Jab’s Builds! (Lobo! Barda! Female Furies! Orion! Darkseid!)

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Emperor’s New Groove

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:12 am


Written by:
David Reynolds, Chris Reynolds & Mark Dindal

This one had a fabulously-awful production process, with a Prince and the Pauper-themed story being written by one guy, and a comedy film being written by another. When the first, also the director of The Lion King, quit over being forced to shorten his timeline, things looked to be a disaster. Instead, they completely re-did the entire film, dropping the "lookalike peasant" plot thread and a subplot about the sun being stolen (initial movie names: The Kingdom of the/in the Sun). They even dumped a bunch of songs written by Sting, who wanted to pull a Phil Collins and gain some sales/cred from the association with a Disney product (Sting was reportetdly VERY bitter about this).

The Kingdom of the Sun was supposed to be an epic in the tradition of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, with Yzma being obsessed with gaining her youth, summoning an evil God to steal the Sun. Kuzco would switch places with a peasant lookalike for fun, but be transformed into a llama, eventually falling in love with a peasant girl after he learns humility. Ymza was more threatening and less neurotic, there was no Kronk, there was a talking Incan Idol sidekick, and a friendly peasant would be played by Owen Wilson (whose recording was completed). Disney would fear that this would be an unprofitable movie, owing to their recent batch of box office disappointments- the whole thing would be scrapped save for a few elements. There's a lot of "What Could Have Been?" about this movie, but the original seemed geared up to be a generic Cookie-Cutter Disney Film, complete with environmentalist subplot, wacky sidekicks, and love-based subplot.

In the end, we got a Buddy Movie with a ton of Aladdin-esque Modern Pop Culture gags and genre-savvy stuff. This was the PERFECT time for such a thing, as many of its cartoon contemporaries were becoming more self-referential all the time (Kim Possible came out not so long after), but not to the point where ALL cartoons were like that (like, say, today, where nearly every cartoon is a self-referential pop culture gag-fest written by 40-something nerds). Yzma would be turned into a comedic character, with an incompetent sidekick, and Kuzco's statue sidekick was replaced. They even dumped Owen Wilson's completed dialogue and re-cast John Goodman into his role! The movie's name evokes How Stella Got Her Groove Back- it's a little odd that a DISNEY FILM took a name from a movie that was ten years old and known pretty much only for an older chick boinking a younger guy.

The whole thing is about arrogant, lazy, self-absorbed idiot Emperor Kuzco, who's been transformed into a llama by an Evil Sorceress (one of Disney's hammier villains- a Madame Medusa/Cruella de Vil-like figure that represents the "Hag" archetype). In this sense, the movie is highly original for the Disney canon- none of their heroes had ever been DOUCHEBAGS before. So the "Character Arc" of Kuzco's is rather large, which makes for a solid narrative. But honestly, Yzma's henchman Kronk kind of runs away with this movie, and is probably the most popular character.

Watching it again... this HAS to be the first time a pregnant woman has shown up in a Disney Animated Feature- Wendy Malick's trademark "sly older woman" voice is fantastic, and she does the most with her very few scenes. In a clever bit, the movie pulls the "they do one nice thing and make amends" thing... but then Kuzco IMMEDIATELY goes back to being a douchebag! He repeatedly threatens to ruin Pacha's village just out of spite, and only Pacha's REPEATED insistence that Kuzco has some good inside of him keeps them together. The movie is so straight-up 100% comedy that it's impossible to take anything seriously, so the narrative of Kuzco changing is a LITTLE flat, but there's some solid jokes in here.

Reception & Cultural Impact:
-The movie ended up being pretty popular, and it's considered one of the funnier Disney movies- until last week, I hadn’t seen it in an eternity and found it rather "blah", but I couldn't tell you a thing about it. It didn't do overly well in theatres (this was the end of the Renaissance and after a HUGE series of disappointing films by this point), but didn't bomb or anything. There's apparently a REALLY good documentary out there that essentially explains why Disney willingly gave its "Feature Animation" crown to Pixar & DreamWorks in the late '90s- executive incompetence, cluelessness about what the public wanted, and lack of trust in its artists to produce a real vision (a strong case of "What Could Have Been"). Despite being this giant albatross around the neck of the company for a time... it's not a hated film. In actuality, it's REALLY popular online, with multiple characters and images from the film becoming huge memes. Yzma's "WRONG LEVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" gets quoted ALL THE TIME, and Pacha's face has become an ongoing reaction every time someone posts something that's sexy or really good- kind of a high-class "MMMMMM..." face, drawing his pinched fingers forwards from a clenched-shut mouth. Kronk himself is also really popular.

