Delgo (2008) Marc Adler/Jason Maurer
Production Budget: $40 million
I originally only posted this article in regards to Delgo:
“Don’t feel too left out if you missed seeing the animated adventure movie “Delgo” this past weekend. No one did. In fact, the movie broke a record for having the worst opening ever for a film in wide release. “Delgo” earned a measly $511,920 this weekend on 2,160 screens, not even breaking the top ten. That’s an average of $237 per screen for the three days. If you figure there were five screenings a day, and assume ticket prices are about $8, that comes out to two people in the theater per showing. By comparison, the Golden Globe-nominated drama “Doubt” earned roughly the same amount of money, but it was only in 15 theaters.
This is all too bad because the story of the making of “Delgo” has the makings of a great Hollywood underdog story. 36-year-old entrepreneur Marc Adler decided he wanted to direct and produce a $40 million computer animated kids’ flick completely independent of Tinseltown behemoths like Disney and Dreamworks.
Starting in 2001, Adler and his small Atlanta-based animation company Fathom Studios toiled for years on a tight budget. They lined up an impressive, if eclectic, cast of voice actors including Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Malcolm McDowell, Kelly Ripa, and Anne Bancroft in her final role (she died in 2005). And when Adler couldn’t get a Hollywood studio interested in his movie, he raised eyebrows by releasing it himself through distributor-for-hire Freestyle Releasing. It was a huge risk; one that ultimately didn’t pay off. There wasn’t the sort of marketing budget needed to make a film stand out in the already crowded holiday movie season.
Another problem was the quality of the movie. Or lack thereof. The story — star-crossed lovers squaring off against an evil queen on a fanciful world divided between a reptilian people who can move rocks with their minds and a sprite-like folk who like dragons — borrows liberally from “Star Wars,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Dark Crystal,” just without the charm and intelligence. The script required the efforts of six, count ’em, six screenwriters, including Adler. The critics trashed it, giving it a dreadful D average on Yahoo!, which proved to be lethal.
“Delgo” is not the only major wide release bomb of the year. Three of the ten worst openings for films in over 2000 locations came out this year. The raunchy teen sex comedy “College” and the thriller “Deception,” starring Hugh Jackson and Ewan MacGregor, both tanked, garnering the sixth and ninth worst openings ever respectively. In both of those cases, the studios dumped the movies with little fanfare rather than spend millions on marketing a stinker. ”
And then I said basically there was no way in hell I was going to review it.
Well, I reviewed it.
*groans* Ugh, I don’t wanna review Delgo. This movie is is so derivative it feels like those Mosaic posters where a thousand pictures make up one big conglomerate of a pic. I know you can say a lot is a copy of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings but this is not just an “homage”: its a full blown rip off of several specific scenes and movies. I was watching just shouting out the movies where they ripped off the scenes like from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future II. Yes they ripped off Back to the Future II. The general plot is actually a mish mash of Romeo and Juliet, In the Name of the King, aaaaand I dunno. Star Wars Holiday Special? Ok, only joking on that one.
So yeah the story is boring and derivative. My problem beyond that is the acting. Yeah, you have actors like Val Kilmer, Anne Bancroft (sadly her last film role), and Malcolm McDowell (showing he is always evil). But the majority of the movie is being acted by Freddie Prinz Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, and because we still haven’t hit rock bottom, Chris Kattan. Yes, I had to watch Corky Romano overacting for another 80 minutes on an animated format now. Freddie Prinz plays his usual whiny bitch which is annoying enough. Kattan turns this movie into my own private hell. Seriously, f*ck you dude.
We all know how crappy the CG looks, but there are also other levels of incompetence in other aspects of the production. One thing that was strange was that it seemed there could only be one voice actor speaking at a time. That sticks out when you have massive battle scenes with hundreds of characters but you only hear one or two people going “Arrrrrrgh”. The music is bland and forgettable and I can’t just gloss over the fact this movie looks like sh*t! This animation is horrible. Not to mention the fact the movie is only 80 minutes long. They couldn’t even fill out the bare minimum of movie run times. Although if they did, that would mean I would have at least another 10 minutes of Chris Kattan. F*ck that! I would rather stick needles in my ears like that guy from Ichi the Killer to avoid that.
On a certain level I can admire the filmmakers for what they were trying. They made an entirely privately funded movie and released it on their own (it took 6 years to make). They used all their own technology and elisted their own actors. They really went out on a limb with this movie. Its a shame the story was awful and done a million times before, that the acting was below subpar, and the actual animation is god awful. So yeah, despite good intentions I can’t give this movie a pass. This movie sucks.