September 30, 2011

Just as The Little Mermaid jumpstarted the Disney Renaissance—a period when the studio released one hit 2D animated movie after another—The Emperor's New Groove ended it. The films couldn't be more polar opposites, one an earnest retelling of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the other a goofy original about an Incan emperor. Both had female villains, The Little Mermaid's Ursula being the only one in the Disney Renaissance. They were bookends to one of Disney's most brilliant eras.

Yzma, the latter villain, exhibited the same megalomaniacal bent as Ursula. Yzma is less Ursula than Cruella de Vil in aesthetics: barely more than a purplish skeleton with a penchant for poisons and potions.

Yzma was based in part on the physical mannerisms of her voice talent, legendary "Santa Baby" chanteuse Eartha Kitt. Disney leveraged Kitt's prowess by having her sing "Perfect World (Yzma's Reprise)" in a key sequence but it ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. 

Kitt also sang "Snuff Out The Light" for the original version of Yzma, the no-nonsense villain of Kingdom of the Sun, the prototype of The Emperor's New Groove. You can download it here:

If you're curious about what happened to Yzma after the events of The Emperor's New Groove, check out Kronk's New Groove.

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