By STEVE PERSALL
Times Film Critic
The creators of Delgo were ahead of their time, until the making of this animated fantasy took so long.
How long? For starters, consider that Anne Bancroft, the voice of a key villain, died in summer 2005.
Consider that, since the project was hatched in 1996, the dream of challenging Disney's stranglehold on animation has been realized by several studios.
Consider that the current state of computer-animated art makes Delgo's style readily available on basic cable television.
And consider that former Saturday Night Live clown Chris Kattan was once considered a star worthy of his name above the title. Not to mention has-been Val Kilmer and never-was Freddie Prinze Jr.
Give Atlanta's Fathom Studios credit for tenacity, if nothing else.
It's hard to believe that children will enjoy this wanna-be epic war between turtles without shells and sword-swinging dragonflies. Or that adult fantasy geeks will find anything fresh after the residue from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Delgo is an experiment that stayed too long in the Petri dish, growing moldier by the year.
The setting is the land of Jhamora, where the Nohrin and Lockni tribes live uneasily, giving the flirtations of Delgo (Prinze) and Princess Kyla (Jennifer Love Hewitt) a Romeo and Juliet vibe. The evil Sedessa (Bancroft) was banished from Nohrin when she attempted to poison the king. She plots to divide the nations and take control. Delgo, Kyla, goofy Filo (Kattan) and the rogue Bogardus (Kilmer) unite to stop her.
From there, sorting out the faux-Tolkien names and slumming celebrity voices gets tougher. Kelly Ripa and Burt Reynolds are in there somewhere. Honestly, I quickly lost interest because watching movies on a PC doesn't thrill me. The screener disc for Delgo is the first that wouldn't work in my DVD player.
Maybe the player was just too new.
Steve Persall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs. tampabay.com.