Dissecting the Disquels: Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Kronk has been living a happy life in the village since the end of the last movie. He has a good job as a cook, he’s the leader of a Squirrel Scout troupe and everyone around town loves him. However, he’s shaken when his father, Papi, announces that he’s coming for a visit. Kronk has always yearned for his father’s approval, but has never been able to get any recognition since his father finds everything he enjoys to be silly, and believes a successful life can never be achieved without a house on a hill, a wife and kids. Kronk explains to his boss that he had most of that stuff once, but lost it all. When he’s done with his stories, Papi arrives, and Kronk has to convince Chicha, Pacha’s wife, and their kids to pretend to be his wife and kids for one last chance at a thumbs up from Papi.

Breakdown: Some of you have been following Dissecting the Disquels since the start, and we’re nearing the end of the road (about four left after this, give or take). By now, you’ve probably caught on to the familiar formulas Disney tends to use when it comes to Disquels.

Almost all Disney sequels follow one of these structures.

1 – The child of the main character from the first movie having their own adventure, which is the first movie either redone or in reverse.

2 – A prequel or midquel no one asked for and answers questions no one had.

3 – Three stories stitched together, pretending to be a full movie when, in reality, it’s actually a pilot to a failed or aired TV series.

You should be able to tell by the plot synopsis which route this movie takes.

So take a stab at an answer. Which do you think it is?

If you answered 3, you’re right! Though, don’t feel bad if you answered 1 or 2 because even those are partially right.

While Kronk isn’t Kuzco’s kid, they do make off like this is a replica of the first movie in numerous ways. I’ll get more into details later, but the very start of the movie has Kronk in a bad situation narrating how his life was awesome and asks how he got in this situation, like Kuzco does in the start of the first movie. The first song of the movie is a choir/soul song singing Kronk’s praises like the first movie did with Kuzco (except it’s totally different because whereas Kuzco had a man singer, Kronk has a woman singer.) and the finale answers where the first scene came from and so on.

This is a sequel, not a midquel or prequel, but it does delve into Kronk’s backstory (gotta love the recurring trope of compelling backstory=daddy issues) and answers questions no one had like ‘What happened to Kronk after the first movie?’ ‘Did Yzma ever turn back into a human?’ ‘What happened to that restaurant Kuzco and Pacha stopped at during the last movie?’

As for the stuff about being a first movie replicant….

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You know how many Disquels seem like they’re pretending to be the first movie or have the wrapper of the first movie and bank on that being enough to hook in viewers? Those movies never seem like they care to try to be like the first movie and do the bare minimum to remind viewers that it is indeed still a movie in the franchise. This movie, however, is doing its damnedest to try to be the first movie in every way short of just taking a DVD of the first movie and printing the poster art for this movie on the front.

The weird thing is, the story isn’t very much reminiscent of the first movie. Kronk’s not really getting his groove back. He never lost it. He never gets turned into a llama or any other animal or anything. Plus, the fact that this movie is technically three stories in one means the focal goal really can’t be anything like that.

What I mean by this movie being a replicant is, holy hell, they love to throw every single joke they ever made from the first movie at your face. Outside of some jokes exclusive to Kuzco, and I’ll get to his role soon enough, they take every notable joke and scene from the first movie and recreate it.

For many of them, they recreate them and then run them into the ground. For example, Kronk’s shoulder devil and angel appear way too many times (they even give Tipo, Pacha’s son, his own pair so they can milk the living hell out of it), they repeat the animated ‘plan’ quickly narrated by the planner schtick a couple of times, they let the uncomfortable Yzma seeming like she’s sexually alluring someone go on for nearly an entire scene etc.

Most of the other references are just one-offs, but the insane repetition of jokes doesn’t end there. When they have an original joke, they also like to run that into the ground, even if the joke isn’t funny. For instance, during the second segment, they have Kronk mark his box of eggs with ‘Kronk’s eggs. Property of Kronk. Do not touch except for Kronk.’ then his love interest, Ms. Birdwell, has a box of raisins which have ‘Birdwell’s raisins. Property of Birdwell. Do not touch except for Birdwell.’ written on them. Then ‘Tipo’s itching powder. Property of Tipo. Do not touch except for Tipo.’

