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 trawled 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 (and we do mean loosely!) inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story The Emperor's New Clothes, about a spoiled and vain emperor who mistreats his people for his own selfish enjoyment. The film was directed by Mark Dindal, whose previous work, Cats Don't Dance, shares much of the same breakneck humor as Groove.
Kuzco (David Spade) is the spoiled young emperor of a mountainous jungle nation based (once again, very loosely) on the Incan empire of South America. On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, he fires his ancient adviser Yzma (Eartha Kitt) from her high-profile job, prompting her and her dimwitted but affable lackey Kronk (Patrick Warburton) to assassinate him. The plan misfires, and Kuzco is instead accidentally turned into a llama. He's forced to team up with good-hearted family-man 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 that of Pacha and his pregnant wife, and has 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), while 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.
It was released on December 15, 2000 and was a holiday blockbuster, though it got beaten out by How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
A direct-to-video sequel, Kronk's New Groove, was released on December 13, 2005. It eventually spawned a licensed video game and then a TV series, which ran from January 27, 2006 to November 20, 2008. The film and the production behind it is the subject of the infamous documentary The Sweatbox.
The Emperor's New Groove film provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: Really, no one is broken up when Kuzco disappears. Lampshaded when Yzma and Kronk pass by Kuzco unknowingly and mention that nobody really seems to care that he's gone and Yzma has taken his place.
- Accidental Hug: Kuzco and Pacha do this in relief, then quickly break apart.
- Actor Allusion:
- Yzma is voiced by Eartha Kitt, who is well known for portraying one version of Catwoman. She displays an example of To the Batpole! and later gets transformed into a cat. A cute, but still demonic cat.
- Kuzco's "Buh-bye!" to Pacha on the bridge. Apparently, he used to work for Total Bastard Airlines.
- At one point, Kuzco tricks Pacha into carrying him due to low blood sugar, something David Spade actually suffers from.
- Affably Evil: Kronk, being a Gentle Giant and having great social skills.
- Affectionate Parody: Of both the studio's more standard animated films and epic fairy tales.
- Air Quotes: Kuzco manages to do this with his hooves after being turned into a llama.Kuzco: Okay, I've got to get back to the palace. Yzma's got that.. "secret lab"... I'll just snap my fingers and order her to change me back!
- All Animals Are Dogs: The crocodiles 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. Her face also turns bright red when she gets angry.
- 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-Columbian Andes?). Most of it can be chalked up to Rule of Funny.
- Kuzco's South American empire has wheeled carts. In real life, wheels, while not unknown, were not used by South American indigenous peoples, due to a lack of useful draft animals and the mountainous terrain. 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.
- What was a giant trampoline doing there?
- Kuzco's "theme song guy" looks like an Elvis impersonator, complete with sunglasses and a microphone.
- 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.
- And when Kitten Yzma enters the picture, she can go in a blink from adorable fuzzball to More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
- Angry Chef: The Chef at Mudka's Meat Hut quits after taking various complaints from Kuzco and Yzma and leaving all of the work up to Kronk, thinking that he wanted a "special order" too.Kronk: Hey, pal, what's your policy on making special orders?Chef: All right, buster, that's it! You want a special order, then you make it! I QUIT! You know, I try and I try, but there's just no respect for anyone with vision! That-That's it! There's just nothing I can do about it!
- Animal Motifs: Due to their respective transformations, Kuzco and Yzma are associated with llamas and cats respectively. In Yzma's case, it also doubles as an Actor Allusion.
- Animorphism: Since Kuzco is turned into a llama in appearance, he has a lot of human characteristics. He finds it almost impossible to walk on two legs, though.
- Anti-Hero: Kuzco is a Jerk Ass, but with Character Development he gets better.
- Anti-Villain: Kronk is only evil by his association with Yzma, and is at worst Affably Evil. In some ways he's even nicer than Pacha, having a kind of sweet naivete.
- 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 HeelFace Turn after that.Devil: That's it. [cocks pitchfork like a shotgun] She's going down.
- Art Shift: The animation which accompanies Yzma's Evil Plan.
- Ass Pull: Yzma and Kronk getting to the lab before Pacha and Kuzco, especially after being hit with lightning and falling into a ravine. Like everything else this is invoked, complete with handy pull-down chart.Kuzco: No! It can't be: how did you get back here before us?!
Ymza: I— ...Eh, how did we, Kronk?
Kronk: Well, ya got me: by all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
- 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: (as Yzma is being chased by bees) Oh, look. A golden-throated small-winged warbler. Just one more for exotic bird bingo. I am loving this.
- Heck, even Kronk's shoulder angel and devil are easily distracted!
