The story behind the making of Delgo is heartwarming and inspiring. Fathom Studios, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has been creating commercial computer animation for more than ten years. When they decided to produce their own feature-length narrative film, they did it completely independent of the Hollywood studio system. They labored long and hard with a much smaller budget and a much smaller staff than the animation behemoths. They bravely posted "digital dailes" throughout production, a kind of progressive, online series of "making of" snippets. They recruited a slew of actors with name recognition -- Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Malcolm McDowell, Louis Gossett Jr., Michael Clarke Duncan, Burt Reynolds, Chris Kattan, and the late Anne Bancroft in her last performance -- to voice the characters.

If only the film as a whole was as dramatic and lively as the behind-the-scenes story. Under the direction of Marc F. Adler and Jason Maurer, the 3-D animation is quite lovely to behold, but the characters are one-dimensional and the script, credited to six writers, spends too much time on convoluted plot mechanics. Delgo falls into an uncomfortable place where the technical achievement can be admired without the emotions ever being engaged, provoking nothing more than a tepid response ("meh") when the end credits begin to roll.

Set in a lush fantasy world of flying creatures, colorful reptiles, and the odd monster, beast, and giant insect, Delgo pits two races against one another. The proud, dominant, invading race lords it over the humble, subjugated, native race. Sound familiar?

categories Reviews, Cinematical