Walt Disney Home Entertainment is on a roll with the Blu-ray releases of three of the greatest animated features from the early 2000s on Blu-ray. They unloaded “Lilo & Stitch,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and “The Emperor’s New Groove” on the same day for the first time in high definition. If that’s not reason to celebrate for fans of the Mouse House, I don’t know what is.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” 2 Movie Collection 3-Disc Special Edition includes “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Kronk’s New Groove.” Both films are together on one Blu-ray, while they each get their own regular format DVD.
Kuzco is the selfish emperor of the large Incan kingdom. His scheming advisor, Yzma, turns the self-absorbed king into a llama to gain control of his throne and become its new ruler. The transformed Kuzco awakens to find himself banished from his royal city. He must join forces with a villager named Pacha to regain his leadership and find a cure that will turn him back into the man he once was.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” is one of my favorite Disney animated movies. It features an all-star voice cast including David Spade, John Goodman, Patrick Warburton, and the late Eartha Kitt. Each one of these actors gives their characters depth and successfully brings them to life. This launched enough audience interest to convince Disney to make a direct-to-DVD sequel and a television show.
There’s some great humor found in “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Of course, we get David Spade’s sarcasm and wit. Patrick Warburton keeps audiences laughing in delight as he plays the “no brains – all brawn” henchman of Yzma named Kronk. It also helps that the movie isn’t a musical. There’s some musical numbers, but the character’s don’t stop dead in their tracks and start bellowing out a song every five minutes like many of the classic Disney films.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” is a great tool to help teach children the importance of thinking about how your actions affect others. It also shows how selfishness can cloud your judgment and hurt people. Disney continues to find entertaining ways to tell a tale of morality and be enjoyable at the same time.
“Kronk’s New Groove” is the direct-to-DVD sequel and obviously concentrates on Yzma’s dim-witted henchman. When Kronk finds out his demanding father is coming for a visit, he becomes concerned that his new life as the chef of his own restaurant won’t be enough to please him. The devious Yzma uses his insecurities to her advantage and lures Kronk to assist her in an evil “get-rich-quick” scheme. After realizing the consequences of his actions, the loveable lunkhead must find a way to fix all the damage he’s caused to his friends.
The Emperor Kuzco shows up briefly to provide commentary for “Kronk’s New Groove.” However, that’s all we see of him. This is a delightfully funny sequel to the first film and teaches children the importance of being honest and thinking about the consequences of your actions before doing something.
As far as audio and video quality is concerned, both films look and sound better than they ever have before. Both are presented with 1080p High Definition with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The picture is vibrant and the sound effects and musical scores will delight viewers. I didn’t notice any real drastic changes in the quality of animation like you get with most of these direct-to-DVD movies.
Just like the “Atlantis” Blu-ray release, the special features for the two movies are only found on the regular format DVDs. This will no doubt frustrate many consumers who buy these new Blu-ray editions with the idea that they’ll get everything on one disc. There’s a “Making of” featurette, deleted scenes, music videos by Sting and Rascall Flatts, and audio commentary for the first film. The Rascall Flatts’ video is instructional and teaches kids how to “Walk the Llama Llama.” “Kronk’s New Groove” includes a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette and two games.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” 2 Movie Collection 3-Disc Special Edition provides a great way to get both of these movies on one Blu-ray. Having to switch out discs to watch the special features might be a little inconvenient for those who want to watch them. Overall, having these two delightful films in one package will save you space in your ever-growing Disney home entertainment library.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” 2 Movie Collection 3-Disc Special Edition is available now on Blu-ray.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Lilo & Stitch 2 Movie Collection” 3-Disc Special Edition
Blu-ray Review: “Oz the Great and Powerful”
Blu-ray Review: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” 2-Movie Collection