- The film itself at times.Kuzco: Uh, what's with the chimp and the bug?! Can we get back to me now?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: During the chase scene at the end of the movie, Pacha and Kuzco find themselves about to be attacked by guards. Pacha chooses a random potion and whispers "Oh, please be something with wings." Kuzco does indeed transform into a bird—unfortunately, it's an extremely small parrot that's only able to keep Pacha airborne for two seconds.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Mostly averted. For most of the film, Pacha's kindness is taken for granted by Kuzco.
- Becoming the Mask: Kronk. You put him in the role of a short order cook, he's a short order cook, dammit! Of course, that's only due to him being quite a skilled cook to begin with though.
- Bee Afraid: While in the jungle, Yzma gets chased back and forth by angry Synchronized Swarming bees.
- Berserk Button:
- Seriously. DON'T THROW OFF KUZCO'S GROOVE!
- Kronk is a willing toadie for all of Yzma's abuse... until she insults his cooking. Both his shoulder angel and devil agree: she's got to go.
- Betrayal by Inaction: While helping Kuzco back to the palace, Pacha falls through a bridge and lays dangling and calling for help. Rather than helping him up, Kuzco decides to leave him there and continue on; he was going to betray Pacha anyway and lock him in a dungeon, and this seemed easier. Unfortunately for Kuzco, he falls through moments later, leaving him in the same predicament, and the two are forced to work together to save themselves. It becomes funnier when you realize that Kuzco was all the way across the bridge, but he came back to taunt him, causing him to suffer the same fate.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: The movie runs almost entirely on Rule of Funny and Lampshade Hanging.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked by Kuzco.Kuzco: What's with the chimp and the bug?! Can we get back to me?!
- Book-Ends: The opening musical number ends with Kuzco's infamous "Boom, baby!" as he goes to meet his marriage candidates. The musical number that ends the movie has it begin with Kuzco and Pacha "Boom, baby!" before they spend some time having fun.
- 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 pauses the film and appears onscreen to complain about the plot focusing on Pacha, then proceeds to DRAW on the fourth wall with a marker. From the audience's side of it.
- During his Heel Realization, in-movie Kuzco gets into an argument with narrator Kuzco, who's still self-centered. The madness must be seen to be believed.
- Towards the film's climax, Kuzco and Pacha race against Yzma and 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 scene ends with a sudden very localized thunderstorm knocking the purple arrow line down into a ravine. Yet when Kuzco and Pacha arrive at the mountaintop 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 same map the audience was just looking at] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
- More explicit in the Italian and Spanish dubs. In the former, Kronk just says that the writers are still figuring it out; in the latter, he says it could be "movie stuff".
- Breakout Character: Kronk received his own spin-off film.
- 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?
- When Yzma is upset that Kuzco drank "extract of Llama," not poison, Kronk notes that they all look alike and she should label them better. Towards the end, when Kuzco and Pacha are looking for the antidote, Yzma knocks over all the vials, making it more confusing for them.
- The broken bridge scene ends with Kuzco asking Pacha what's the chance of the latter carrying him, with Pacha replying that not very high. The next time we see them (after the Meanwhile Scene with the villains), Pacha is carrying Kuzco, while questioning his offscreen claim that he has low sugar levels.
- 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!
- Call-Back: At the conclusion, Kuzco calls out Pacha, saying the mountains don't sing. That's definitely the reason he won't be building his waterpark there.
- Call-Forward: Subtle one, but it's there. It's actually the very first scene in the movie, though Narrator Kuzco didn't admit it at the time.Pacha: You know, someday you're gonna wind up all alone. And you know what? You'll have no one to blame but yourself.
- Camp Straight: Kuzco is an example of this.
- 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 forcibly flips the puller inside. This later became a running gag in The Emperor's New School.
- Carnivore Confusion: A Shout-Out to The Fly (1958), in which a talking fly is eaten by a spider. ("Help me! Help meee! Too late.") It should be noted, however, that the spider doesn't say anything.
- Cassandra Truth: Pacha tries to warn Kuzco that Yzma and Kronk are trying to kill him, but Kuzco, convinced that Yzma is loyal, doesn't believe Pacha and falls out with him, believing Pacha's claim to be a plan to save his hilltop from destruction, and then orders Pacha to go away. Kuzco makes his way to Yzma and Kronk, only to overhear them discussing that they are seeking to kill him and that the kingdom doesn't miss him. Kuzco realizes Pacha was right, but Pacha has left, and Kuzco hangs his head in despair. Ouch.
- 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.
- "No touchy!"
- "Boom, baby!"
- "It's brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT!"
- Cats Are Mean: When they're Yzma, anyway.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Kuzco and Pacha do this at one point.
- Character Development: Kuzco the narrator keeps the attitude 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 poisons all look alike. You might think about relabeling some of them."
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Clearly the bridge scene was going to be just for the laughs... oh wait, climax.
- Kronk's talking to squirrels.
