By Matt Brunson
DIRECTED BY Marc F. Adler & Jason Maurer
STARS Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt
There's a perverse pleasure in taking down a bloated, big-budget Hollywood bomb that has managed to siphon away two hours of our precious time -- let's face it, attacking turkeys like Battlefield Earth and The Love Guru won't lead anyone to lose even a second of sleep out of guilt. But lambasting an independent feature made with copious amounts of dedication and hard work is another matter, and that's the feeling stirred by the animated film Delgo. It's no fun playing the bully, but when the end result is as atrocious as what's on display here, it's even more difficult to remain silent.
Produced over the course of several years by Atlanta's Fathom Studios, Delgo is as hard on the eyes as it is on the brain, employing an ungainly brand of animation to relate its crushingly dull yarn about a long-standing blood feud between two separate factions in the land of Jhamora. In tested Romeo and Juliet fashion, young Delgo (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), a Lockni, and Princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a Nohrin, fall for each other, even though their respective tribes are perpetually primed to declare war. An evil officer (who else but Malcolm McDowell) takes advantage of the situation and sets up an alliance with the exiled Sedessa (the late Anne Bancroft, who passed away 3-1/2 years ago), who's spent 15 years hoping to return to power.
Val Kilmer, Burt Reynolds and Kelly Ripa are just a few of the name players lending their vocal cords to the cause, but their line deliveries are as flat as those of the two leads. The one exception is Chris Kattan, who provides the comic relief as Delgo's sidekick, Filo. He's absolutely insufferable in a noisy turn that tags Filo as one of the worst characters ever to (dis)grace an animated motion picture -- it's like witnessing the resurrection of Jar Jar Binks. Then again, he's the perfect torch bearer for a film that wears out its welcome almost before viewers can down that first handful of popcorn.