We are back with another Disney+ battle. This week we will be comparing two popular films from Disney’s Post-Renaissance Era of Animation. It’s sometimes called the Experimental Age, because of Disney moved away from the tried and true formula of the Renaissance and “experimented” more in their films. It’s also been called the Dark Age, or the Second Dark Age for those who dubbed the Bronze Age as the First Dark Age, due to the films being outperformed by the films released by Pixar during this time period. But, today, we are comparing two that seem to be remembered very fondly. So, let’s see which film is “better:” “The Emperor’s New Groove” or “Bolt?”


The main character of “The Emperor’s New Groove” is the emperor, Kuzco. He’s a vain leader who ends up turned into a llama. In his quest to be turned back into a human, he learns the errors of his ways and vows to become a better emperor. The main character of “Bolt” is Bolt, a dog who is the star of an action TV series, but doesn’t know it. He really thinks he’s a superdog trying to save his beloved Penny. Along the way, he learns it’s okay to just be a normal dog. Both are quality leads, but I think Kuzco is a little better. Point to “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove 1 | Bolt 0


The villain of “The Emperor’s New Groove” is Yzma, an advisor to Kuzco who constantly gives him bad advice because she wants the throne. She eventually tries to kill Kuzco, but accidentally turns him into a llama. She is able to temporarily take the throne until llama Kuzco returns to stop her. The closest thing to a villain in “Bolt” are the TV executives who keep Bolt in the dark that he’s on TV show and Penny’s agent who wants to exploit the real danger she and Bolt are eventually put in for publicity purposes. Neither is really villainous, per se, they are just greedy. It’s a character flaw, but greedy people aren’t really evil. Point to “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove 2 | Bolt 0


These two films have two of the best supporting characters in Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove” and Rhino in “Bolt.” Both of them steal the show. But, most of the other supporting characters in both films are just okay. I think Pacha and Mittens are the second best supporting characters in the film, but I think Pacha is better than Mittens. Point to “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove 3 | Bolt 0


Both of these films have really good scores that drive the plots. There’s some great fast paced music that ramps up the tension in “Bolt.” Meanwhile, “The Emperor’s New Groove” also has some great music in the score that helps you understand where Kuzco is as he’s left his throne and is a lost llama. If it was just the scores, this would be a tie. But what gives “The Emperor’s New Groove” the edge is the songs from Sting, Eartha Kitt and Tom Jones. Point to “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove 4 | Bolt 0


Now, it’s time for the most subjective of all these categories. To me, the memorable parts of “The Emperor’s New Groove” are the “Kuzco” song, Kuzco being turned into a Llama, “wrong lever” and Kronk with the devil and angel on his shoulder. Meanwhile, the memorable parts of “Bolt” are the opening TV scene, Rhino, and the birds. “The Emperor’s New Groove” is more memorable. Point to “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

The Emperor’s New Groove 5 | Bolt 0

So, “The Emperor’s New Groove” wins this one in a clean sweep. It’s really a fun film that I suggest you check out if you haven’t already. “Bolt” is also a lot of fun and worth checking out as well. But, I want to know, which film do you prefer?

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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