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DVD: Jorge Cervantes' Ultimate Grow DVD (2005) - High Times Growers Series
Review Rating:   Standard  
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1 (NTSC)

August 29, 2006



Genre: Other  
Cannabis cultivation at your fingertips, courtesy of expert Jorge Cervantes.  



Directed by:

David Bienenstock
Screenplay by:  
Music by: Electric Ladybugs
Produced by: Richard Cusick

Jorge Cervantes, Chimera, The Trailer Park Boys

Film Length: 99 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:  English Stereo
Special Features :  

10-page colour advertorial booklet with intro text by Jorge Cervantes

Comments :

Yes, Jorge Cervantes does indeed show all of the steps required to cultivate your own little self-sufficient stash of marijuana, but there's a lot of subtext to be found in this how-to disc, fronted by a cheeky legal disclaimer about liability, responsibility, and laws that might just differ from place to place.

Cervantes uses real growrooms and grow-ops in homes and the wild to highlight every facet of this notorious weed, and while one does learn about building a room to house the plants, germinating seeds, cloning female plants, and growing them until they produce the buds needed to get high, one message comes through loud and clear: this plant is a major pain in the ass.

Requiring a ridiculous level of round the clock care a lot of water , long hours of alternating light and darkness, specific temperature ranges, ventilation, trimming, storage this is a major undertaking, and it's clear a huge amount of work is required to get to the point where one has the dried buds that yield the maximum dose of TCH. Even hash a smokable powder made from chilling bud trimmings in ice water and filtering them through multiple sieves for a few dry tablespoons of brown magic dust involves a fair amount of patience.

For marijuana fans, this is a fairly engrossing how-to disc, marred only by some hasty pacing when Cervantes isn't delivering material in an ongoing, uninterrupted monologue. He's practical, amusing, and delivers unsubtle but discretionary hints on how to light a room so neighbours won't suspect your new home business; and disposing of old plants so garbage pickers won't discover you're the source of that unique scent wafting down the street. Each segment is bookended by some witty drawings by Justin Dike, a few vignettes with The Trailer Park Boys, and suitable music keeps this otherwise dry subject matter lively.

Prior documentaries such as Ron Mann's Grass addressed the myths of cannabis (smoking turns a user violent and psychotic) and associating the useful hemp plant (whose strong fibers yield versatile textiles) as a gateway drug, even though there's hardly enough TCH in a plant to create a high. Mann pointedly chronicled levels of absurdity, hypocrisy, and the quest for cannabis' legalization, but the film ran out of steam simply because the saga of the plant hasn't moved beyond its current state being classified as an illegal drug, and hemp's guilt by genetic association.

Since Grass, there's been ongoing frictions among U.S. and Canadian governments regarding the medical use of marijuana in Canada, and the mighty B.C. bud. The irony is that American Cervantes visits primarily B.C.-based growrooms and grow-ops, and the DVD's booklet lists a number of places in Canada that sell seeds and various paraphernalia, furthering the weird areas unaffected by specific laws.

Cervantes' approach is one of self-enlightenment, and he offers pointers on how to become a kind of benevolent grower. His tutorials, however, also reveal the energy loads needed to power specific lights for 6-12 hour periods; maintaining adequate ventilation with scrubbers and filters; and maintaining a specific humidity level things less important to criminals and amateurs, which have damaged and destroyed some homes. There's no reason for him to address the issue, but absent from the doc is the very real problem of suburban homes rented for the purpose of growing marijuana for trafficking, and the homes left contaminated by mold, water destruction, and possible fire from illegal tapping into hydro wires a very real and unpleasant aspect of growing such a finicky plant.

The Ultimate Grow DVD, as part of the High Times Growers Series, and based on Cervantes' book Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower's Bible, however, is worth a peek for a number of reasons: it demystifies a notorious and demonized plant by providing a detailed examination of its lifecycle from seed to budding weed; and the clinical minutia prove this creature can't be easily raised to create a small, potent supply of private weed. For the general public, this DVD will be a neat curio or informative tool for lively and amusing discussions, but those in need of practical pointers will find Cervantes' video pretty impressive.


© 2007 Mark R. Hasan

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