The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

A- SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

The Emperor’s New Groove is really about another new groove — Disney animation’s. By 2000, the old Disney-as-usual wasn’t selling any more, and Disney was ready to begin trying new things.

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2000, Disney. Directed by Mark Dindal. Voices: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick. Animated.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value


Age Appropriateness

Kids & Up*

MPAA Rating


Caveat Spectator

Cartoon slapstick violence and comic menace; brief gross-out humor involving eating giant bugs.

The Emperor’s New Groove couldn’t be more different. Instead of a love story, it’s a morality tale, about an unconscionably self-centered emperor named Kuzco (David Spade) who’s forced to reexamine his priorities when — in a metamorphosis reminiscent of Pinocchio and C. S. Lewis’s Prince Rabadash — he finds himself transformed into a llama.

Instead of the old Disney anti-family stereotypes (feeble or overbearing father, absent or irrelevant mother, etc.), there’s a refreshingly affectionate portrait of family life. Pacha (John Goodman), the magnanimous peasant who spends most of the movie helping the llama-emperor, is married to ChiCha (Wendie Malick), an attractive, very competent, very pregnant, stay-at-home mother of two; and their kids are adorable — and funny.

Eartha Kitt is hilarious as a Cruella de Vil-like villainess, and Patrick Warburton as her henchman Kronk nearly steals the show — except the whole cast is so spot-on. The fast-paced humor targets kids and adults alike, and there’s more than a touch of Chuck Jones in the whimsical animation.

Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Top Movie Moms