The Emperor's New Groove: The Ultimate Groove
Collector's Edition, Collectors Edition
DVD | Box Set
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(May 01, 2001)
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Producer Randy Fullmer and director Mark Dindal literally run through each department at Disney Animation Studios to show us how their feature was created. While this is a more energized approach (and in tune with the film's spirit), the effort is never as intrinsically funny as the Pixar (Toy Story) gang's behind-the-scenes DVDs. This "Ultimate Edition" is laid out as in previous deluxe Disney DVDs to examine the development and art of the film, including three deleted sequences. With one vital new feature, you can select a tour "Groove" that takes you through 25 minutes of highlights of the filmmaking process instead of clicking through the DVD menus. Unfortunately, the disc does not dig into the origins of the film, originally developed as a musical epic called Kingdom of the Sun. There are only a dozen nondescriptive art drawings that entice us. Instead of illustrating how a massive change in tone was successfully made, Disney just looks the other way. Fans of the final movie should enjoy this two-disc set (especially the conversational tone of the commentary), but this is hardly an "ultimate edition." --Doug Thomas
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Energetic animation is topped off by pitch perfect voice work from the cast, with Patrick Warburton stealing the show as Kronk (no wonder the guy got his own spin-off film.) And the great thing about the humor is that it's not juvenile and grating for adults, yet it's high energy enough for kids to enjoy even if some of the jokes are too meta for the really little ones.
The style is Disney-- you know immediately that this is from the same studio that produced Alladin-- and yet there is an attitude much more like the classic Warner Brothers than the House de Mouse. Never mind that this doesn't pretend to great emotional depth; this is a hilarious film that can be enjoyed by any age.
And that's no small feat. Cheesy emotional depth, mediocre music, stilted drama-- all of those failed attempts can still be rewarding. But a failed comedy is just, well, dumb instead of funny. This flick is repeatedly branded as lightweight and B or C list, but doggone it, it's hard to make a really funny movie, and this delivers the goods.
Now, onto the product itself. I ordered the single-disc DVD version. $15 is a little steep for just the DVD of an older movie, but I can't exactly find this anywhere, and I really wanted it, so I got it. (For comparison, older movies from Dreamworks on DVD are about 5 bucks. Maybe it's a Disney thing...)
Since it's not a special edition or anything fancy, my expectations were met. Just your average DVD case, cover, and colorful disc. There was an advertisement for the Disney Rewards program and a code, but no paper with chapter titles or anything like that (but forgoing this seems to be a trend with newer DVDs in general).
The disc was not scratched or damaged and played without a hitch.
So, short summary: got what I expected, but payed a little more than I would have liked compared to other titles. All in all, I'm satisfied.