The Emperor’s New Groove has always been a family favorite in my house. The blend of comedy with a feel good message distinguished it from many other children’s movies that my sister and I chose to watch. As a child it was mostly the comedy that stuck with me but as I watch the movie as an adult a deeper message came out that was hard to forget. It seems as though the movie was using Emperor Kuzco to represent the wealthy people in society and showing their lack of interest in anyone but themselves. Kuzco wants to build himself a new house and wants to knock the hard working people that live on the property out of their house with no warning or reason. It seems as though they portray the wealthy people as vast and without concern for those that they affect. This is the rather negative message that sticks with the audience. The positive message is that people can change and that’s a great message to teach people.The movie does a great job using ethos, pathos and logos to appeal to both children and parents about the dangers of wealth.
Pathos is one of the most important parts of a movie when it comes to sending a positive message to an audience. One of the positive messages of The Emperor’s New Groove is the change in heart that Kuzco has. Once he gets to know the family that he is going to be uprooting he realizes the error of his ways. This positive message that people are capable of change is a great one for kids of all ages to learn. The comedy in the movie is a distinct acting style that allows messages to be received in a lighthearted manner making the movie more bearable to watch. According to Giannetti, “the ability to blend comedy with pathos is unique,” (Giannetti 270). The movie tears at your heart strings when Kuzco realizes that he has been inconsiderate of those around him and how “normal” people are the same as the wealthy. This positive message is a great way to show children that people can change through the use of emotion. It is a unique movie because of its ability to both entertain us as well as send us an emotional message through the use of comedy. While this is a great positive message, the writers chose to send a rather negative one as well.
The characters in The Emperor’s New Groove really help send the message that wealthy people do not have a grip on what it is like to be in the normal parts of society. Kuzco, the main character, is shown as a careless human being and the family that he uproots is portrayed as a hardworking family that contributes more to society than Kuzco. While the family definitely does not deserve to be uprooted from their home by a man who is simply extremely wealthy, the movie makes it seem like the wealthy have the power to do this all of the time. This message makes it seem like wealthy people are dangerous to the rest of us. According to Andrea Lunsford, “We all have connections and interests that represent the ties that bind us to other human beings,” (Lunsford 53). Ethos is about us connecting to the characters in the movie. Kuzco is a character that one cannot easily connect with and therefore makes him seem like a distant person that is unreachable. Of course the children audience will alienate him and make him seem like the villain. Since he represents the wealth in the culture wealth will automatically be tied to the negative associations with the villain. Children absorb these things and are open to the ideas that wealthy people leave none for the rest of us. This negativity does not focus on the good that the wealthy does which leaves children with an extremely one-sided view point.
Logos helps send a message to an audience very effectively. The logical message in The Emperor’s New Groove was that the wealthy seemed to take advantage of the poor and that it isn’t fair. This message was very distinct in the beginning of the movie when Kuzco sends people to tell the family that they need to evacuate their home in order for Kuzco to build his new resort there. This message that life is not fair is an extremely popular message in children’s movies but the way it was portrayed in this movie made it seem as though wealthy people have no concern for those around them. While sometimes that is the case it doesn’t seem quite right to put all wealthy people in the same category. Lunsford says “most of us still say we respect appeals to logos,” (Lunsford 56). This movie is no different. The overt message in the movie sticks with not only the adults watching the movie but the children as well. It isn’t necessarily a true message seeing as many wealthy people give so much back to our communities but it is a clear message that the movie maker’s are trying to send. I think that children get the message that rich people are not good for society when in reality the wealthy contribute to most of our taxes and to a lot of the charitable events in today’s society. This is a distinct message but I don’t believe it is a good one.
The Emperor’s New Groove remains one of my favorite children’s movies to watch to this day. It is a great comedy that is lighthearted and fun to watch. The writers use the movie to send multiple messages such as that wealthy people are inconsiderate as well as that people can change. While one of these messages leaves the viewers with a positive feeling, the other leaves them with resentment towards wealthy people. In order to make their message stick the writers used ethos, pathos and logos to really reach the audience and did a great job. I give this movie two tickets.