- Chewbacca Defense: Courtesy of Kronk's shoulder devil. It works better on the angel than on Kronk, who just gets confused.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Kuzco. He doesn't get better until very late in the film.
- Circling Birdies: Kuzco sees llamas after Chicha whacks him with a frying pan.
- Clingy Aquatic Life: When Kronk accidentally pulls the trapdoor lever, Yzma falls through and lands with a splash offscreen. She then reenters the room with an alligator biting her dress. She smacks it, and it scrambles away and whimpers like a dog. The same thing happens to Kuzco when he and Pacha try to enter Yzma's lab later in the movie.
- Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Actually a coincidental intentional disguise, leading to Yzma unwillingly 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."
- Community-Threatening Construction: Emperor Kuzco, being a self-absorbed, egoistic teenage jerk, wants to build Kuzcotopia, a giant playground meant for him and him alone, as a present for his own birthday. He intends to build it on top of the hill on which Pacha's village is built, which would mean destruction of the village. When Kuzco is accidentally turned into a llama and brought all the way to the village before he can carry out his plans, this decision becomes the driving conflict between him and Pacha. Kuzco needs his help to find the way back home, but Pacha won't do it unless he'll change his plans.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: On one hand, the Tarzan-like rescue was the only escape from a grisly end. On the other hand, getting tied up in a tree hanging precariously over a cliff, doesn't seem to offer any escape at all.Kuzco: Maybe I'm just new to this whole rescuing thing, but this, to me, might be considered kind of a step backwards, wouldn't you say?
- Complexity Addiction: Yzma's original plan for Kuzco.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back:
- This actually helps kick off the whole plot. Kronk dumps the bag holding the unconscious llama Kuzco into a river, but then rushes back for him at the urging of his shoulder angel.
- Played straight with Pacha, who initially decides to let Kuzco head into the jungle by himself since his death would ensure he wouldn't be able to destroy Pacha's village to make way for Kuzcotopia, but he changes his mind just in time to rescue Kuzco from the jaguars.
- Subverted with Kuzco: when Pacha ends up falling through the wooden bridge, Kuzco appears to go back to help him... only to proceed to mock him and leave him to die. Only falling through the bridge himself makes Kuzco change his mind.
- 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.
- Contrived Coincidence: Played for laughs. At the end of the film, Yzma in cat form is falling off the side of the palace to certain doom...but at that precise moment, in the precise location where she's falling, a deliveryman has just set up a giant trampoline, which she lands on. And as a guard helpfully points out, no one ordered the trampoline to begin with.
- In the same sequence, the trapdoor Kronk fell through three scenes ago just so happens to lead to a window that opens up directly where Cat Yzma is standing.
- It's not clearly if it's invoked, but Chicha and Pacha's children arrange to cover Yzma in glue and feathers, making her look like a giant bird—just when a bunch of children are about to start whacking a pinata at a birthday party.
- Played straighter with Kuzco, Pacha, Yzma, and Kronk ending up at Mudka's Mud Hut at the exact same time. It's taken back into absurdity, though, when Yzma and Kuzco repeatedly miss seeing each other by fractions of seconds as they move through the diner.
- 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!
- Could Say It, But...: When telling Pacha he no longer plans to build Kuzcotopia over his village, rather than outright say the real reason, Kuzco pretends it's because the hills didn't sing like Pacha claimed.
- 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.
- 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...)
- Denser and Wackier: Than most Disney films, by a massive degree. Although all of the Disney canon have humor, this is one of the few that's an outright absurdist comedy. In some ways, it feels more like a Dreamworks production than something from the House of Mouse.
- Destination Defenestration: The punishment for Musicalis Interruptus.
- Deus ex Machina:
- Hilariously lampshaded:Kronk: Wow... what are the odds that trapdoor would lead me out here?
- When Yzma (and the human-potion) are falling to their doom.
- Hilariously lampshaded:
- Diabolus ex Machina: Hilariously Played for Laughs. As mentioned in Breaking the Fourth Wall, Kronk and Yzma have no idea on how they get to the palace before Kuzco and Pacha.
- 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.
- Disguised in Drag: Kuzco dresses up as a lady and plays the role of Pacha's newlywed wife to get into a restaurant. Unlike most cases, he didn't seem to mind.
- 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 throws off Kuzco's groove and suffers a Destination Defenestration out of a high window is soon 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: SOOOOORY!!
- Kuzco sums it up succinctly when he says "Okay, maybe I wasn't as nice as I should have been. But Yzma, do you really want to kill me?"
- If you can believe it, Yzma's unused Kingdom of the Sun incarnation was worse in this regard—her plan was intended to be summoning a death god to extinguish the sun and unleash Hell on Earth so that she won't get wrinkles anymore and her Villain Song has her freely admitting that she was willing to commit heinous atrocities just to retain her youthful good looks.Yzma: I've really stopped at nothing
Murder, treachery and lying
Whatever it takes to keep my looks
You really can't blame a girl for trying!
