“Secret Magic Control Agency” is an animated comedy that works up its own “wizarding world” for a fanciful spin on alternate lives for fairytale siblings Hansel and Gretel.
The animation is polished 3D/CG, with tactile, pliable plastic-looking humans and dogs, candy and cookie characters and settings and a candy-coated color palette.
Laughs? Not really. It’s aimed at very young children, so “cute” is about as far as it goes. But as time-killers go, it’s harmless.
Gretel (voiced by Sylvana Joyce), is a top agent with the titular agency, an organization that licenses and monitors all the magicians, potions and “tricks” in the kingdom. She’s the one Agent Stepmother (Georgette Reilly) puts on the case when the pastry-loving king (Marc Thompson) is kidnapped.
But Gretel can’t find him and the magician who kidnapped him with “black magic” on her own. Agent Stepmother decrees that she arrest and work with her wayward “charlatan” brother, Hansel (Nicholas Courtney Shaw).
They set off, bickering like siblings, in search of clues. There is an…accident, in a potion storage facility. Their job gets tougher because they’ve reverted to childhood.
The crone in the woods Baba Yaga (Mary O’Brady) who was nearly their downfall in the “traditional” version of the fairytale must be questioned. If they can avoid her stock pot.
“Kids, pretty plump and TASTY.”
But if they work together, maybe the evil Ilvira or Elvira (Erica Schroeder) will be foiled and the king will make it back to the palace in time for his sugar rush birthday.
Talking cupcakes, gingerbread soldiers, candy cane pillars and icing icing everywhere make up the design. There’s a gadget guru who offers the team magical classes and “anti-stray” pebbles (stones that light up and keep you from losing your way back home).
Inside gags include that potions room, a repository of “real magic” where the Sword in the Stone and Aladdin’s lamp are kept under lock and key. “Transformations” pop up here and there as the story meanders about, adding characters and critters and middling set pieces.
The most “adult” joke is a “don’t forget to rate your rideshare.”
“Harmless” is what you hope for in a 6-and-under cartoon, and this one passes that test — the characters (if not the voice cast) are a moderately diverse lot.
The animation isn’t on a par with the Big Leagues, nor is the story or the passable-but-nothing-extra voice acting. It’ll play as dull to all but the youngest, least discrimination viewers.
If you need a Netflix babysitter, that’s about all “Secret Magic Control Agency” is good for.
MPA Rating: TV-Y7
Cast: The voices of Sylvana Joyce, Nicholas Courtney Shaw, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Bella Hudson, and Marc Thompson.
Credits: Directed by Aleksey Tsitsilin, script by Analisa LaBianco and Vladimir Nikolaev. A Wizarts production for Netflix.
Running time: 1:45