It did okay but not too great (Chicken Little made MUCH more), but still managed to get its own TV series for some reason, which I never found amusing in the slightest. Just not my kinda thing. Kronk's New Groove was a sequel film on DVD, but the movies haven't had much of a cultural impact on the Disney Parks or anything. Bizarrely, both of these sequels were released FIVE YEARS after the movie first came out, which is a very oddly-long delay.

It's not really an old shame, but isn't really heavily pushed, either.
Last edited by Jabroniville on Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:43 am


"Boy, it's a good thing you're not a BIG FAT GUY, or this would be REALLY hard!"
-Kuzco, while trying to lift Pacha up a cliff.

Played by:
David Spade
Role: Dumb King
PL 2 (19)

Athletics 1 (+4)
Deception 2 (+1)
Perception 1 (+0)

Benefit 4 (Emperor)

"Animal Senses" Senses 2 (Acute Scent, Low-Light Vision) [2]
"Animal Physiology" Speed 1 [1]

"Desert Animals" Immunity 2 (Thirst, Heat) (Flaws: Limited to Half Effect) [1]

"Camelid Spit" Dazzle Visuals 1 [2]

Unarmed +1 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
Spit +3 (+1 Ranged Affliction, DC 11)
Initiative +0

Dodge +1 (DC 11), Parry +2 (DC 12), Toughness +2, Fortitude +3, Will +1

Obsession (Kuzco)- It's all about Kuzco.
Disabled (Animal)- As a llama, Kuzco cannot use his hooves to easily manipulate objects. Also, he has trouble using his Benefit (Emperor) Advantage, since people know their Emperor is not actually a llama.
Enemy (Yzma)- After firing the sorceress Yzma, Kuzco finds his life in danger.
Responsibility (Dick)- Kuzco is casually-dismissive of everybody, and a bit of a moron. This causes him some trouble, especially when he needs allies.
Phobia (Frogs)- An incident as a child traumatized Kuzco.

Total: Abilities: 2 / Skills: 4--2 / Advantages: 4 / Powers: 6 / Defenses: 5 (19)

-Kuzco is portrayed by David Spade, and thus you can figure out pretty much every aspect of his character right away, since Spade has Michael Cera-levels of range as an actor. He does, of course, play a self-important douchebag VERY WELL. He's basically a big dumb jerk right at the beginning, being casually-dismissive of others and unwilling to compromise- he fires his employee Yzma, and offends Pacha, the movie's other hero, necessitating a Buddy Movie as they learn to appreciate each other.

-As a general idiot, Kuzco has some less-than-impressive stats, and gains more from being a Llama than he ever would as a human being (though Llamas can be quite strong, Kuzco's Llama form is about as big as a scrawny teenager so he's not overly tough).

About the Performer: David Spade is infamous for his role as a "Snarky Little Dweeb" character, doing a "Hollywood Minute" big on Saturday Night Live that drew a lot of laughs for its utterly cruel takedowns of various celebrities ("Ally McBeal? Time for an Ally McMeal!")- one of which drew an angry phone call from Eddie Murphy ("Look children- it's a falling star! Make a wish!" during Eddie's recent failures at the box office- Murphy was furious that a show he literally saved- SNL- would rake him through the mud like that). He segued this into a... very minor acting career, as he was mostly "Chris Farley's Buddy" in a series of broad comedies in the mid '90s. His biggest role is probably as Dennis Finch on Just Shoot Me!- the sleazy assistant to the boss of a fashion magazine. Here, he was at his snarky, sassy best, usually getting his in the end (though he got to marry someone played by Rebecca Romijn Stamos of all people). The show initially centered around Laura San Giacomo's stubborn, pushy feminist character, but Spade's role got bigger and bigger until he was the biggest star- possibly because Laura's character was so stuffy (and the show seemed to go out of its way to HIDE how hot she was, in the era of Friends- not a great move).

-His solo career otherwise wasn't much- Just Shoot Me! earned him three Emmy nominations, but his stuff like Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star went nowhere. Low-brow comedy work was pretty much all he got after this point, though be pals with Adam Sandler ensured he'd always find work. And hey- looking like THAT, he's dated Heather Locklear & Julie Bowen. Not a bad gig.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Shan Yu! Tarzan! Jane! Queen La! Dinosaur! Atlantis!)

