27 February 2009

DVD: "Kronk's New Groove"

Kronk's New Groove
Directed by Saul Andrew Blinkoff & Elliot M. Bour
Story by Michael LaBash, Anthony Leondis & Tom Rogers
Screenplay by Tom Rogers
Starring the Voice Talent of: David Spade, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Tracey Ullman
DVD Release Date: 13 December 2005
MPAA Rating: G
List Price: $19.99

The Film
Kronk (Warburton) has settled into a pleasant life for himself, until he is informed that his critical father is coming to visit.  All Kronk has ever wanted in life is a thumbs-up from Papi--which he has been denied his whole life.  In sitcom fashion, Kronk tries everything to build an impressive resume to present his father and it naturally all blows up in his face.  Being a Disney direct-to-video sequel, the blowing up is literal, as well as figurative.

The DVD
There is a brief segment about how movies are made, featuring the two directors shamelessly playing goofball versions of themselves for the benefit of their anticipated younger audience.  It is somewhat surprising that they would assert that directors are the first ingredient in a movie recipe--before even having a story or a script!  Still, younger audiences might get their first glimpse of what goes into making movies from this feature, and it covers the basics.  Bonus: you get to see the late Eartha Kitt in the recording booth, vamping it up.  Otherwise, there are two games you can play on your DVD player; one is a trivia game based on the movie and the other has you operating Kronk's brain as he prepares for his father's visit.  I won the trivia game lickety-split, but found the brain game too confusing.  Children, of course, should fare better.

The Recommendation
I've still never seen The Emperor's New Groove, though I have seen several episodes of the television series The Emperor's New School.  This animated feature, to be honest, feels like an expanded episode of that series.  For fans of the franchise, this won't necessarily be a bad thing; for an audience expecting something that feels more like an actual film, Kronk's New Groove is weak.  Some of the laughs are cheap and tired; some are genuinely funny, partly because of Warburton's deadpan delivery.  There are better ways of spending 75 minutes, but there are also worse.

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