- Done hilariously, where an elderly man accidentally bumps into the Emperor during his song number:
- 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, even to Yzma.
- 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!
- Door Judo: Pacha's family does this with Yzma.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Kronk's shoulder devil does this with his pitchfork when committing to his HeelFace Turn.
- Dumb Muscle: Kronk; somewhat subverted in that in certain narrow areas he displays razor-sharp competence.
- Easily Forgiven: Kuzco at the conclusion at least by some of his victims, the old man he had defenestrated for "throwing off his groove", for one just chuckles and forgives an apologetic Kuzco. Of course, given all that he went through, he wasn't so easily forgiven by the universe at least.
- 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 pitchfork like shotgun] She's going down!
- Everybody Knew Already: "Yzma's got that (fingernote quotes) 'secret' lab."
- Everything's Better with Llamas: Goes without saying.
- 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 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.
Yzma: And so does THIS! (pulls a lever and a trap door opens under Kronk)
Kronk: Oh, I shoulda seen that one coming... WHOA!!....
(He falls, followed a moment later by the angel and devil, who hug each other for safety)
- 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]
Kuzco: ACK! NOOOO!
Yzma: Ah-HA! [pulls out a dagger]
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 slurp up its guts. Then munch on the exoskeleton. Them's good eating.
- The first shot of teen Kuzco, he's brushing his hair — the comb is a bejeweled llama.
- "Someday, you're gonna wind up all alone, and you'll have no one to blame but yourself."
- 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. But it's subverted when not two minutes later, they use their Chekhov's Skill and The Power of Friendship to get it back.
- 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 Synchronized Swarming bees.
- After Kuzco insults his prospective brides and turns back to the matchmaker, you can see one of them getting violently angry and being physically restrained by the others.
- Gender Bender: After Pacha dumps a table of potions over the royal guards, one particularly unlucky guard gets turned into a cownote and has to be sent home.
- The guard may actually have been turned into a bull or steer, even though he calls himself a cow. At least he has no udder.
- 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.
- Gentle Giant:
- Kronk is easily the biggest, most muscular character in the film. He's also easily the kindest.
- Pacha isn't too far behind, being about two heads taller and significantly beefier than the string bean Kuzco, yet is a caring father and husband, not to mention the great restraint he shows putting up Kuzco's attitude. Bruce W. Smith, his animator, lampshades this on the DVD commentary, saying that he had to animate the character with a certain restraint, because he could easily "smack Kuzco upside the head" at any minute.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Supai baby turn me on...
- 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...?
- Kronk's shoulder angel and devil get into a fight over a moral decision. The Shoulder Devil uses a hand stand as a reason why not to listen to the angel. Kronk questions this reason, but even the angel agrees with the devil. The radar moment kicks in when you realize what would happen when a guy wearing only a robe does a handstand.
- Kuzco is a llama and dressed as a woman:
Pacha: We're on our honeymoon!
- And in the Norwegian version of the movie, they eschew subtlety altogether and the dialogue instead goes (directly translated) like this:
Kuzco: [girlish giggle]
Waitress: Brave of you to come out of the closet.
- 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.
- A very subtle one: during the rope-bridge sequence, the four bits of wood which fall into the chasm spell out a stylized D-A-M-N.
- Yzma's cut Villain Song includes the following line, not at all helped by Eartha Kitt's delivery:
- When Kronk is shown sleeping in the jungle, he has a tent pitched over his crotch.
- When Yzma has Kuzco and Pacha cornered in the lab, she hikes her skirt up her leg as she says "I bet you weren't expecting this!" The pair scream in horror... until she pulls a knife out of a thigh sheath. The two sigh in pure relief: "Oh, okay."
- This very, very awkward conversation:
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied by Kronk, whose angels are just as dim as he is.
- Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Yzma's "secret lab" features a lot of spiraling glass tubing running throughout the room, but also shelves and shelves of literally a thousand and one bottles of her "poisons" (read: various magical potions). They're all pink in color and are very poorly labelled, making it difficult to distinguish from another. Kronk complains about this.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: It takes several beats after the rope bridge breaks for Kuzco and Pacha to realize they're going to fall to their death before dropping.
- 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.
- Yzma's scary enough at a distance...
- Hammy Herald: The Theme Song Guy, voiced by Tom Jones, who introduces Kuzco in a bombastic song.
- Hand Wave: Wonderfully lampshaded 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!: As sung by the Meat Hut employees:"Happy happy birthday from all of us to you!
We wish it was our birthday so we could party too!"