That wasn’t a funny joke the first time, yet they deemed it funny enough to repeat three times. They not only have it in writing, either. They need to have someone read each item out loud, subsequently wasting five seconds of your life on purpose each time.

That’s not to say everything in the comedy department’s a failure. I will admit, a couple jokes actually warranted a chuckle out of me, which is more than I can say for nearly any other Disquel. That was when they were actually making jokes that kept the spirit of the original movie’s comedy instead of just referencing it or directly ripping off its jokes.

They start getting a steady rhythm or ‘groove’, if you will, and then they screw it up by repeating a joke, making a first movie reference or repeating a first movie reference. Maybe this movie is more accurately titled than I thought, because I wanted Kronk’s New Groove to get its groove back quite often.

In a story perspective, we can break up the film fairly easily. We start with Kronk flailing around in a bunch of cheese as he narrates to us about how he got into that situation. We flashback to earlier that day and get the Kronk praise song I mentioned. Kronk has made a good life for himself as a cook at the restaurant Kuzco and Pacha visited in the first movie, and everyone loves him. However, he gets a llama-gram (which is not delivered by a llama so I guess this is just another first movie reference) that says his father, Papi, will be coming for a visit soon.

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Papi is under the belief that Kronk has a successful life as a businessman with a house on a hill, a nice wife and several kids – the requirements to be successful per Papi’s guidelines. Papi never approved of the way Kronk acted, such as speaking to squirrels and cooking. He basically forced Kronk to give those things up, telling him he’d never be successful unless he got serious.

Kronk explains to his boss that he once did have the house and family, but was unable to keep any of it.

This leads us to the story of the house. But first, an interlude by Kuzco. Since fans of the first movie are probably wondering when Kuzco will make an appearance at this point in the movie, they give Kuzco the responsibility of popping up once in a while as an interlude either before a segment or in the middle of it. They’re all not funny, none of them have a point and they only serve the purpose of giving David Spade a paycheck.

He shows up before the first segment, in the middle of the first segment, in the middle of the second segment and then finally shows up in the actual movie for a few minutes at the very end.

This first segment interlude has Kuzco merely telling us, over and over and over and over, because repetition is this movie’s bread and butter, that this is Kronk’s movie – not his. Because we’d never get that from the fact that this movie’s called KRONK’S New Groove. Most of the time, they even omit the ‘The Emperor’s New Groove 2’ part of the title. It’s officially just Kronk’s New Groove.

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I don’t know where they got that DVD art. I’ve never seen it outside of the movie.

And that’s all he does. Fun fun. Why is he one of the most prominent characters on the DVD covers and promotional art, again?

The actual first segment is about Kronk running into Yzma yet again. She’s returned to a human state, but maintains a cat tail. After an incredibly long scene of Yzma flirting with Kronk to seduce him into her plan (including, yes, the reference to her raising her dress and showing leg, which is actually nonsensical here because she’s trying to show him something she’s stepping on and her dress isn’t long enough to warrant needing to do that for that task.) we’re made privy to her scheme.

Yzma has a plan to sell a youth potion to the elderly people Kronk has befriended. She needs Kronk to sell it because he’s built a good rapport with them so it will be easy for them to trust his pitch. He reluctantly agrees because he needs the money to build a house on a hill to impress Papi.

We get a song break that….I’m not sure I like…..I like Eartha Kitt a lot. I loved her in Batman, I love her as a singer and as a person, and I hated it when she died. This is also her second to last film role before her death. However….she sounds really….odd here. For some reason, she sounds like she has a Russian accent half the time and her singing ability is just off-base. I’m not sure if she was sick and that was affecting her ability to talk or sing properly, but she just sounds weird in this movie.

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Long story short, the people nab up the youth potion and eventually become addicted to it, Kronk becomes rich and buys the senior center from the desperate-for-money old folks, which he destroys for the sake of building his house, and Yzma reveals that she’s just putting sewer sludge into a bottle and selling it.

Kuzco interrupts again just to tell the audience that Yzma’s a snake oil salesman and this whole thing’s a scam for some greater scheme…..Thanks Kuzco. I’m sure you educated the butternut squash that didn’t deduce that at this point.

