The Emperor's New Groove Movie Poster Image

The Emperor's New Groove



More fun, goofy cartoon antics than Disney polish.
Popular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 78 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate.

Positive messages

This is a story about a spoiled, selfish character who undergoes a major transformation and becomes a good guy -- which sends a positive message about being able to change for the better.

Positive role models

Kuzco starts out extremely spoiled -- so much so that he's fed, dressed, and catered to by everyone around him. But he evntually sees the error of his ways. Female characters are represented both positively and negatively. The way the men regard Yzma's wrinkles and her body (she's called "scary beyond all reason") reinforces some stereotypes, but Pacha's pregnant wife is very able to take care of herself. And Pacha himself believes that all people have some shred of goodness inside of them, so he doesn't give up on Kuzco, even when Kuzco treats him shabbily.

Violence & scariness

Though most of the violence is comic, slapstick violence, Yzma does try to kill Kuzco more than once, and she's not shy about saying: "I will KILL you!" Perilous falls and dark jungle scenes might be frightening for younger viewers.

Sexy stuff

Kuzco is told to pick a wife from a line of beautiful ladies, all of whom he insults. Yzma exposes her leg -- to the horror of male onlookers, who are constantly bashing her crone-like appearance.


Bullying language like "shut up," "I hate you," "I'm going to kill you."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like most Disney movies, this one has some scary moments, including a nighttime jungle scene reminiscent of the woods at night in Snow White. Most of the peril is comic, but it still might be too much for kids under 5. And it's worth noting that the sarcastic tone that makes the main character so hilarious could be contagious for young fans. Keep an ear out for remarks like "Me no likey" and "Yeah thanks, you've been a big help." In the end, though, the movie is about a selfish person who sees the error of his ways and reforms, which is a positive take-away.

What's the story?

THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE follows the story of spoiled emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade). When Kuzco dismisses his advisor, Yzma (Eartha Kitt), she decides to poison him. Her dim but muscular sidekick Kronk (Patrick Warburton) accidentally gives Kuzco the wrong potion, and instead of being killed, he's turned into a llama. Kuzco needs to get help from a peasant named Pacha (John Goodman) to get his body and his kingdom back, and the pair embark on a wild adventure in which they go over a rushing waterfall, get covered with scorpions, are cornered by jaguars, and get chased by Yzma and Kronk.

Is it any good?


Fast, fun, and funny, The Emperor's New Groove is a sheer delight. It deserves to be taken out of the rarified category of "animation" and called what it is: a cartoon. It has more in common with classic Warner Brothers cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Road Runner than with Disney animation classics. The animation is fine, but the voice performances are brilliant, especially Spade, who's sensational.

Unlike other animated adventures, this story has no perky heroine singing about her dreams, no adorable animal sidekicks, no soulful romantic duet to be nominated for an Oscar. In fact, there's no love interest at all. It's pure nonstop action and comedy, with a kind of freewheeling, even improvisational tone that's downright revolutionary. The movie even spoofs itself, along with other movies from The Fly to The Wizard of Oz.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the main character's transformation, both physical and mental. How do you think Kuzco's animal transformation helps him become a better person?

  • Why do you think a character like Kuzco thinks all people are selfish, while a character like Pacha finds good in everyone? How do these very different characters learn to trust each other?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 15, 2000
DVD/Streaming release date:October 18, 2005
Cast:David Spade, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman
Director:Mark Dindal
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
Run time:78 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Adult Written bybconrad April 9, 2008

too scary for sensitive kids

My 7 year old boy, who admittedly has a low tolerance for evil and scary characters, found the evil female advisor too scary and wanted to turn this off. A plot about murder may be appropriate for most 7 years olds, but he really didn't enjoy the movie because he was too worried every time the woman character was in a scene. He didn't see the humor of her character at all. He also didn't like the emperor, who is callous and evil at the beginning of the movie, and the flippant tone of his cruelty was confusing to him.
Parent of a 3 and 7 year old Written bykperk October 6, 2011

Didn't hold my kids' interest, somewhat violent

Just viewed with my 7- and 3-yr old girls. My seven year-old is quite sensitive to any anxiety-provoking scenes or music in movies, regardless of how mild it is. The evil female advisor to the emperor who is out to kill him made my older daughter uncomfortable, and during the chase scenes in which a group of vicious jaguars (all black with yellow eyes) hunted down the emperor (in his llama form) she had to run out of the room. The tension continued as the characters escaped from the jaguars, only to fall down a waterfall. I coaxed my 2nd grader back into the room, but eventually both children lost interest in the movie. None of us could quite connect with the characters, I just wasn't feeling any stake in their plight. I was feeling pretty lame as a parent when I allowed my preschooler to continue to watch it despite the violence and violent references, such as "I'm going to kill you." The intended message that individuals have good in them, can change for the better, all people should be treated with respect - just didn't hit home with my kids because the plot was a bit slow and they didn't care about the characters. A few scenes that bothered me: When the peasant had to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the emperor (in llama form) and when the emperor awoke they were each disgusted with the intimate contact, spitting, gargling, etc. The peasant kept explaining to the emperor that it wasn't a kiss. I suppose the emperor was grossed out having contact with a peasant and the peasant equally concerned about touching his mouth to an animal's, but honestly it just smacked of the typical homophobia that passes for humor is many movies and sitcoms. And later, as they triumphed they hugged, and then quickly backed away acting uncomfortable with the male/male affection. Definitely homophobia as humor. As another reviewer pointed out, it was also disturbing when the evil female advisor reached for a dagger strapped to her thigh and the male characters were repulsed by the sight of her old, ugly body, but were relieved when they realized it was a weapon she was going for, rather then trying to seduce them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byrgrossjr April 9, 2008

One of the funniest Disney films in some time!

This has got to be one of Disney's straight out funniest films in a while. The plot is simple, the gags are great, and it exists for no other reason than to make you laugh. The routines involving Eartha Kitt (Yzma the evil sorceress) and Patrick Warburton (Kronk, her vapid henchman) are worth the price of admission alone. There is pleanty here for adults and children to enjoy, and nothing scarry. My 3 and 5 year olds laugh out loud at this film, as did I when I first saw it. Much of the simple fun that some recent Disney films have lacked.


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