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Dig up ‘National Treasure’ on DVD

Nicholas Cage stars in this mystery thriller. Also new this week, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and season one of ‘Star Trek: Enterprise.’ By David Germain
/ Source: The Associated Press

“National Treasure”American history becomes an elaborate puzzle for Nicolas Cage in his latest action hit with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Cage stars as an obsessed history buff in a race to find an enormous treasure stashed away by the Founding Fathers, who left clues on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Director Jon Turteltaub provides introductions and commentary for a few DVD extras, including a computer-animated storyboard of the movie’s opening sequence, an alternate ending, an extended sequence and a deleted scene featuring a flashback to President Andrew Jackson (“It’s odd casting,” Turteltaub notes. “You basically take out a 20-dollar bill and look for someone who looks that way.”). Other extras include background on the Knights Templar and a look at real-life treasure-hunters. DVD, $29.99. (Disney) Original theatrical review

“Pocahontas”Disney turns dramatic with the 1995 animated cross-cultural romance between the legendary Indian maiden (voiced by Irene Bedard) and Capt. John Smith (Mel Gibson), who arrives amid early colonization of the new world by Britain. The two-disc set has the theatrical version of the film and an extended cut featuring a deleted tune sung passably well by Gibson during Pocahontas’ tearful visit to her man the night before his scheduled execution. In a background featurette, the filmmakers note that test audiences found the song a bit too heavy for a cartoon tale, and composer Alan Menken suggested it be dropped. “Much to my dismay, everyone agreed,” Menken said. “I was hoping they would talk me out of it.” The set also has commentary with the filmmakers for the extended cut and nine deleted scenes. DVD set, $29.99. (Disney)

“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s the Phantom of the Opera”

The Broadway smash comes to the movies in a sumptuous adaptation by director Joel Schumacher. The film stars Gerard Butler as the disfigured, masked madman and musical genius living below an opera house, who becomes transfixed with a stage ingenue (Emmy Rossum). The two-disc set offers one deleted scene, background materials examining the long history of the phantom tale, and a three-part making-of feature focusing on Schumacher, the complex preparations to shoot the film and the production itself. “Phantom” also comes in a movie-only single-disc edition with the wide-screen and full-screen version. Single DVD, $27.95; two-disc set, $29.95. (Warner Bros.) Original theatrical review

“John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection”A five-disc set presents a mixed bag spanning 30 years of Wayne’s career, from the decent 1944 Western “Tall in the Saddle” to the commonplace 1974 cop thriller “McQ.” The set has a couple of unusual Wayne adventures from 1955: “The Sea Chase,” featuring Lana Turner and casting Wayne as a German naval captain in World War II, and “Blood Alley,” co-starring Lauren Bacall in a tale of a Merchant Marine skipper ferrying Chinese refugees away from the communists. Also included is the 1972 Western “The Train Robbers,” co-starring Ann-Margret. Each film also is available separately. Single DVDs, $14.97 each; boxed set, $49.92. (Warner Bros.)

“The Big Red One: The Reconstruction”One of the best modern war films gets better with this rebuilt version that adds more than 40 minutes to Sam Fuller’s semi-autobiographical account. Lee Marvin stars as a steely sergeant leading a band of U.S. infantrymen battling across North Africa and Europe during World War II. Critic Richard Schickel, who headed the restoration team, provides audio commentary. The two-disc set also features alternate scenes, a documentary on the reconstruction and a profile of maverick filmmaker Fuller. Also debuting on DVD is Henry Fonda’s 1965 World War II epic “Battle of the Bulge.” “Big Red One” DVD set, $26.99; “Battle of the Bulge” DVD, $19.97. (Warner Bros.)

“Spaceballs”

Mgm Home Entertainment

Just in time for the final “Star Wars” chapter comes a new DVD edition of Mel Brooks’ 1987 spoof of the space saga and other science-fiction tales. A lightweight compared to Brooks’ classic comedies, the movie still has decent laughs as Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga and John Candy square off with galactic overlord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). Brooks — who has multiple roles, including a caricature of Jedi master Yoda — offers commentary and joins cast members for interviews in a new making-of segment. The two-disc set also has reminiscences about the late Candy. DVD set, $29.98. (MGM)

TV on DVD:

“The Partridge Family: The Complete First Season” — The family that rocks together is on the road again. The 1970s sitcom stars Shirley Jones, stepson David Cassidy, Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce as members of a pop-singing family touring the country in their psychedelic school bus. The three-disc set has 25 episodes, plus a CD sampler that includes their hit “I Think I Love You.” DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“I Love Lucy: The Complete Fourth Season” — The Ricardos and Mertzes go Hollywood in year four as Ricky begins a movie career and Lucy yucks it up with William Holden, Rock Hudson, Harpo Marx and other guest stars. Thirty episodes are packed on five discs, along with five episodes of Lucille Ball’s radio show “My Favorite Husband.” DVD set, $54.99. (Paramount)

“Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Third Season” — Ray Romano and his dysfunctional TV family have at it again in 26 episodes on a five-disc set. Among the extras: commentary by Romano and series creator Phil Rosenthal on two episodes, deleted scenes and a panel discussion with cast and crew. DVD set, $44.98. (HBO)

“The Gilmore Girls: The Complete Third Season” — The mom-and-daughter gal pal duo (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel) prattle on among the odd mix of friends, townsfolk and guests at their New England inn. The six-disc set has 22 episodes, plus deleted scenes and three featurettes. DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Star Trek: Enterprise — Season 1” — The sci-fi franchise has been grounded now that the latest “Trek” series finished its four-year run. But the 22nd century prequel to the original “Star Trek” lives on with a seven-disc set containing the first 25 episodes, deleted scenes and featurettes that include a profile of star Scott Bakula. The remaining three seasons are due out on DVD throughout the year. DVD set, $129.99. (Paramount)

“King of the Hill: The Complete Fourth Season” — Propane enthusiast Hank Hill, his nutty family and beer buddies face the perils of shop class, low-flow toilets and the Y2K bug in year three of the animated series. The three-disc set has 24 episodes. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Dawson’s Creek: The Complete Fifth Season” — There’s life after high school for Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams and their teen pals as they head to college and other adult endeavors. Year five arrives in a four-disc set with 23 episodes. DVD set, $49.95. (Sony)