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YMMV / The Emperor's New Groove

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YMMV pages for franchise works (including related works):

The film:

  • Adorkable:
    • Kuzco, though not in the nerdy way, but in the socially-awkward-kinda-woobie-way. Once he stops being a Jerkass.
    • Despite his Heroic Build, Kronk definitely qualifies. He's quite clumsy, and his ditzy nature only adds to his charm. If that wasn't enough, the guy can speak fluent squirrel!
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    • Birdwell. Her adorable laugh and burgeoning romance with Kronk qualifies her as one.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Was Yzma's insulting of Kronk in the climax a result of her thinning patience with his stupidity, or was she trying to provoke him into killing Kuzco?
  • Anvilicious: Like most animated films today, the Power of Friendship is presented in full force, but this movie makes it work: Kuzco is an unambiguous jerk, but he becomes a better person as he spends more time with the much nicer Pacha, and their cooperation ultimately helps both of them in the end.
  • Award Snub: Whenever there's an argument about voice actors getting Oscar love for their performances (say Robin Williams for Aladdin or Ellen DeGeneres for Finding Nemo), Patrick Warburton's name comes up a lot for his work as Kronk.
  • Awesome Ego:
    • Kuzco might be a narcissist jackass pre-Character Development, but that does make him entertaining to watch.
    • Yzma, who's basically Kuzco if he never learned his lesson, which makes her just as entertaining with the added benefit of seeing her get comeuppance.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked. When Kronk catches the bag Kuzco is in before it goes over the waterfall, the camera zooms out to show us the large drop. Then it keeps zooming out until it is very far from the entire kingdom and showing a tree where a chimp is eating a bug, then it quickly zooms all the way back in to Kronk carrying the bag through the city. Narrator Kuzco even lampshades this:
    Narrator Kuzco: What's with the chimp and the bug? Can we get back to me?
  • Comedy Ghetto: At the time of its release, the film came under a bit of fire from some for being a more simple, lighthearted and comedic film compared to the epic, emotional and dramatic musicals that were typical of Disney at the time, a fire that only burned harder upon the release of The Sweatbox and the revelations of its original concept as Kingdom of the Sun and the infamous Troubled Production it went through. While this has died down over time, with many coming to love the film for its humor, it does continue to get looked down upon by some today for not being as dramatic and emotional as many of Disney's more well known films.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: Yzma's final line after the funeral she holds for Kuzco. "Well, he ain't getting any deader!"
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Kronk is the character Patrick Warburton was born to play, and he was popular enough to receive his own spin-off movie.
  • Evil Is Cool: While Kuzco and Pacha aren't without their moments, Yzma and Kronk are far more entertaining and memorable. They're hilarious, cool and absolute scene sealers that can even generate Rooting for the Empire because of how fun they are. Plus, their stellar performances by Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton respectively doesn't help either.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: Some fans of the movie would have preferred to see Kingdom of the Sun instead.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Yzma, who has a mannequin-head for nightly "storing" of her enormous fake eyelashes.
  • First Installment Wins: Compared to the sequel/spin-off and TV series, the film had a sense of fresh air with enough comedic timing and heart to a Disney film of the early 2000s.
  • Fountain of Memes: One of Disney's most quotable films to date, with Kuzco, Yzma and Kronk being the most quotable characters.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It has a huge fandom in Italy and Brazil, mainly thanks to Superlative Dubbing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The opening of the film, which is pretty much Played for Laughs, is a bit less funny when you learn why Kuzco is crying in the jungle — He’s a kid trapped in a Baleful Polymorph who just learned his parental substitute wants to kill him and just lost the only real friend he’s ever had. All on his eighteenth birthday.
  • He Really Can Act: David Spade, often known for a lowbrow schtick not unlike Adam Sandler's, sounds genuinely broken after Kuzco realizes he's driven away his only friend.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay:
    • Kuzco and Pacha. Come on, you saw it. They had Kuzco dress up as a woman and pretend to be newlyweds with Pacha, Pacha almost giving him CPR and claiming "it was not a kiss", the amount of awkwardness between the two (including after they hug!), and Kuzco's Tsundere dynamic with Pacha. Oh, and Kuzco constantly ordering Pacha to take him back to the palace has eventually been shortened to "take me back" over the course of how many times it's been said. What more proof do you need?
