Movie News & Reviews

May as well skip all of 'Delgo' and go read a book

You might say that the plot for "Delgo" is hard to follow because the animated adventure is so fast-paced. You might say the plot is hard to follow because there is no plot.

Or, if you were a 10-year-old like the one in our reviewing entourage who was forced to watch the entire thing the way one might be forced to eat Brussels sprouts, you might say, "It skips parts."

Like the parts that might help this mess make sense.

"Delgo" is one of those movies that throw a lot at you in the hopes that something, anything, will stick. What does stick is much like the stuff you can't get off the bottom of your shoe.

As far as we could tell, "Delgo" is about two warring factions (or is it three?) who had a peace agreement that one or two of the two or three sides broke. The sides, by the way, are the Lockni (though they might be called Jhamorans) who have an uneasy peace with the Nohrins. Or at least with some of the Nohrins, the ones who haven't had their dragonfly wings clipped.

Some of the characters -- it's hard to tell what side they're on -- have a Planet of the Apes thing going on. Some are dog-faced. Two or three wear Viking helmets. There's a mean giant crab.

Anyway, a Lockni/Jhamoran named Delgo and the dragonfly-winged princess Kyla fall into a forbidden love. More of a forbidden "like," actually, because as with the rest of the movie there's zero spark here.

This leads to a quest to free ... someone. Who I'm not sure because, as the 10-year-old noted, "it skips parts."

It also borrows parts -- lots of parts -- from other movies. There's a "Star Wars" riff when Delgo and his sidekick Filo ride a couple of bounding dino critters a la Sandtroopers patrolling on dewbacks. There's some Superman imagery with Delgo's parents standing over his bassinet. There's some "Jurassic Park," some "Toy Story," some "Ben Hur."

And the herky-jerky animation is reminiscent of those quasi-religious cartoons that ran Sunday mornings in the 1960s between "Gumby" and "Davey and Goliath."

Equally confusing is the stellar -- at least I thought they were -- cast that gives voice to Delgado: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lou Gossett Jr., Malcolm McDowell, Michael Clarke Duncan, the late Anne Bancroft, Eric Idle. ... Has voicing bad animation become the new "Hollywood Squares" on the acting road to oblivion?

The fact that Anne Bancroft died in 2005 and "Delgo" is just surfacing three years later suggests that Atlanta-based Fathom Studios knew it had a problem on its hands.

The kiss of death for "Delgo" came about two-thirds of the way into the movie when the 13-year-old in our group -- the very demographic for which this movie appears intended -- turned and with pleading eyes whispered: "Can I go read?

"Please!"

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