Tag Archives: The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove “Perfect World” (2000)

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Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove might just be the most spoiled rotten Disney character ever created. This is exemplified by the opening song of the film in which we get to see a day in the life of the adolescent emperor.

There are despots and dictators
Political manipulators
There are blue bloods with the intellects of fleas
There are kings and petty tyrants
Who are so lacking in refinements
They’d be better suited swinging from the trees

He was born and raised to rule
No one has ever been this cool
In a thousand years of aristocracy
An enigma and a mystery
In Meso American History
The quintessence of perfection that is he

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Kuzco literally has everything you can imagine done for him. Examples include: being carried in a throne up the stairs; having an entirely new hallway created on the spot when he wants to go a different way; a full course banquet delivered (and fed to him by servants) at the snap of his fingers; and of course, he has his own personal singer (Tom Jones) to perform his “theme song” which is what “Perfect World” is meant to be. The gist is simple: everything revolves around Kuzco and the emperor loves it. And really, who wouldn’t love being spoiled and pampered around the clock? I can’t think of another Disney character who comes close to being this indulged (if you think of an example please let me know in the comments below).

He’s the sovereign lord of the nation
He’s the hippest dude in creation
He’s a hep cat in the emperor’s new clothes
Years of such selective breeding
Generations have been leading
To this miracle of life that we all know

What’s his name?
Kuzco, Kuzco (That’s his name)
Kuzco (He’s the king of the world)
Kuzco, Kuzco (Is he hip or what?)
Kuzco (Ya)

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Even before the song is over, however, there are signs that having his every whim indulged from infancy has created a…less than healthy mindset shall we say? In one of my favorite comedic moments in any Disney film, the song is literally brought to a screeching halt when Kuzco bumps into an elderly man (who admittedly is trying to get out of the way when he sees the emperor coming). Instead of apologizing or just carrying on, Kuzco pouts and whines “You threw off my groove!” This prompts a guard to come by, grab the poor guy by the scruff of his neck and toss him out the window, before Kuzco glares at the singer and quips “You were saying?” The song resumes immediately and it becomes clear that all of this is happening, not because they want to do this, but because everyone wants to avoid being thrown out the window when the emperor gets upset!

He’s the sovereign lord of the nation
He’s the hippest cat in creation
He’s the alpha, the omega, a to z
And this perfect world will spin
Around his every little whim
‘Cos this perfect world begins and ends with (Kuzco: Me)

What’s his name?
Kuzco, Kuzco, Kuzco
Kuzco (That’s his name)
Kuzco, Kuzco (Is he hip or what)
kuzco (Don’t you know he’s the king of the world?)
Kuzco-(oh ya)-oooo (ow!)

Of course, Kuzco’s behavior during the song doesn’t come close to preparing the audience for the lengths he’s willing to go to get what he wants (like demolishing an entire village for a swimming pool with less than a day’s notice), but it still does an admirable job setting up the character.

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One note I like to share about this song: the first verse makes reference to “Mesoamerican history” which sounds great except…the term refers to Mexico and Central America. The Emperor’s New Groove takes place in Peru which is firmly in South America. In the grand scheme of things it’s a minor nitpick, but I like to point it out when I get the chance.

What do you think of “Perfect World”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Thinking about The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

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(You know, I could’ve sworn I covered this film already, but I can’t find it anywhere in the archive so I guess I didn’t, lol!)

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Over this past weekend, I as I was celebrating my 28th birthday, I managed to pick up a copy of The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) from Best Buy (seriously, if you get the chance, go see what they have, there are a lot of great movies on sale right now before Black Friday). I saw this movie in theaters sixteen LONG years ago, but it’s been a while since I watched it on DVD.

 

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Truthfully, I’d forgotten how FUNNY this film is! While this film takes place after the end of the Disney Renaissance, the animation is well done and the voice acting is hilarious!

The Emperor’s New Groove is set in ancient Peru, in the Incan Empire and follows Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) as he gets the biggest serving of humble pie EVER. See, 17 year old Kuzco’s tiniest whim has been satisfied since the day he was born, meaning that he’s the biggest entitled, egotistical, spoiled BRAT on the face of the Earth. He does what he wants and has no means of understanding the consequences. For example, he summons Pacha (John Goodman), a village leader, to the palace, only to inform him that his home for the last six generations will be demolished the very next day (Kuzco’s birthday) to make room for the emperor’s new summer palace. But there’s a big problem coming for Kuzco….

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Everyone, meet Yzma

Earlier that day, Kuzco had fired his royal adviser Yzma (Eartha Kitt) for playing “empress” one time too many. The infuriated Yzma decides (with help from an unwitting Kronk, her latest henchman) to get rid of Kuzco herself. Since Kuzco is barely 18, not married and certainly no children to succeed him, Yzma can easily take over the empire and rule herself. To that end, she tells Kronk to prepare a poison that will kill Kuzco almost instantly at dinner that evening. But instead of poisoning Kuzco, Kronk instead slips in extract of llama, which (you guessed it), turns the spoiled emperor into a llama!!! A subsequently botched attempt by Kronk to “finish the job” leaves Kuzco way out in the distant countryside with Pacha, and the two must find a way to work together so that a) Pacha and his family keep their home b) Kuzco can return to the palace and become human again and c) Kuzco can figure out what it means to actually be a proper ruler!!

The Emperor’s New Groove “Pull the lever Kronk!”

Yzma is played brilliantly by Eartha Kitt (who also played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman television series). The way she’s animated, she clearly has the air of a woman who was once a great beauty back in the day (at least she thinks of herself that way) and stubbornly holds onto that idea in the present.

Kuzco is also well-done, his transformation from spoiled brat to understanding young adult is believable. Kuzco and Yzma easily have my favorite lines in the entire film:

Yzma: “Pull the lever Kronk…WRONG LEVER!!!!

Kuzco: “Don’t tell me…we’re about to go over a huge waterfall…(Pacha: Yup!) Sharp rocks at the bottom? (Pacha: Most likely.) Bring it on!”

If you’ve never seen this film before, go check it out, you’ll have a great time 🙂

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