- Hash House Lingo: Somehow, Kronk gets it right away.Waitress: Ordering. Three pork combos, extra bacon on the side, two chili cheese samplers, a basket of liver and onion rings, a catch of the day, and a steak cut in the shape of a trout. You got all that, honey?
Kronk: (Serious Business voice) Three oinkers wearing pants, plate of hot air, basket of Grandma's breakfast and change the bull to a gill, got it.
- Hates Being Touched: Kuzco, at least at first.
- HeelFace Turn:
- Kronk, not that it required a very big step.
- Kuzco. 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.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Bucky pops a balloon and the jaguar pack doesn't wake up.Kuzco: HA! (cue Oh, Crap!)
- Yzma sending Kronk down the trap door ends up being what ultimately causes her to fail when it leads Kronk to opening a window to the outsides, knocking her unconscious and the vial into Pacha's hands.
- 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:
- Yzma suffers one starting with 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.
- Ironic Echo: Yzma throws it back in Kuzco's face later in the film.
- In the beginning of the movie, when Kuzco gets rid of Yzma.
- 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. Yeah, it all was a lie. Toodles!
- Interactive Narrator: Narrator!Kuzco. Eventually, Llama!Kuzco tells him to shut the hell up and stop whining.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Yzma and Kronk. Well, Yzma may not be so sympathetic, but she is pretty ineffectual.
- Inevitable Waterfall: With a nice 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.
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.
- Inner Thoughts, Outsider Puzzlement: The second time that Kronk interacts with his should angel and devil, he talks to them out loud while Kuzco, Pacha, and Yzma are all right there. They're all completely bewildered by Kronk suddenly speaking to himself about whether to follow Yzma's orders to kill Pacha and Kuzco. (Currently the page image.)
- 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."
- Instantly Proven Wrong: During the final chase, Pacha picks potions that transform Kuzco into a turtle and extremely tiny bird. The emperor angrily remarks that Pacha's bad at choosing, and insists he select the next one. He does so...and immediately turns into a massive, immobile whale. Lampshaded when Kuzco mutters "Don't you say a word."
- Intergenerational Friendship: Kuzco and Pacha.
- Inventional Wisdom: The entrance to Yzma's secret lab has a lever that opens a Trap Door to a crocodile pool. It's right next to the lever that opens the door. While it could be used as a trap, Yzma doesn't seem to intend it that way, and she can never remember which one is which.
- Ironic Echo:
Kuzco: Okay, I admit it. Maybe I wasn't as nice as I should have been. But Yzma, you really wanna kill me?!
- Yzma throws Kuzco's earlier words when he fired her back in his face when revealing she plans to kill him.
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. Forgetting he's an emperor of a vast empire, he's also a teenager, at a stage in which they self-consciously do think everything is about them.
- 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 and develops into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Spoiled, vain Emperor Kuzco is turned into a llama, has to endure a difficult journey to return home and makes friends with a peasant named Pacha, and becomes a better ruler in the end.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Prior to his character development, Kuzco makes Pacha 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.
- Karmic Transformation: Kuzco, the selfish emperor who plans on destroying Pacha's village to build a pool house for himself, is transformed into a llama by his exil ex-advisor Yzma and forced to work together with Pacha to get back to the palace at which point he starts to become kinder. Ironically, the transformation itself was purely coincidental.
- Killed Offscreen: We never see the transformed guards again after they fall out of the water drain in front of Kuzco's palace. Considering that there is a rather large drop involved, and one of the guards even shouts "C'mon men! Nobody lives forever!", it's easy to assume that it didn't end well for them.
- Kiss of Life: Directly called as much, if sarcastically, 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.
- Also Patrick Warburton, at least with "THE PEASANT! AT THE DINER!"note
- Laser-Guided Karma: Happens a LOT to Kuzco, since he pretty much constantly asks for it. Falling down the bridge instantly after gloating about leaving Pacha there is a prime example.
- 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 a bit more subtle, 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:
Pacha: WE SHOOK HANDS ON IT!
- Used to justify Kuzco lying about his going back on his promise not to build Kuzcotopia where Pacha's village once was.
Kuzco: Y'know, the funny thing about shaking hands is... you need hands! [cheerfully waves his hooves]
- 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]
Kronk: [begins crying]
Evil Angel: That's it! (cocks pitchfork) She's going down!
- Misplaced Wildlife: That Poor Cat that Kronk trips over (causing Kuzco to fall into Pacha's cart) shouldn't have been in the pre-Columbian New World.
- And in more of a case of mis-identified wildlife; Narrator Kuzco refers to a briefly-seen primate as a "chimp." Chimpanzees are naturally found only in Africa, but the primate in question is clearly a monkey, a much more regionally-appropriate animal.
- 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:
- 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.