Kronk sees that Rudy, the old man who threw off Kuzco’s groove in the first movie, is naked and begging for money to buy youth potion. He and his friends sold everything they had, including their clothes, in order to get more youth potion. Kronk spots him a bottle and he starts acting like Gollum from Lord of the Rings….Literally. That’s the reference they’re making. Kronk, with the help of his shoulder angel, realizes that Rudy doesn’t look any different, so the potion must be a sham.

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This is just stupid. Rudy needs to actually realize that he doesn’t look any different before he realizes that the potion’s a placebo. Tricking yourself into believing it’s making you feel better because you trust Kronk is one thing. Ignoring that the outside does not match the inside…..especially when naked……is another.

Yzma’s real scam was to get all of the elderly people on her side so she could win an election for emperor. They brought up that it’s odd that it’s suddenly an electoral position, but they don’t explain why Kuzco doesn’t seem to be running a campaign if it is (Kuzco voluntarily giving up an opportunity to partake in an activity that is literally nothing but speaking highly of him? Yeah, not happening) nor do they explain why the elderly vote is so vital to her campaign. Only elderly people are buying and using this potion – I can’t imagine elderly people were such a huge majority of the population back in Incan times.

Yzma get ousted as a fraud, the old people chase her through the city and they do that bit from the first movie where they pan out far away to see her on top of a huge overhang. They very nearly redo the ‘I win’ joke from the first movie, but Yzma again turns into a tiny cute animal, this time on purpose so they won’t attempt to hurt her. Little bunny Yzma rejoices in victory, but is carried away by a hawk and we’re left to assume she got ripped apart and eaten.

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The lesson of this segment, by the way, is that you’re only as old as you feel….which 1) is useless to the demographic this movie is aimed towards 2) doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway because a lot of these guys felt old to start with. They didn’t want to improve their looks so much as how they felt.

In order to make up for what he did, Kronk gives his super cool new house to the seniors and that’s how Kronk lost his house.

Next up, the story of how Kronk had and lost the love of his life. Kronk goes to a competition for Squirrel Scouts when he meets a woman named Ms. Birdwell. He falls in love according to schedule a la Disney Princess, but the romance is ended before it even starts when Kronk’s fun loving scouts cannon-ball the more refined campers of Birdwell’s troupe, getting them wet….yeah. That’s the huge conflict. The swimming children….got wet…so Birdwell’s furious. Oh and one of the girls got her dolly wet, so that makes her super furious. Must suck to live in a world where shit doesn’t dry.

Because of this, Kronk and Birdwell become incredibly determined to beat each other in the competition and run their kids ragged in training. They realize what idiots they’re being so they decide to make it up to their campers by making raisin bread. Which leads us to the ‘property of….’ yadda yadda ‘joke’.

Birdwell and Kronk fight some more, but when things get out of hand, they feel guilty and start making bread together, which leads to our second song…..a disco song, which is fine….but….uh….the background animation is just Kronk and Birdwell being luvey duvey with each other and uh….some of the animation is…..*cough* I might just be reading too much into some of it, but you can’t tell me there’s not something off about her saying ‘get out your oven mitts, because it’s about to get hot’ followed by this…

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and especially this KNGGIF2FIXEDThere is no way I’m reading too much into that. Their movements, their position, the camera angle, Kronk’s facial expression. I was surprised that shot even got by the censors.

In addition to the Aladdin 3 effect of making a bunch of Disney movie references during this montage (Lady and the Tramp, Tarzan) third-party movie references (Titanic) and for some reason a Michael Jackson reference (hot on the heels of his second child molestation allegation. Smart, Disney) it also seems like this whole montage is one big reference because this is the second time I’ve seen a main character in an animated Disney sequel fall in love through a disco dance montage – The first being A Very Goofy Movie (should that be considered a Disquel? Hm.)

While I can dance along to the song just fine (and no one shall ever see me dance) I have to say, this montage goes on for too long. They just make various references, dance and gaze creepily into each other’s eyes.

Montage over, Kronk and Birdwell are ungodly luvey duvey now (as in, I was gagging at how luvey duvey they make these two in the proceeding scenes) and Kuzco butts in again. What does he have to say now?

Nothing. He cries because it’s so romantic then tells the audience to excuse him because he needs a moment.

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That’s it.

That’s all.

