These days animated films take longer to make than regular films, because of all the extra CGI work that needs to be done. You will also find that animated works will likely have a larger voice cast of noted luminaries compared to standard films. But extra years of work and vocal star power don’t necessarily mean that all animated films are great. In fact, you can spend three to four times as long working on, and have just as many “name” talents associated with a bad animated film as you can a bad standard film. It’s never a good sign when you hear that an animated film has been in production for years and years and features a large voice cast of actors that were in the spotlight years and years ago. Such is the case with Delgo, a movie that took five years to make and features the vocal stylings of Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris Kattan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Burt Reynolds.
In Delgo, Jhamora is a fantasy land torn apart by two sworn enemies including the winged Nohrin, who rule the skies and the Lockni who control many mystical powers. But that doesn’t stop Delgo (Freddie Prinze Jr.), a carefree teen who falls in love with the delightful rival Princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Soon violence between the two distinct faction starts going out of control. This leaves an opening for the evil exiled Empress (Anne Bancroft) to wreak revenge and mayhem and take over once again. The Empress kidnaps Kyla, blames Delgo and incites a war between the two sides. Now it’s up to Delgo to rescue Princess Kyla with the help of his best friend, Filo (Chris Kattan), and former foe, Bogardus (Val Kilmer).
The main problem with Delgo is that there is nothing original in its plot. At the heart of the plot is the animated version of William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Then, you have all the science-fiction elements that come straight from the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars films. The dialogue is not that interesting either, and the humor is strictly for elementary schoolers. At the same time, there is more violence than you’d expect from a PG rated film.
The large voice cast does it’s best with the material. Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Bancroft, Chris Kattan, Val Kilmer, Eric Idle, Michael Clarke Duncan, Lou Gossett Jr., Burt Reynolds, and Kelly Ripa all do respectable jobs. Nothing here is really atrocious, but only the late Anne Bancroft really stands out as above average, and her role is relatively small. As for the way the film looks, well Delgo is not the greatest looking animated film ever, but it is not the worse either. So really all the main positives of this film can be summed up with one word: average.
The video included is available in widescreen color presented at the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The quality is decent, but there are more noticible problems than you would like to see in an animated film. That’s likely due to a smaller budget. Still nothing that ruins the viewing experience. Leave that for the actual movie.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either. But again nothing special.
Animated Short: Chroma Chamelon –
This runs 5 minutes and it’s basically a short film about a group of dancing geckos. I’m sure this has some relation to the film, but why this is an “extra”, I don’t know.
Audio Commentary –
There is a full-length audio commentary with the writers and directors of the film, Marc F. Adler and Jason Mauer, along with visual effects supervisor, Warren Grubb. This commentary is not very entertaining, but it is quite insightful, so check it out if you enjoy all the behind-the-scenes stuff of animated films.
“Behind the Scenes” Featurette –
This runs 4 minutes and it’s your standard “making of” featurette. The cast and crew pump up the movie basically and attempt to “sell you” on watching it.
“Sounds of Delgo” Featurette –
This runs 5 minutes and it’s all about the sounds of the film obviously. Nothing too special here either.
“Meet the Characters” Profile –
This is basically a series of brief bios on the characters in the film. There are two or three lines on each of the characters and that is all there is to this one. Just click “next” to go to the next character.
“See the Creatures” Featurette –
This is basically a series of brief bios on the creatures in the film. See above.
There are 6 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film and they total 13 minutes. Nothing to see here.
Delgo doesn’t have its own identity and doesn’t know what its target audience is either. That is never a good sign, especially since the large voice cast are mostly B-level or C-level actors these days, and it took five years for this film to even make the light of day. Only younger kids will enjoy the humor in Delgo, but the violence might be too excessive for them to watch anyways. Their parents and adults without kids will likely be bored with the unoriginal plot and unimagitive characters. Only the violent action scenes will keep most people over the age of 10 awake, which seems to be the only reason they were thrown in there anyways. So in the end, Delgo fails on many levels as an animated film.
20th Century FOX Home Entertainment presents Delgo. Directed and Written by Marc F. Adler & Jason Maurer. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Bancroft, Chris Kattan, Val Kilmer, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Louis Gossett Jr., Eric Idle, Burt Reynolds, and Kelly Ripa. Written by Marc F. Adler, Jason Maurer, and Scott Biear. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated PG. Released on DVD: August 4, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: animated, Fox, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars