New Video // 2013 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // July 19th, 2013
Don't touch her gingerbread.
For whatever reason, the gods "favored" us with three different takes on the Hansel and Gretel fable. New Video now brings us what the court fervently hopes the last such film for a while, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked.
Gretel (Molly Quinn, Castle) is getting high with her boyfriend when they run out of weed. They quickly reach an agreement -- Gretel will cook up a batch of gingerbread cookies while Ash heads over to Pasadena to score some of the amazing "Black Forest" weed from Agnes (Lara Flynn Boyle, Twin Peaks), a little old lady who sells the most amazing weed out of her basement. When Ash turns up missing, Gretel investigates, only to discover what Ashton discovered -- Agnes is a witch who feeds on the flesh of the young to stay young herself.
Now it's up to Gretel's older brother Hansel (Michael Welch, Twilight) to pull his little sister out of the fire. Literally.
For the first 25 minutes, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked shows promise, with a number of clever gags based on the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale. At some point, though, the filmmakers stopped mining the fairy tale world for inspiration, and instead launched into a more or less traditional slasher movie mode, with only the occasional nod to their putative inspiration. Little, if any attempt is made to ground the film, and things just putter along, with Agnes displaying all manner of haphazard magical prowess. In fact, the film shares the same major flaw as Tim Burton's ill-conceived Dark Shadows in that both films feature a witch whose powers seem to be limitless. In this case, it makes it even more disconcerting that she is dispatched in such an anticlimactic manner.
At one point, the movie started getting on my nerves. Cary Elwes is in the credits, I'm thinking to myself, but where is he? And then Agnes starts responding to customer/victim requests with "As you wish," instilling a feverish anticipation of Elwes turning in some sort of whacked-out The Princess Bride homage. Talk about your dashed hopes. Turns out that Elwes, under a ton of makeup, is the doomed meter reader in the pre-credit sequence. Definitely, there are some missed opportunities here. While there are a number of nice moments, things never really coalesce into a coherent whole.
For a weak movie, the tech side of Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (Blu-ray) is quite good. The AVC-encoded video is good, with strong edges and little bleeding despite the plethora of dark and shadowy scenes. The DTS-HD is even better, with excellent use of the surround channels, particularly when people are wandering around in Agnes' basement. There are no extras.
Casting Lara Flynn Boyle was an absolute masterstroke, for all the wrong reasons. Once the old-age makeup has been dispensed with and Boyle's face is revealed, you can easily imagine her turning to magic in an attempt to repair what plastic surgery did to her once beautiful countenance.
Hansel & Gretel Get Baked has some nice moments and the occasional directorial flair, but just doesn't do enough to separate itself from the pack. It might be worth streaming if you're bored.
In this case, Hansel and Gretel only got half-baked. Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Video
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
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