Kuzco has less to do in this movie than Slowking did in Pokemon the Movie 2000.

They make up with the campers and go on with their friendly competition. They end up tied in wins with the tiebreaker being the cheer off. However, there’s a snag.

Kronk told everyone to do whatever it takes to win the previous day, so Tipo decides to put itching powder in the grip chalk before the other team does their routine. He tells Kronk right as their routine starts and the team falls, with Birdwell falling into the mud. She finds Tipo’s itching powder bag, and Kronk takes the heat for it, since he feels guilty for putting Tipo in that situation.

Despite this being a clear misunderstanding (it’s not like he told Tipo to cheat, and I can bet she also said something similar to ‘do whatever it takes to win’ to her campers) Kronk doesn’t even really try to patch things up and Birdwell leaves in a fury.

And that’s how Kronk lost his woman.

The final story takes place in the present, though still flashbacked slightly, and Papi arrives. This segment is by far the worst and the most annoying to sit through.

I hate stories where the main setup is fueled by lies and deception that the audience is aware of. It makes everything incredibly predictable and awkward. However, they amped up the sitcom awkwardness to levels I never even imagined. Kronk asks Pacha is he can borrow his wife and kids and pretend he owns his house just for however long Papi stays. Before he can solidify agreement, Pacha runs off, thinking he’s got a better idea, and Papi arrives, leaving Chicha with the baton.

He’s short.

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It’s funny because they thought this intimidating guy would be tall, considering how huge Kronk is. Haha.

She agrees to help and everything goes alright for a while until Pacha comes out in drag, claiming he’s Kronk’s wife. Normally this would be the end of the road for the charade, but Kronk says he’s Chicha’s mother. Papi starts hitting on Pacha….Hah…..Wait, where’s Kronk’s mom? Is she dead? You create a backstory no one asked for and then forget a big aspect of it? I’m surprised they didn’t take the obvious joke of her being dead because this is a Disney movie.

Kronk also tries to hide the fact that he’s the cook at the restaurant. Rudy then comes in pretending he’s Kronk’s wife. Then some of Kronk’s Squirrel Scouts get together in a big coat to pretend they’re Kronk’s wife. Some other elderly people arrive in diapers to pretend they’re Kronk’s kids. Kronk’s two old secretaries from the first segment arrive claiming they’re his wives. Finally, Kuzco arrives in drag pretending to be Kronk’s wife. At least he acknowledges that he weaseled himself into the movie. Points off for bragging about it instead of it being a confession, though.

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….Is it weird that I think Kuzco looked better as a llama in drag?

Anyway, Kronk left some cheese in the pressure cooker, the result is what you’d expect, so we’re back to the beginning of the movie. He confesses to his father and then realizes that he is successful because he has a bunch of great friends.

His father’s not so quick to accept that because, by his definition, he still has nothing. His friends, however, reveal that he used to have a big house, but gave it up for his friends and he used to have a girlfriend, but gave her up to protect Tipo. And it’s during the predictable speech and group shot that you realize Kuzco has gone missing again. Do they need to pay David Spade for screentime even if he’s not talking?

They also give us this lovely shot of Chicha.

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Sweetie….you okay?

The expected happens again after the speech as Papi realizes that Kronk’s right and gives him the thumbs up he always yearned for.

Because we need every possible thread tied up neat in a bow, Tipo arrives. He sneaked out earlier after he started feeling guilty about Kronk’s situation since he was responsible for what happened with Birdwell. As a surprise, he brought Birdwell with him. By the way, did Pacha and Chicha get replaced with Didi and Stu Pickles? Tipo’s been gone for about an hour. Pay attention to your children!

They don’t say Tipo explained everything to Birdwell, but she has forgiven Kronk and they reunite. They imply that Papi and Kronk’s boss will get together and then they dance to a reprise of the first song, which, now that I’m hearing it, says ‘be true to your groove’. Which means this movie should moreso be called ‘Kronk’s Old Groove – Now with 50% more parental respect.’

We still have Yzma’s plot thread to take care of, so we see Yzma in a nest when the eggs next to her hatch into cute little birdies, who then turn into crazed monsters and we’re again left to assume she’s ripped apart and eaten. Roll the seven minutes of credits in the hour and 14 minute long movie.

