Delgo is an epic tale of love, war and heroism all shoved into a 90-minute cartoon marketed towards children.
The winged Nohrin and the terrestrial Lockni grudgingly share the land of Jhamora; their mutual prejudices support a rigid divide. When Delgo (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), a reckless Lockni teenager, forms a forbidden friendship with the Nohrin princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt), hostilities between the two peoples escalate. This sets the stage for the exiled Empress Sedessa (Anne Bancroft) to exact her revenge and seize the throne. Suddenly, Delgo and his cowardly best friend Filo (Chris Kattan) must put aside their differences to join forces with a Nohrin general (Val Kilmer) and save Jhamora.
The magical world created by directors Marc Adler and Jason Maurer for these disagreeing factions is wonderful. The creatures that populate it are strange yet huggable – one even has the temperament of a canine. The Nohrin somewhat resemble the extraterrestrials of the '80s sci-fi flick Alien Nation, while the Lockni are like large, smooth-skinned reptiles. The animation style, to some extent, resembles that of a video game; however, its colouring and overall look is far more brilliant.
The list of talented actors who lent their voices to this project is quite impressive. In addition to those mentioned above, Malcolm McDowell, Lou Gossett, Jr., Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Idle, Kelly Ripa and Burt Reynolds bring life to the characters of Delgo. Each of the performers’ intonations is well suited to the personalities they animate; Kattan and Idle are the only actors that sound like they use voices other than their natural ones.
The film’s messages are clear. It’s about overcoming cultural differences, cooperation, friendship and tolerance. The characters discover assumptions and judgement only cause further trouble. It’s impossible not to gain these lessons while watching. However, the lesson relating to mercy is somewhat muddied by succeeding events.
The history and characters are fairly complicated and the story unfolds rather slowly. It is a tale of epic proportions but the need to squeeze it into 90 minutes means none of the chapters are really given enough time to develop. The deaths feel passed over, the romance is awkward and swift, and conclusions are drawn quickly.
The result is a more-or-less enjoyable adventure that oddly feels both rushed and sluggish.