- Musical Exposition: The film is not a musical, but it has one song in the beginning, "Kuzco", that sets up the main character as a vain, selfish, and laid-back ruler.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Don't throw off Kuzco's groove.Guard:: I'm sorry, but you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.Old Man: "SOOOOORRY!"
- Mutually Unequal Relationship: Kuzco believes his adviser Yzma is actually happy to serve him, oblivious to her traitorous scheming or that she's the one responsible for turning him into a llama. When he finds her, he looks overjoyed only for his face to fall as he realizes she's talking about killing him.
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: Yzma knocks over various potions to stop Pacha and Kuzco from figuring out which is the antidote, and summons the palace guards to attack them so that they won't have much time to sort through the potions.
- Never My Fault: At the beginning of the film, Kuzco as the narrator blames what happened to him solely on Pacha and Yzma, not mentioning that a large part of it was also his fault.
- Nice Hat: Yzma wears nine or ten different hats, wigs and headdresses throughout the film. Several of them defy gravity.
- Night and Day Duo: Yzma and Kuzco, who seem to represent a sun/moon relationship. During the production stage of the film, it went by the working title Emperor of the Sun with Kuzco being the titular emperor, who wears colors like red and yellow, bright and warm colors, while Yzma, the dark sorceress, wears mostly black and purple, dark and cold colors.
- Nonindicative Name: Despite whatever impression the title of this Disney film would give you, no, the story is not an adaptation of The Emperor's New Clothes.
- No Fourth Wall: So much Medium Awareness and Lampshade Hanging, too.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Unusual for a Disney film. The closest thing we have is Pacha's relationship with Chicha, but it's mostly portrayed in a "happily married for a long time" way.
- 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.
- And that's not to mention multiple cases of complete and utter lack of any railings over large drops, like the top of where Kuzco's throne is, or the bridge that Kronk runs across at one point while carrying Kuzco.
- 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'd think he would've turned out better.
Yzma: Yeah, go figure...
- Number Two for Brains: Kronk is one dim dragon.
- Obviously Evil: Yzma.
- Obvious Pregnancy: Chicha. In fact, this was the first animated Disney film to feature a pregnant woman onscreen.
- Odd Friendship: Kuzco and Pacha eventually form this dynamic; Kuzco is a self-centered and snarky Emperor, while Pacha is a modest, peasant village leader. The end of the film even shows that Kuzco is considered a more or less official member of Pacha's family.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Tipo and Chaca do this when tarring and feathering Yzma.
- Lampshaded with Kronk and Yzma.
- Oh, Crap!: Kuzco has several during his initial trip through the jungle: after accidently tumbling into a jaguar den, when the squirrel he mocked seconds before blows up a balloon to wake said jaguars, when Kuzco himself accidentally wakes the jaguars anyway and they start chasing him, and when they've backed him up before a steep cliff drop.
- One-Winged Angel: Subverted. Yzma's scary transformation turns out to be... into a cute kitten.
- Open Secret: Both Kuzco and the guards know about Yzma's "secret" lab.
- 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]
Yzma: Grr! All right! Are you through?
Tipo: ...great-great aunt.
- Ow, My Body Part! / Staircase Tumble: Kronk combines these at one point: "Back! Elbow! Shoulder!"
- 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. Like Pacha kissing a llama.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Kronk.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Pacha's children deploy these at one point attempting to stay up late. He and Chicha successfully counter with a deliberate display of Sickening Sweethearts.
- Purely Aesthetic Era: "Somewhere in the Jungle.."
- 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 Pacha's shirt onto the fire.
- Schizo Tech: The roller-coaster, the "secret lab", the Theme Song Guy's wireless microphone, roadside diners...
- Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Yzma is transformed into a nearly harmless kitten near the end of the movie.
- Self-Poisoning Gambit: After Kronk mixes up which goblet has the poison, he's forced to make sure all three are poisoned, and he and Yzma have to do the variation where they pretend to drink while discretely dispose of their drinks (or not so discreetly, in Kronk's case) in order to make sure Kuzco drinks and doesn't get suspicious.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Subverted.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Downplayed. The final chase sequence, wherein the transformed guards are pursuing Pacha and Kuzco, does have some jokes (largely because Kuzco keeps transforming into even more useless animals than his llama form). However, the guards are depicted as a genuine threat (such as an octopus nearly chopping off the heroes' heads), and Kronk is disposed of via trapdoor before the chase begins. Even the music becomes more intense during the scene.
- The movies The Fly (1958) (the aforementioned scene with the fly and spider) and The Wizard of Oz, among others.
- The squirrel is reminiscent of one Bugs Bunny in his personality. He even has the buck teeth.
- The jaguar-chase is almost certainly a homage to the Headless Horseman scene in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
- "Pull the lever, Kronk" is used to the same effect as the "Push the button, Max" in The Great Race.