The en….wait.

During the credits, there are a bunch of photos. Through these photos we see Kronk and Birdwell getting married, going on their honeymoon and buying a house on a hill as Papi gives them a thumbs up.

……..So….doesn’t that mean….the whole message of the movie is now moot? Now Kronk has 2/3 of everything Papi required for him to be seen as successful, and he’s probably on his way to getting the third if that bread kneading scene is any indication. I know they wanted to drive home the happy ending, but come on. Don’t unravel your entire plot. We can deduce that they get those things down the line.

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This movie received the predictable terrible to mixed reviews and, even over 10 years after its release, it still holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes…..which is completely unjustified in my opinion.

Anyone who left a rating on RT, go watch the Disquel garbage I’ve watched then go back and write a review. You fuckers gave Hunchback 2 a 30%, Cinderella 2 an 11%, Tarzan 2 a 33%, Tarzan and Jane a 17%, Belle’s Magical World a 17% – one of the few Disquels that actually seems like it’s trying to give a shit and, hell, is just actually trying….a 0%. Jeez, no wonder RT and IMDB seems like two entirely different worlds at times….

I agree with some of the reviewers that Kronk is funny in smaller does and just cannot hold a whole movie on his own. Nor can he probably hold a TV series, which is why this never took off.

However, The Emperor’s New Groove did get a TV series, though it was still based on Kuzco. It was called The Emperor’s New School, and it was about Kuzco needing to graduate school before he can officially take his place as emperor (just go with it). I’ve watched a few episodes of it and it was fine. Kuzco’s left best in smaller doses, too, though, especially when he’s hitting on the TV series love interest of Malina.

Oddly, while Kronk is also in that series, he’s back to being Yzma’s crony and Ms. Birdwell is no where to be found.

This movie was both better and worse than I thought it’d be. Usually the Disquels that employ structure 3 are basically unsalvageable, but this one’s entirely watchable and even a little funny. It’s not great, there are some spots that are actually terrible and the whole structure is a complete mess, but, like I mentioned before, when it gets in its groove, it’s one of the stronger Disquels.

They poke fun at themselves, they poke legitimate fun at Disney itself, and there are some good and funny moments here. It’s just a shame because it could’ve been a lot better. They obviously had a drive to do it, but the stories they ended up using were just either bland or cliché as cliches can possibly go without causing a rift in time and space.

It’s also one of those movies that reeks of production problems. I can’t find anywhere that states such a thing, but it seriously feels like the writers and director wanted one thing, a legit sequel, while the higher ups forced them to make it into a series of episodes for a failed pilot.

I would not be at all surprised given the first movie’s troubled production history, but let’s save that story for another time.

The art and animation is lower quality than the first movie, of course, but it’s on the high end for direct to DVD Disquels. Despite Derp!Chicha, there aren’t that many odd frames and the animation is fluid enough.

The music is also better than Disquels usually give us. I’m not a big fan of the feature presentation version of Feels Like A Million by Eartha Kitt, but the end credits version where it’s less filtered and is half lounge-y sounds much better. Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind and Fire is something I can listen to anytime. Be True to Your Groove by Sandy Barber is eh, and the orchestral music is fitting and nice, especially the very last end credits song. It can get a little too doinky, though.

The voice acting is great, barring Eartha Kitt’s odd voice work here and there. Nearly everyone reprises their roles, including John Goodman, but I almost wish David Spade had just said no to this because his role is entirely pointless from start to finish. I don’t care how much it’s not his story – Rudy, Pacha, Chicha, the kids, even Bucky the Squirrel had 1000x more to do in this movie than Kuzco did. It’s almost like they thought no one would buy it if they didn’t see Kuzco throughout the movie and on the artwork.

Give this movie a shot if you liked the style of the original movie. It really does make an effort at both trying to stay true to the original and being funny on its own, but be prepared for a lot of first movie references, beating the dead horses that are some of the original and referenced jokes and just dealing with the typical blahness that comes with Disquel-itis.

Recommended Audience: Surprisingly, there are several instances of sexual themes, and it can’t all be my dirty mind. Rudy gets naked once, but you obviously can’t actually see anything. Plus, some references no kid would ever get but that doesn’t matter much. 7+

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