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:09 am

Woodclaw wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:37 am
Mole, Vinny and Helga are another of the reasons why a lot of people compared Atlantis to Nadia. The "main sidekicks" to Nadia and Jean were a team of thieves fromed by Grandis (a noblewoman fallen into hard times due to a terrible marriage), Sanson (her family chaffeaur and resident strongman) and Hanson (a fatso mechanic with a knack for creating absolutely over the top vehicles). In and of itself this trio of bumbling thieves with a heart of goldwere already a double homage: Sanson and Hanson dressed like a palette swap of the Blues Brothers and the entire team dynamics were very close to the various "villain trios" of the Time Bokan series, with the boss-lady, the snarky strongman and the quirky mechanic.
Wowwwwwwwww- looking at Time Bokan, I'm seeing that so many anime "Villainous Trios" are based off of those bad guys- both the Pilaf Gang (Dragon Ball Z) and Team Rocket (Pokemon) are inspired by them!

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:19 am

Alright- I edited Audrey's stats a bit, and included a proper "About the Performer" to Vinny (whom I'd listed as being voiced by Corey Burton, apparently by accident from my 2013 set). Thanks to Catsi, who I think might be the only poster who manages to actually check and critique the statlines of people :). Back in the day, that used to be SUPER-common, and produce a lot of debating in threads- I kind of miss it :).

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Hades! Circe! Mulan! Shang! Shan Yu! Tarzan! Jane!)

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:05 am

Ares wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:13 am
Internet reviewer sfDebris did a very solid look into Atlantis (both the lore and the film). I'd recommend checking it out.
Yeah, that was really interesting- I watched it at my parents' place during Canadian Thanksgiving, and it really kept interesting the whole way. Though I got the sense he's not quite the editor the Nostalgia Critic & Lindsey Ellis are- he kind of skipped around a lot, and missed plot points and didn't do a full, proper review.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by M4C8 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:33 pm

The Emperor's New Groove is not a brilliant movie, but it's not in any way bad either. I think I've only sat and watched it in full twice but when it's being shown I often have it on as background while I'm on the internet. Also it's one of the few animated movies where I instantly recognised the voices of most of the main characters though I don't find myself picturing those actors throughout the movie, I don't know if that's a mark of quality or not.

Looking at the Disney 'future releases' there seems to be lot's of live action remakes and movies based on previous franchises being planned, 'Gargoyles' being one of them.

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Post by Jabroniville » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:09 pm


Played by:
John Goodman
Role: The Nice Guy
PL 3 (33)

Athletics 1 (+3)
Expertise (Llama Herder) 4 (+5)
Expertise (Village Leader) 4 (+5)
Perception 1 (+3)

Benefit (Village Leader), Ranged Attack 2

Unarmed +2 (+2 Damage, DC 17)
Initiative +0

Dodge +1 (DC 11), Parry +2 (DC 12), Toughness +3, Fortitude +3, Will +3

Responsibility (Village Leader)- Pacha is in charge of his village, and so it's his job to convince the Emperor not to build Kuztopia over top of it.
Relationship (Family)- Pacha has a wife and three children.

Total: Abilities: 24 / Skills: 10--5 / Advantages: 3 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 1 (33)

-Pacha is a stoic, somewhat "Regular Guy" kind of character, played by the master of such roles- John Goodman. And so he was a good Buddy to Kuzco, teaching him the meaning of friendship and stuff. Oddly, Goodman actually reappeared in the TV series during it's second season, apparently not being "too good" for movies the way most celebrities are for this kind of thing.

About the Performer: When you need a good "Everyman" actor, you call John Goodman. Despite being very good at playing scary brawlers, his jovial appearance is reflected in his voice, and so he's a classic "Straight Man" to idiots like Kuzco, or snarky bitches like Roseanne Arnold. Goodman was popular in his prime, but the years have just made it more and more obvious what a treasure he is as an actor- Dan Conner is a big, silly, chubby guy with a babyface and an "aw shucks" kind of personality, but with the slightest change in body language he can look GODDAMN TERRIFYING. Just watch him in this scene from Roseanne, where simply grabbing a jacket off of a clothes hook is one of the most bad-ass moments in TV history- you know that Fisher is FUCKED.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by HalloweenJack » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:22 pm

I'll tell you what I told you on FB, Jab: ENG was a movie a group of friends and I rented our last week of freshman year in college and we just LOVED.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by Spectrum » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:50 pm

