The Emperor's New Groove

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Emperor's New Groove Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
More fun, goofy cartoon antics than Disney polish.
  • G
  • 2000
  • 78 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 38 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 t... Continue reading
Adult Written byDDJT February 17, 2020

Really funny

We really enjoyed this movie. While there is a little bit of tricky language, it’s minimal. And the jaguar scene is a bit scary. The outcome is satisfying aft... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymaddie-and-chocolate June 2, 2014

Basically it's the best Disney movie ever.

I'm 14 years old and going to be a freshman next year. 3 of my friends and I are the Emperor's New Groove Cult and we get together to watch this movie... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byevolinag December 4, 2012

Disney cartoon is refreshingly unusual, and age appropriate.

"The Emperor's New Groove" is a Disney cartoon released in 2000.
While their older cartoon have all been really good adaptions of well-known stor... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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