- Kuzko being turned into numerous animals via Yzma's potions at the end is one to the "Magic Duel" from The Sword in the Stone.
- It's not certain whether this was intentional or not, but Kronk's shoulder devil (and later all three Kronks) saying "That'll work" is an in-studio reference that goes all the way back to Walt Disney himself: never one to give too much credit, he'd only ever approve of someone else's ideas for a story or a project with "That'll work."
- Show Some Leg: Yzma shows some of her leg at one point. To quote Kuzco and Pacha: "Ack, no, aieee!"
- Shrug Take: When the villains are in pursuit of the heroes, and their progress on the map becomes visible on the actual roads and paths, Yzma and Kronk decide that they're better off ignoring this phenomenon. At the moment, that scene is even the page image for the trope!
- Similar Item Confusion: Kronk has this problem, in that he mistakes a bottle of llama extract for deadly poison, which results in the intended victim being transformed into a llama as opposed to full-on dead.Ymza: This isn't poison. This is extract of ... LLAMA!"Kronk: You know, in my defense, your poisons all look alike. You might think about relabeling some of them.
- Skewed Priorities: The reason Yzma gave up on her original revenge plan wasn't because she realized it suffered from Complexity Addiction, but rather because she'd save on postage by poisoning Kuzco.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Yzma, though being unattractive and evil are already two strikes against her. "Pull the lever, Kronk." *Ka-chunk!* "WRONG LEVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!" Yzma is possibly Disney's best example of this trope, as much like the rest of the cast the character goes through constant screwball situations — especially when she's in the jungle. Case in point, there's a scene where she gets covered in grime, then attacked by bees (for no discernible reason) within a few seconds, running around in the background while her sidekick in the foreground pays no attention, and then she takes a pratfall into the mud again.
- Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: The wicked, scheming high priestess Yzma engineer a coup d'etat, assisted by her muscular but moronic henchman, Kronk. Yzma is described in-universe as "scary beyond all reason" and shows no sympathy to anybody, while Kronk is a Minion with an F in Evil, who even fills in as a line cook to keep a diner running.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: How to speak Squirrel is one thing 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. He eventually gets better."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?"
- Stalling the Sip: Played for laughs and subverted. Kuzco finally stops stalling and collapses, only to get better and proceed to yammer throughout his transformation, while Yzma desperately tries to subtly tell Kronk to Just Hit Him.
- Stealth Pun: When the guard who has been turned into a cow asks Yzma if he could leave, she lets him. She's letting the cow go home.
- 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.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: Yzma (eventually) chooses this method for her attempted murder plot.
- 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 accidentally knocks a vial of poison onto a plant, it is instantly reduced to a smear of blackened 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.
- Theme Song: Kronk supplies his own.
- Thin Chin of Sin: Yzma has a funnel-shaped chin that curves inwards, making it very small and pointy.
- Third-Act Misunderstanding: After several antics in the diner, Pacha informs Kuzco that Yzma and Kronk are trying to kill him, only for Kuzco to blow him off, believing that they were actually there to bring him back to the palace. He then sends Pacha away, believing he's the one trying to keep him from getting back. Only when Kuzco overhears the two talking about killing him does he realize he sent his only friend away for nothing.
- This Is What the Building Will Look Like: The "Kuzco-topia" summer home is introduced like this.
- To The Bat Noun: "To the secret lab!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Kuzco has dinner served to him by Yzma - after he's fired her.
- 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 Chicha. Pacha is chubby and has a weird shaped nose, while his wife Chicha 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.note
- 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 Un-Reveal: How exactly did Yzma and Kronk beat Kuzco and Pacha back to the palace? (Answer: the map Kronk shows has a huge Plot Hole in it.)
- The UnsmileKuzco: So, no hard feelings about being let go?Yzma: ...None whatsoever.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Kuzco.
- Vague Age: Kronk's age according to this exchange:Kuzco: He's, what... in his late-twenties?Yzma: (uncomfortably) I'm... not sure.
- Viewers Are Morons: Kuzco's attitude when he's the narrator.
- Villain Protagonist: Kuzco, while arguably entertaining, is also irredeemable for the first half of the film. Pacha's interactions with and reactions to Kuzco are based on a belief that "there is some good in everyone", but, after Kuzco leaves him to die hanging from a bridge, he concedes angrily that Kuzco proved him wrong. After this admission though, when they are mutually thrown into peril, they cooperate to save themselves. Then, as Pacha almost falls to his death, Kuzco does something unprecedented by saving his life. After this, Pacha reaffirms his belief, with Kuzco's act of humanity as evidence.
- Villainous Valor: Yzma during the climax, with her impromptu bungee-jumping.
- Was It All a Lie?: "Well, yeah! No, wait... uh, yeah. Yeah, it all was a lie... toodles!"