    • Pacha crossdressing as Kronk's wife for him to get his Papa's approval in the sequel.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Yzma obviously crosses it when she decides to assassinate Kuzco and, near the end, more subtly crosses it when she insults Kronk's spinach puffs, proving that she's not even loyal to the one person who was undyingly loyal to her.
  • Older Than They Think:
  • Retroactive Recognition: This film, alongside the Nickelodeon series My Life as a Teenage Robot, was many young viewers introduction to Eartha Kitt.
  • Rooting for the Empire: It isn't that Kuzco and Pacha aren't entertaining or good characters, so much as Kronk and Yzma flat-out steal the show, to the point that some viewers even wish that Kuzco doesn't get better just because they want to see the villains succeed.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Aside from the whole "twisted, snarky fairy tale with an all-star cast" concept being monopolized by the runaway success of Shrek (which made it to theaters months after The Emperor's New Groove did), this was also the first Disney film in years that was not a blockbuster musical romance with a "Be Yourself" message. Anyone who doesn't remember this era will probably have a hard time getting past the "David Spade as a llama" gimmick.
  • Sequelitis:
    • The direct-to-DVD Kronk's New Groove was by no means terrible, featuring some decent animation and good gags here and there, but it was still a rather forgettable film, playing out more like three episodes of a TV cartoon stitched together into a movie than a true follow up.
    • The follow-up TV series The Emperor's New School regained some lost ground but had a tendency to take jokes from the original movie and re-re-re-use them until they lay in tatters.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Due to its similar slapstick and snide humor, The film is compared frequently to Looney Tunes and it is probably the closest we'll get to seeing a full feature-length animated film based off the shorts.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked. Yzma is drawn to look like a terrifying version of her voice actress Eartha Kitt, and her realistic facial features can make people cringe.
    Geezer #2: "How would you describe her?"
    Geezer #1: "Eh, scary beyond all reason."
  • Vindicated by History:
    • The film was eventually a modest money-maker, and has garnered a new lease on life in the post-Shrek world as an example of how to do a timeless animated comedy right — many of the gags aged far better than the heavily modern pop-culture based humor of Shrek and its knock-offs, and the character of Yzma is now viewed as one of the best Disney villains.
    • The decisions noted in Executive Meddling on the Trivia page can also be seen as this. While the feelings of those who had their hard work discarded are understandable, descriptions and snippets of the Kingdom of the Sun draft look dangerously like yet another iteration of the late 90s/early 2000s Disney Award Bait formula, complete with Romantic Plot Tumor, tangential Green Aesop, and Jafar expy. As noted in the "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny entry, and in an uncharacteristically bold move for Disney, what we got instead was an irreverent Self-Parody of more serious Disney fare, featuring a cast of memorable characters in a World of Snark.
  • Woolseyism:
    • When Pacha first meets Llama Kuzco and questions if it's him, Kuzco answers "Yeah, who do you think you're talking to?". In the Norwegian dub, they apparently found it hard to fit the lip sync and instead had Kuzco mockingly mimic Pacha's question (with an added lisp to boot), which made it even funnier.
      Kuzco: "Ugh! Kaither Kuthco??"
    • In the Italian dub there are quite a few, like when Pacha and Kuzco have to get up back to back; Pacha asks Kuzco 'Are you ready?' and Kuzco answers 'Yes' in the original dub, but as in Italian 'Are you ready?' was translated with 'Ci sei?' ('Are you there?') which has both meanings in the language, Kuzco gives a funny sarcastic quip, saying 'No, I'm at a bar'.
    • The French dub is notable (and well loved there) for completely altering some of the most Non Sequitur jokes into equally wacky non-sequitur jokes and letting the voice actors improv some of their lines. One of the most memorable change happens when Kronk awkwardly tries to get rid of his guardian angels: in the French dub, this scene was turned into a Celestial Bureaucracy joke.
      Kronk: Begone, or I'll have to cancel my subscription!

The game:

  • Anti-Climax Boss: Not that any of the bosses are very difficult, but the final boss is just a simple race against Yzma in her cat form. Hold right and space, jump over the holes, enter the door, repeat twice, get the potion, and victory is yours. If you lose, you'll be allowed to try again.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC game was just as humorous and satirical as the movie is, hanging lampshades on video game clichés long before The Simpsons Game did. However, there are changes to the plot, such as game Kuzco knowing Yzma is trying to kill him right from the start, while in the movie he did not learn that until after the diner scene. We should also note that Yzma's crocodiles are, shall we say, more competent guards than they were in the movie.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Averted with J.P. Manoux who did a spot-on impression of David Spade.
  • That One Level: Jungle Night Chapter 3 forces you to Button Mash fast to outrun the chasing jaguars while you keep Kuzco away from Bottomless Pits.


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