the idea of a disney movie in which the principal voice is the supercilious whine of David Spade is a little bit frightening. OK, John Goodman's in it, and it's set in some Inca pre-Columbian world, which is certainly different. But still, David Spade.... I can't be the only person who wasn't surprised to hear three weeks ago that Spade had been attacked with a stun gun by his personal assistant. Fortunately, Spade is ideally cast as Kuzco, a spoiled, self-absorbed princeling whose life gets short-circuited when his adviser, a deliciously evil Eartha Kitt, decides to kill him so she and her brawny-though-not-bright boy toy Kronk (Patrick Warburton, from Seinfeld) can rule the kingdom.
They mess up; all her potions come in the same phials and are the same colour, a pretty serious design flaw. Instead of killing him, they turn him into a llama. Kronk, with his shoulder angel and devil who, unfortunately, are both exactly as bright as he is, can't bring himself to kill the llama.
Warburton grabs the film's acting honours, brilliantly conveying the character's mixture of decency and dedication to evil.
Kuzco, in llama form, finds himself out in the wilds of the Andes with Pacha (Goodman), a good-hearted peasant who's just petitioned Kuzco not to build his summer home on the hilltop of Pacha's village.
The rest of the film is their extended adventure back to the palace so Kuzco can turn himself back into a human, reclaim his throne and, Pacha hopes, reconsider the location of his summer home.
This is a very entertaining film. The numerous kids at the Saturday sneak seemed to give it a collective thumbs up, and there's enough wit in the adventure and comic sequences for adults to enjoy. We might note, though, that people expecting a Disney animated musical, which the title certainly suggests, will be disappointed.
The single musical number near the beginning is sung by Tom Jones, so perhaps the filmmakers think the mystical land of the Incas, like many of us, never quite recovered from the 60s.