- What You Are in the Dark: Played for Laughs. Kronk has dumped Kuzco, now a llama, into a stream, when he starts having second thoughts. This prompts his shoulder angel and devil to appear and comically argue with each other, leaving Kronk more confused. Ultimately, he gets Kuzco out of the stream before he goes over the edge. Played straight later on when Kuzco wanders off into the jungle, despite Pachas warnings. Pacha could easily leave him to die, since Kuzco still wants to destroy his village. He even considers it for a moment, but ultimately his conscience gets the better of him.
- 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.
- Would Harm a Senior: When Kuzco accidentally bumps into an old man unfortunate enough to be standing nearby during his opening song, Kuzco has the old man thrown out the window. Fortunately, the old man ends up comically wrapped up in some banners and unharmed, and Kuzco apologizes to him in the end.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Yzma actually suplexes Pacha during the climax.
- 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.
- Advertised Extra: Kuzco is shown on the DVD cover despite not being in the actual plot - narration cuts notwithstanding - until the climax where he shows up as Kronk's 'wife'. Pacha and his family have considerably larger roles in the movie by comparison, but are nowhere to be seen on the cover.
- Ascended Extra: Despite only showing up for two scenes in the first film, Rudy has a major role in the sequel mainly during the flashback to Kronk getting involved in Yzma's plot to sell a potion which is supposed to restore youth to Rudy and the village's other senior citizens.
- 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.
- Bunnies for Cuteness / Cuteness Proximity / Cuteness Equals Forgiveness: After being chased by the senior citizen when her "youth potion" scam is revealed, Yzma attempts to turn the tables by drinking a potion. She turns into a pink bunny, causing the elders to get distracted by her cuteness. And then a condor swoops down and carries her off to feed to its young.
- 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.
- Demoted to Extra: All of the main cast sans Kronk get hit with this. Yzma only pops up as a small-time villain for the first act and vanishes from the film after that save for a quick ending gag where, in her new rabbit form, she gets dropped into a condor nest. Pacha is reduced to a supporting player (albeit not an insignificant one, as he helps out Kronk in the climax). Kuzco gets hit with this the hardest, as for the most part he just serves as a snarky quasi-narrator, and briefly tries to help out Kronk in the climax by crossdressing as his wife.
- Denser and Wackier: In the first film, the most extreme examples of the silliness are relegated to Kuzco's abuses of power or Yzma's magic. The sequel, however, is start-to-finish silliness, much of it without any context.
- Disapproving Look: Kronk's father's dreaded "Nostril Flare of Total Rejection".
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: Birdie's team wins the first event of a competition because Kronk's is disqualified for not waiting for their turn to perform.
- Elective Monarchy: Yzma briefly tries to be elected Emperor.
- Face Palm: Kronk does this at one point.
- Fan Disservice: Unless you're into old men then the scene where we see a naked old guy try to use a youth potion it's just going to make you ill.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar
Kronk: We could bake beautiful bread together.
- 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...?
- A 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 Reel" shows up, and he freaks out.
- Kronk and Ms. Birdwell baking bread in a... suggestive manner.
Birdwell: Get out your oven mitts. Things are about to get... hot.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Over a shot of Yzma's Evil Gloating:Kuzco: Oh, you saw it already, huh? Well, smarty, I bet you didn't see this!
[Extreme closeup of Yzma's armpit hairs]
Kuzco: Aaigh! That's gonna haunt me in my nightmares.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Yzma's potion-drinking attempt. She becomes a rabbit and is scooped up by a condor.
- Motive Decay: In the first movie, Yzma wanted to become the ruler. Now, she wants to become rich by selling a fake youth elixir. Subverted when she's seen trying to use her newfound wealth and fame to become Emperor.
- 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.
- Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Yzma's role is reduced to being a small time crook in the films first act and she vanishes from the film after the fact save for a gag at the very end, with the real conflict being Kronk trying to earn the approval of his aloof father.
- Running Gag: "(X)'s (Y). Property of (X). Do not touch except for (X)."
- Running Gagged: The film avoids rehashing the "Wrong Lever!" gag by having Yzma reveal to Kronk that she fixed the bugs in it before he pulls it.
- The "Stag Reel" gag is cribbed directly from the 1944 Bugs Bunny cartoon What's Cookin, Doc?.
- Rudy snatches a bottle of youth potion and says:
- Papi's big thumbs-up that he almost gets after getting Pacha's family to pose as his false family is accompanied by a watered down version of the triumphant chorus of "King of Pride Rock".
- The Falling-in-Love Montage references/parodies plenty of media and performers, such as Michael Jackson, Titanic, and Tarzan.
- Spaghetti Kiss: Parodied between Kronk and Birdie.
- Villain Decay: Yzma goes from being the driving threat of the first film to being a small time crook for the first act of this movie.
- 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.