You might be looking at that poster and wonder if you might have missed a Disney movie. Don’t worry, you haven’t. This was the original title of the Emperor’s New Groove. It is a documentary that was only shown once publicly after which Disney decided to put it in the vault. Somehow a work copy has found its way on the internet (at the time of writing is still available on Vimeo) and I couldn’t pass the chance to watch something Disney doesn’t want people to see.
If you read the title you probably have crazy ideas about Disney using people who color their movies working in poor conditions, but it’s not about that at all. The Sweatbox is the name of the original studio that was used by Walt Disney where he’d watch movies and it would get extremely hot there. Does it get hot in this documentary as well? Well, not really although it does show that making a movie can be a very tough process. This documentary looks into the creation of The Emperor’s New Groove and was made by Trudie Styler, who was allowed all access when her husband, Sting, was asked to make music for the film. It means we do see a lot of him in the studio writing and recording, but several of the animators are interviewed too. They tell about the characters they’ve drawn with passion and you can see how tough it is on them when parts they have worked on for months get cut.
It’s always tempting to watch something you are not supposed to and I quite enjoyed this look into the Disney kitchen. I do wonder though why Disney decided not to release this as it doesn’t really have any big shocks. The movie might have changed a lot since the original idea, but if you follow the creation of movies there are enough examples of changes being made. Creating something sometimes means you have to destroy something to get a better result. The Emperor’s New Groove was a movie I liked a lot (loved the humor and lack of any “princess” stuff) and seeing how that movie came into existence was fascinating.