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— [?] as some scientist, Face/Off

MRQE Top Critic

The East

The East emerges as an exciting piece of filmmaking from the independent scene’s hott —Matt Anderson (review...)

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It is too bad that Disney does not put out more movies like “The Emperor’s New Groove.” It is also too bad that Disney has not justified its double-dipping with its less-than-groovy “New Groove Edition.”

Disney double-dips after 5 years without a DVD re-release
Disney double-dips after 5 years without a DVD re-release

Amid all the studio’s usual fairy tale adaptations comes a hilarious story about Kuzco (David Spade), a selfish emperor of a fictitious South American country who gets turned into a llama of all things in a botched assassination attempt by Yzma (Eartha Kitt), an envious advisor who wants to claim the throne herself. Kuzco can only be redeemed by Pacha (John Goodman), a good-natured peasant whose village Kuzco wants to demolish so he can install a new summer home.

So it is not the most original of stories — no surprise from Disney — but the jokes more than make up for it. In fact, they make up the whole movie, which is stolen by Kronk, Yzma’s sidekick, who is adequately voiced by Patrick Warburton. These characters will go out of their way to comment on a weird plot twist, like why Yzma has a lever in her lab that drops her into an alligator pit; they’ll even talk back to the narration at times of despair.

All this without getting too sentimental or talking down to the audience, especially the adults.

Which leaves us with some extras that might not have been worth five years of waiting. The deleted scenes are more like animated story boards. One of them is so bad it’s painfully obvious why it never made it to the final cut. We do see a better ending that was extracted on the recommendation of song provider Sting for not being “ecologically friendly.”

The audio commentary is an example of too many cooks spoiling the meal with too many crew members talking too technical, and the less said about the music videos the better. But you can always count on Disney for producing a great picture and stereo sound, and “Groove” is no exception.

The new edition is not as groovy as it would like to be, but the movie itself more than makes up for it.