzco's groove.
    Guard: I'm sorry, but you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.
  • Nice Hat: Yzma wears nine or ten different hats, wigs and headdresses throughout the film. Several of them defy gravity.
  • No Fourth Wall: So much medium awareness and lampshade hanging, too.
  • Noisy Nature: Squirrels don't squeak, they bark.
  • Nonindicative Name: Apart from being about a foolish and materialistic emperor, this movie has very little to do with The Emperor's New Clothes.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The lever that flips you into Yzma's secret lab is right next to a lever opening a trapdoor to a crocodile pit. Even Yzma wonders why the second lever is there.
  • Not So Different: From what we see of them both in the beginning of the film, rule under Yzma would be the same as rule under Kuzco—they're both thoroughly self-centered people who care little for others and their well-being. Yzma is what Kuzco is poised to become—him plus a century or two (or three). Kuzco learns to become a better person, while Yzma doesn't bother. The characters never explicitly call this out, but the film does noticeably lampshade it, just like everything else.
    Yzma: [after being fired] How could he do this to me? Why, I practically raised him!
    Kronk: Yeah, you think he would've turned out better.
    [beat]
    Yzma: Yeah... go figure...
  • Number Two for Brains: Kronk is one dim dragon.
  • Off Screen Teleportation: Tipo and Chaca do this when tarring and feathering Yzma.
    • Lampshaded with Kronk and Yzma
    Kuzco: NO! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?!
    Yzma: ...um, how did we, Kronk?
    Kronk: Well, you got me. By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
  • One-Winged Angel: Subverted. Yzma's scary transformation turns out to be...ino a cute kitten
  • Opt Out: "Hey, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?" "You're excused. Anyone else?" "No, no, we're good."
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    Tipo: [to Yzma] I don't believe you're really my great-aunt. You're more like my great-great-great-
    [cut to another scene, then later back to Tipo and Yzma]
    Tipo: -great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-
    Yzma: Grr! All right! Are you through?
    Tipo: ...great-great aunt.
  • Parental Abandonment: No mention whatsoever is ever made to Kuzco's parents, presumably the previous rulers of the empire. Yzma says at one point that she "practically raised him", so it's easy to see where he got his mean streak from.
  • Personal Rain Cloud: With lightning, as the plot requires!
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Patrick Warburton as Kronk and Eartha Kitt as Yzma. Incidentally, this was before Patrick Warburton was pigeonholed in voice acting — in fact, this movie probably caused it.
    • Incidentally, this is used as a subtle joke: Yzma's "One-Winged Angel" form is in particular a kitten possibly because Eartha Kitt had previously played Catwoman on Adam West's version of Batman. She becomes an even more literal Catwoman in the sequel.
    • Turns out this seemingly unnatural role was perfect for Warburton as this movie launched a long and successful voice acting career.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: All of Yzma's outfits.
  • Plot Hole: Kronk and Yzma fall into a literal one — see Hand Wave, above.
  • Plummet Perspective: In both the bridge-scene and the climax.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Note what happens to the cactus that Yzma dumps her dose on...
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Kuzco is presented with three babies to kiss in the opening. He simply stamps them with a kiss mark stamper.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Originally, had a whole bunch of songs by Sting, but... well, see Cut Song above.
  • Pregnant Badass: The pregnant Chicha whacks Kuzco with a Frying Pan of Doom, and later "fights" Yzma.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Kuzco.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Like everything else in the movie, done as a joke as Pacha's children have horrible visions of his fate.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Kronk.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Pacha's children unsuccessfully deploy these at one point.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: "Demon llama!"
    • "DEMON LLAMA!? WHERE?!? AAAAH!"
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kronk enjoys baking and cooking.
  • Regent for Life: Yzma.
  • Riches to Rags: Happens to Kuzco at the beginning.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: Kronk, to Yzma.
  • Rope Bridge: Subverted in that the bridge-crossers actually fall into the chasm.
  • Rule of Funny: Seemingly the guiding principle behind the entire movie.
  • Rule of Three: Kuzco puts out Pacha's campfire three times in a row; first by spitting it out, then by shaking himself dry, and finally by throwing a blanket onto the fire.
  • Running Gag: Plenty.
  • Schizo Tech: The roller-coaster, the "secret lab", roadside diners...
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Yzma is transformed into a nearly harmless kitten near the end of the movie.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Subverted.
  • Should Have Thought of That Before X: See above under The Caligula and for a more borderline example, Disney Villain Death.
  • Shout-Out: The movies The Fly and The Wizard of Oz, among others.
  • Show Some Leg: Yzma shows some of her leg at one point. To quote Kuzco and Pacha: AAEEEIIII!!!
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: It's something you learn in the Junior Chipmunks.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Teacher's Pet movie, made by Disney a few years later, has a very similar sense of humor.
  • Spoiled Brat: Kuzco.
    "Now I feel bad. Bad llama."
  • Squick: In-universe example, with the Gross-Up Close-Up on Yzma's face, and later the aforementioned Show Some Leg scene.
  • Staggered Zoom: Parodied: "Um, what's with the chimp and the bug? Can we get back to me?"
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Pacha and Kuzco return to Pacha's village and learn that Yzma and Kronk have gotten there before them:
    Pacha: [to a pair of old men playing a board game] What'd they look like?
    Old Man: Well, there was this big guy, and this older woman who was... well, [turns to his friend] how would you describe her?
    Old Man's Friend: Ah... "scary beyond all reason?"
    Old Man: Yeah, that's it.
  • Tar and Feathers: Yzma gets covered in honey and feathers before being used as a pinata.
  • Technicolor Science: Yzma's potions have bright colours like purple and pink.
  • That Poor Plant:
    • When Yzma shows her poison to Kronk, she gets some on a flower. There's a small explosion, and the flower is reduced to ash.
    • In the dinner scene, Yzma ditches her llama-transformation drink into a small potted cactus. In a later shot, the plant looks like a llama.
  • This Is What the Building Will Look Like: The "Kuzco-topia" summer home in introduced like this.
  • "To the secret lab!"
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Memorably lampshaded; see Hand Wave.
  • Travel Montage: At one point the characters wonder why their feet are tracing lines across the map, but they quickly shrug it off; it's not the strangest thing that happens in this movie.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Yzma at least tries ruling the empire behind Kuzco's back. It's what causes him to fire her.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Pacha and Chi-Cha. Pacha is chubby and has a weird shaped nose, while his wife Chi-Cha is slim and pretty.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: The basis of the entire plot. Kronk mistakes the bottle of extract of llama for the bottle of poison due to faulty labeling.
  • The Unintelligible: Bucky the squirrel.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: Kuzco both stars in and narrates the movie; at one point the two Kuzcos argue with each other. Also commenting on a segment where Kuzco-on-screen is unconscious.
  • The Unreveal: How exactly did Yzma and Kronk beat Kuzco and Pacha back to the palace?
  • The Unsmile
    Kuzco: So, no hard feelings about being let go?
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Kuzco.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Kuzco's attitude when he's the narrator.
  • Villainous Valor: Yzma.
  • Was It All a Lie?: "Well, yeah! No, wait... Uh, yeah. Yeah, it all was a lie... Toodles!"
  • With Catlike Tread: Kronk "sneaking" out the palace to dispose of Kuzco.
    Kuzco-as-narrator: Ugh, he's doing his own theme music? Big, dumb, and tone-deaf. I am so glad I was unconscious for all of this.
  • Worst Aid: Played totally for laughs. Beware the pop-out llama tongue.
  • You Have Failed Me: A vicious tongue-lashing as opposed to outright death.

