This Disney comedy makes a self-conscious and largely successful attempt to modernise the studio's format with a jive-ass sensibility. Not that the customary caution has been jettisoned wholesale. The tradition of appropriating as backdrop either a 'classic' children's text or a classical culture - here the arrogant young Emperor reigns over a pre-Columbian culture comprising three parts Inca, two parts Aztec and one part Disney- is naturally upheld.
Musically, although efforts have been made to give the production contemporary snap, rhythm and soul, enlisting Tom Jones to sing the theme tune and Sting to write the songs ensures the groove is cheekily adaptive rather than threatening. Nasty imperial advisor Yzma turns newly enthroned emperor Kuzco into a helpless talking llama, who's befriended and aided in retaking his throne by herdsman Pacha in return for promises not to redevelop the latter's idyllic mountain village. But knowing anachronisms, witticisms and one-liners, allied with a tongue in cheek attitude to storytelling convention and Dindal's easygoing direction, make for an entertaining change of tone.
Cast and crew
Eli Russell Linnetz