It's been a long while since I've seen this movie. I was thinking that Warburton played Pacha but was Kronk instead. How often do you guys two 'large dude' VAs in a Disney movie as major heroes?
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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by KorokoMystia » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:10 pm

Huh, speaking of John Goodman, I just noticed the lack of Monsters, Inc. builds in the original ATT set. I was wondering if Sulley might have a pretty decent PL for a Disney character, given how he's a big, burly monster, though he's mostly a scarer, not a fighter, and has trouble against Randall's concealment/camoflague at first. (if memory serves - it's been years since I saw the movie)

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by Woodclaw » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:16 pm

I think that the best way to define The Emperor's New Groove is that it's unique in its kind. It might not be a great movie and it got a lot of undeserved hype due to coming after stuff like Pocahontas and The Hunchback, which were so maligned that anything different looked like a stroke of genius.
While I really enjoyed the humor of the movie, I can't help but notice that it has almost nothing of the classics "Disney fingerprints". Cuzco is pretty much the protagonist, antagonist and comic relief all rolled into one and yet it manages to came out as the least interesting of the bunch (Yzma and Kronk had much better repartee and Pacha simply worked as the only sane character). At the same time the entire storyline is about Cuzco and, at the end, you really cheer for him because you can see that the character has changed for the better.
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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by catsi563 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:17 am

Ever get around to Bed Knobs and Broomstick this scene is one reason its so great
Dr. Silverback has wryly observed that this is like trying to teach lolcats about Shakespeare

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Post by Jabroniville » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:44 am


Played by:
Patrick Warburton
Role: Henchman, Villain With An "F" in Evil
PL 6 (63)

Athletics 3 (+7)
Expertise (Cooking) 9 (+8)
Expertise (Survival) 5 (+4)
Persuasion 1 (+4)

Equipment (Cooking Utensils), Fast Grab

"Cartoonish Speed" Speed 3 (16 mph) [3]
"Speak Squirelese" Comprehend 2 (Animals) (Flaws: Limited to Squirrels) [1]

Unarmed +7 (+4 Damage, DC 19)
Initiative +0

Dodge +6 (DC 16), Parry +7 (DC 17), Toughness +4, Fortitude +5, Will +3

Responsibility (Yzma's Helper)- Kronk is Yzma's personal errand boy and minion, though he often rankles under her leadership.
Responsibility (Conscience)- Angel & Devil Kronk's sit astride his shoulders and weigh on in his decisions. Problem is, both are crazy.

Total: Abilities: 38 / Skills: 18--9 / Advantages: 2 / Powers: 4 / Defenses: 10 (63)

-Kronk & Yzma are pretty universally the most-loved part of this movie, with Patrick Warburton in particular stealing the show with his "stupid guy deadpan" act. He plays Kronk up as your standard stupid henchman who's actually a good guy (sorta like Cindarr in the '80s cartoon Visionairies), and gets plenty of "Big Stupid Guy" jokes as a result. In the end, he turns on Yzma and helps save the day. He proved popular enough that he got the animated SEQUEL named after him (Kronk's New Groove), so he's a bit of a break-out character. This film actually had a lot of recurring stuff for what was only a minor hit.

About the Performer: ah, Patrick Warburton- every animator's wet dream for a voice actor. Seriously, the guy has been EVERYWHERE in animation, with his trademark baritone supplying great deadpan roles both for idiots (Kronk), bad-asses (Brock Samson in The Venture Brothers, and a tough guy in Archer) and stern authority figures (Coach Barkin on Kim Possible). Pretty good for a guy I first saw in the Generic-as-Hell Sitcom Dave's World. Warburton is known to many/most for his role as Puddy, Elaine's dumb off-and-on boyfriend in Seinfeld. He was also the live-action Tick, is the pilot in the Disney Soarin' attractions, and a voice in advertising- his great height, simple-minded appearance and delivery that can move effortlessly between deadpan and outrage, he is one of the most recognizable Voice Actors around.
Last edited by Jabroniville on Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Milo! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove!)

Post by Jabroniville » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:48 am

catsi563 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:17 am
Ever get around to Bed Knobs and Broomstick this scene is one reason its so great
Unless it’s on TV, I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to watch it.

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Re: Jab's Builds! (Atlantis! Kida! Emperor’s New Groove! Kuzco! Kronk!)

Post by Shock » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:25 am

It doesn't get better than Patrick Warburton. I'm just never disappointed to see/hear him

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