Kronk's New Groove provides examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Completely averted, where Kuzco is shown to have become a much better person, but later done hard in the television show.
  • Bad Samaritan: Yzma sells a youth potion to the senior citizens. They become addicted to it and eventually sell their home to buy more of it. The potion turns out to be a placebo.
  • Born in the Theatre: Kuzco displays the film's poster at one point.
  • Broken Aesop / Ignored Aesop: Yzma's potion is fake, but it works as a placebo, making the senior citizens who consumed it think they are young, therefore feel young. However, Yzma scammed them out of extremely large amounts of money, so once Kronk reveals this they chase her down through their town. Once they realize that this is quite a feat for people their age, this ensues:
    Rudy: Hey, I just realized something. We chased Yzma all the way down here.
    Other old guy: Didn't I just cover that?
    Rudy: Don't you see? We're busting moves like a bunch of teenagers.
    Other old guy: So what you're saying is, even though the potion was fake, we're only as old as we feel!
    Kronk: It's almost like you should thank Yzma for robbing you of every last cent. Wait, that can't be right.
    Other old guy: Let's get her!
  • Cat Girl: Yzma manages to turn back into a human, but she has a cat tail and ears. You could say she's a Cat Woman.
  • Clothing Switch: Kronk and Birdie end up with this after diving in the ocean.
  • Disapproving Look: The dreaded "Nostril Flare of Total Rejection".
  • Face Palm: Kronk does this at one point.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Yzma is leaning over Kronk, telling him she's got a proposition. Kronk freaks out... until she reveals it's a business proposition. What kind of proposition wouldn't he be fine with..?
    • Also has brief moment where Kronk pulls down a screen to show a clip about what happened in his past... and then loud music plays when a picture of a deer with the words "Stag Pictures" shows up, and he freaks out.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Over a shot of Yzma's Evil Gloating]:
    Kuzco: So, I bet you saw that coming, didn't you? Well, I bet you didn't see this coming!
    [Extreme closeup of Yzma's armpit hairs]
    Kuzco: Aaigh! I'll be seeing that in my nightmares.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Yzma's potion-drinking attempt. She becomes a rabbit and is taken away by a condor.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Kronk thinks that Yzma is trying this, to his disgust.
  • One-Winged Angel: Parodied at the end when Yzma downs one of her own potions. She turns into a bunny rabbit, and is promptly snatched away by a condor.
  • Shout-Out: Rudy snatches a bottle of youth potion and says:
  • Spaghetti Kiss: Parodied between Kronk and Birdie.
  • Visual Innuendo: Done during the bread-baking scene.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: When he was a child, Kronk wanted his father's approval, but never got it.
  • You Can't Handle The Parody: Kronk can't, at least.


Eddie IzzardNotable QuotablesW.C. Fields
Blood: The Last VampireAnnie AwardOsmosis Jones
DinosaurFranchise/Disney Animated CanonAtlantis: The Lost Empire
Dancer in the DarkAcademy Award for Best Original SongMeet the Parents
Pink ElephantsImageSource/Animated FilmsDiscreet Drink Disposal
Durian DurianFilms of 2000 - 2004 Erin Brockovich
The Elm Chanted ForestAnimated FilmsEmpress Chung

alternative title(s): The Emperors New Groove
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