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by Kirby C. Holt (archives)
May 9, 2001
Kirby reviews the new Ultimate Groove Pack 2-Disc DVD for Emperor's New Groove

Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

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(c) Disney

The Emperor's New Groove
Llama-Rama, Part 2 of 2

Disney's 39th animated feature is now available on video and on Disney DVD in two versions: the standard one disc DVD (reviewed in Part one last week, click here to read it) and a deluxe two disc collector's edition set titled 'The Ultimate Groove', reviewed below.

What's the Difference?
Disc 1 of The Ultimate Groove set is the same as the standard DVD release, without the Behind the Scenes featurettes, Deleted Scene and the Sting Music Video, which are included on Disc 2 of the set. Disc 1 features the full-length film, with optional audio commentary from the filmmakers, the Rascal Flats Music Video and the set-top game, "The Emperor's Got Game."

Also included on Disc 1, as well as the standard DVD, are special DVD-ROM features, including a demo of "The Emperor's Groove Center" (QuickTime required) and exclusive on-line content only accessible through the DVD.

Disc 2 features an exhaustive collection of supplemental material that will be a treat for animation fans in general and The Emperor's New Groove fans in particular. The extras can be navigated in one of two ways: you can choose to view one of two "Get Into the Groove" features (The Studio Groove or The Animation Groove), or explore each section on your own.

My recommendation is to watch the two "Groove" sections first. That way you will get a good overview of the animation process as told through the making of The Emperor's New Groove by producer Randy Fullmer and director Mark Dindal. Then you are free to roam about and check out the incidental features and galleries at your leisure. Plus, the two "Groove" sections are set up as a continuous narrative that is best viewed from beginning to end. Sections of the two "Grooves" do reappear in the individual sections, so they can be skipped at that time to go on to the new stuff.

Get Into the Groove

The Studio Groove
In the spirit of the film it depicts, this "making of" feature is fast-paced and not without it's own degree of laughs, mostly supplied by the clips from the movie interspersed throughout as if reacting to the commentary by Fullmer and Dindal.

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Randy Fullmer (left) and Mark Dindal (right)
(c) Disney

One can also see a parallel between the two filmmakers and their two main characters. Dindal is the wild and crazy one, teasing and joking with Fullmer, who is relegated to the 'straight man' role in their little comic bits. This is typical Disney 'behind-the-scenes' goofiness, aimed more at younger children who probably wouldn't sit through this type of thing anyway. Thankfully, this silliness is brief, and mostly palatable to those who are watching this who actually want to learn how an animated film is created in this day and age.

Which it accomplishes very well. By using the making of The Emperor's New Groove, Disney is able to depict the complete gestation of a contemporary animated film, from the first idea of the story down to the completed feature. If you have ever seen any of the earlier documentaries on the Disney animation process (such as in the film The Reluctant Dragon or on old episodes of Disneyland/The Wonderful World of Disney ), you have seen how they did it back in Walt's time. While there has been more updated attempts of explaining the newer, more technologically advanced Disney 'way' (The Magic of Disney Animation tours at the Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's California Adventure theme parks, those inane Movie Surfer specials on The Disney Channel), this disc offers a very complete and comprehensive video tour of how Walt Disney Feature Animation makes films today.

Fullmer and Dindal take you through development, story meetings, the creation of layouts and backgrounds, the entire animation process, the adding of sound and music and generally how they make it all work. Again, these all have their own sections so that you can delve even deeper into how each step is performed.

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