Kronk’s New Groove (2005)

Kronk’s New Groove (2005)

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Wait a second, I've seen this somewhere before...
Wait a second, I’ve seen this somewhere before…

Twitter Plot Summary: Kronk has to contend with the return of Yzma, a potential love interest and, more importantly, the imminent arrival of his father.

Genre: Animation/Comedy/Musical/Family/Romance

Director: Saul Blinkoff and Elliot M Bour

Key Cast: Patrick Warburton, Tracey Ullman, Eartha Kitt, David Spade, John Goodman, Wendie Malick, John Mahoney, Tress MacNeille

Five Point Summary:

1. Breaking the fourth wall. Hah!
2. Everybody’s back in the voice acting studio. Nice.
3. Ahh, a Lord of the Rings reference. Rather good.
4. Ahh, l’amour. Poor Kronk.
5. And everybody learns their lesson. Happy outcome for all.

We’re back in the Inca Empire, but this time it’s all about Kronk, the loveable lug from The Emperor’s New Groove. After the events of that film he’s now working as a chef in the diner rather than being an evil henchman. Then he discovers his father is about to visit, but before that can happen he ends up back in the employ of Yzma, who has somehow been able to return (mostly) to her human form and has a plot to sell youth potion to the elderly folks living on a hill. You know, standard. Then he also has to deal with l’amour in the form of scout leader Ms Birdwell. There’s a lot of different elements haphazardly thrown together, which leaves the story feeling disjointed until the final few minutes. After Kronk’s father turns up it’s surprisingly good, but as he’s only involved for the last ten minutes it’s too little too late.

It may be the fact I watched it in HD, but for once the animation wasn’t noticeably lower quality compared to the original – almost all direct to DVD Disney sequels are on par with their TV series at best. Unfortunately the story doesn’t match the quality of the animation. The jokes are still just as zingy as the first film, but there’s musical numbers and a somewhat uninspiring story to contend with. Kronk’s appeal can only carry it so far, however in Monty Python terms the plot is wafer thin and 20 minutes of story stretched over 75 minutes. Again, typical of the majority of Disney’s straight to DVD efforts. In fact it feels like a few episodes of a TV series cobbled together to create a film narrative, which probably isn’t too far from the truth. Seeing as the film is only just over an hour long with about 7 minutes of credits, it’s not rocket science to split the story into three lots of 22 minutes, the standard length of an episode for an animated TV series.

It's a Disney film, go figure.
It’s a Disney film, go figure.

Luckily the voice acting is just as good as the first film – the cast all return and they’re joined by Tracey Ullman and John Mahoney. It’s one strong aspect in a plethora of mediocrity. If we learn nothing else from Disney’s direct to DVD range, it’s that they’re invariably poor, in particular when you compare them to the original movie in the series. There are a few exceptions to this rule (see the Aladdin and Lion King sequels), but unfortunately Kronk’s New Groove doesn’t meet the same level of quality as the film that spawned it. Whilst the voice acting is strong and the animation surprisingly good, the story is weak and other than a few dazzles of potential it falls flat on almost every level. Kronk is a fun character but he isn’t able to carry an entire film, he’s best left as occasional comic relief. Ultimately after all is said and done, the kids who watch the film will learn a valuable lesson about friendship and hopefully become upstanding members of society. Or something.

Favourite scene: The surprising outcome that meets Yzma. Didn’t see that coming.

Quote: “Souvenir photo?” “Oh rats, my eyes were closed.”

Silly Moment: Kronk exploding out of the diner, covered in melted cheese.

Score: 2.5/5

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