Delgo

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Delgo

Review (-/10)
(By Brian Orndorf)

The background information for “Delgo” lists a production schedule of an astounding five years. After watching this offering of CG-animated fantasy fluff, I’m curious as to why it took so long to assemble what comes off as a routine family film experience; a film of almost dogged mediocrity.

The land of Jhamora has been divided into two communities, with the winged Nohrin living in hostility with the mystical Lockni. When the villainess Sedessa (voiced by Anne Bancroft, who passed away in 2005) attempts to maneuver her way into power with help from a corrupt warmonger (Malcolm McDowell), it sends the land into chaos.

Delgo (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a young, hotheaded Lockni who demands war with his sworn enemy, until he meets Princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a dewy Nohrin who finds attraction to Delgo, despite their backgrounds. When Sedessa executes a plan to kidnap Kyla, it forces Delgo and simpleton pal Filo (Chris Kattan) into action, teaming up with a disgraced Nohrin general (Val Kilmer) for help.

Delgo” is a film of pinches. It contains a pinch of “Lord of the Rings,” a pinch of “The Dark Crystal,” and a pinch of “Star Wars.” At least “Delgo” is cribbing from the best in fantasy/sci-fi entertainment, but it adds up to very little in the end. Directors Mark F. Adler and Jason Maurer are approaching a CG creation from a different, non-Hollywood perspective (their Fathom Studios is based out of Atlanta), but the finished film speaks more to storytelling apathy than true indie invention.

Laboring to whip up a complex world of monsters and magic to greet the Tolkien trained, “Delgo” doesn’t contain nearly enough mythmaking imagination to complement its ambition. The world of the Lockni and Nohrin is actually quite crisply animated and pleasingly detailed (the characters resemble the Newcomers from “Alien Nation”), yet the storyline is a convoluted mush of the familiar, using sweeping arcs of treachery and mysticism to form a plot that should bore adults and perhaps confused children not paying the fullest of attention. The directors try to compensate with plenty of battle footage as the two sides square off for control of Jhamora, ushering in some mindless violence to keep audiences awake.

Then there’s the issue of the voice casting. The years haven’t been kind to “Delgo,” which brings together an ensemble that doesn’t inspire the greatest confidence in the drama. Most of the actors are presentable, and Bancroft makes for a silky villain, but Kattan? Lordy, now there’s a special kind of pain observing the comedian fight to be hilarious here, backed by obnoxiously overemphasized animation that turns Filo’s scenes of mischief into a torture chamber. In fact, much of “Delgo” is grueling to watch, calling into question all those years of painstaking production.

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