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Cranky About Kronk

Last month I listed all the recent Disney movies featuring Indians. If you include Brother Bear II, which I haven't seen yet, and the upcoming Apocalypto, there are almost a dozen. There are even more if you count Lilo & Stitch and its sequel as indigenous (Native Hawaiian) movies. Not bad for a company whose previous record on minorities is spotty at best.

The only movie I hadn't commented on was Kronk's New Groove, the direct-to-video sequel to The Emperor's New Groove. Now I've seen it and here are my thoughts:

The movie has the same format as Atlantis:  Milo's Return: a "plot" consisting of three unelated segments. Milo's Return supposedly was a tryout for a half-hour cartoon show and Kronk's New Groove may have been one also.

The three segments are sitcom-standard: Yzma sells a "fountain of youth" potion that doesn't work. Kronk and a woman lead competing groups of kid "Scouts." Kronk pretends to be married to please his demanding father.

None of these stories are terrible, but none of them are great either. You've seen them all before. For kids they may be entertaining, but for adults they don't have much to offer.

The backdrop of the stories—buildings, clothing, etc.—is still Incan, but it's more muted than before. These bits could be set in almost any time or place. More than in The Emperor's New Groove, they're irrelevant to the movie.

Unlike the previous movie, there are several blatant anachronisms that take you out of the Incan setting:

But it gets worse. It's a tossup which of the following is stupidest:

Hello? These things didn't exist during the heyday of the Incan empire. If you're going to violate the premise this much, why not have Kronk fly to New York City, ride the subway, and listen to an iPod? It's silly to set a story in a Native culture if you're going to ignore that culture in favor of a Western pastiche.

I give Kronk's New Groove about a 6.0 of 10 for the residual style and charm of Disney's animation. It's definitely for completists like me only.

Related links
Review of The Emperor's New School
Indiana Jones and the stereotypes of doom
The best Indian movies

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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