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DVD reviews: ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ ‘Hellboy II’

Also new: The Complete series of ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘I Dream of Jeannie’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Kung Fu Panda”The furry hero with Jack Black’s voice proves that chubbiness is no impediment to heroic deeds. The animated action comedy features the voices of Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu and Dustin Hoffman among the gang of good guys, martial-arts fighters taking on an evil foe with help from a klutzy panda (Black) who somehow lands the gig as the prophesied “Dragon Warrior.” The movie is available in a single-disc DVD or in a two-disc set packed with a companion volume, “Secrets of the Furious Five,” in which our panda hero teaches a class of kung fu students using lessons learned by his martial-arts colleagues. Other extras on the DVD and Blu-ray releases include commentary, cast interviews and instructional activities for kids ranging from how to draw the characters to how to use chopsticks. Single DVD, $29.99; two-disc DVD set, $34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99. (Paramount) Read the review.

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”Ron Perlman returns as the demon spawn who was meant to bring doom to Earth but instead was raised by a good foster father and winds up fighting on the good side among a team of oddball superheroes. The sequel has Perlman’s red, brawny Hellboy, along with co-stars Selma Blair and Doug Jones, taking on a human-hating elf aiming to unleash a mythical mechanical army on the world. Single- and three-disc DVD releases along with a two-disc Blu-ray set come with deleted scenes, a segment on creating the bizarre look and creatures of the movie’s underground “Troll Market,” and two separate commentaries featuring director Guillermo del Toro, Blair and other cast members. The Blu-ray set and three-disc DVD release also have an introduction from del Toro and a huge range of background material on the visual marvels the director crafts for the film. Single-disc DVD, $29.98; three-disc DVD set, $34.98; Blu-ray set, $39.98. (Universal) Read the review.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”As a prelude to the animated TV series that just debuted, the George Lucas “Star Wars” machine unleashes this big-screen cartoon chronicling a new adventure set in the time between episodes two and three of the live-action prequels. The movie hurls Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (in pre-Darth Vader days), along with his spunky new apprentice, into a kidnapping plot involving gangster Jabba the Hutt’s squishy offspring. Single- and two-disc DVD editions and the Blu-ray release feature filmmaker commentary. The Blu-ray disc and two-disc DVD set also come with four deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes looks at the animated series, the voice cast at work and the musical-scoring session. Single-disc DVD, $28.98; two-disc DVD set, $34.99; Blu-ray, $35.99. (Warner Bros.) Read the review.

“This Christmas,” “The Perfect Holiday”A couple of holiday stories from last year arrive on DVD. “This Christmas” features an ensemble cast led by Delroy Lindo, Loretta Devine, Regina King, Idris Elba and Mekhi Phifer in a story of a far-flung family reuniting for its first holiday together in years. The DVD and Blu-ray disc have deleted footage, cast commentary and a making-of segment. “The Perfect Holiday” stars Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union in a romantic comedy about a department-store Santa and a single mom whose daughter is hunting for a stepfather. The DVD has filmmaker commentary and a couple of behind-the-scenes segments. “This Christmas” DVD, $28.96; Blu-ray, $38.96. “Perfect Holiday” DVD, $27.96. (Sony)

“The General”Buster Keaton rides the rails again in a DVD update of his 1927 silent classic, in which the stone-faced director and star plays a Southern railroad engineer trying to foil a plot by Union Army operatives who hijack his train to disrupt Confederate supply lines. The two-disc set features a newly mastered version of the film. Viewers can choose three different musical scores to accompany the film. Extras include old introductions to the movie from Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles, a segment on the historic locomotive itself and a tour of the locations where the movie was shot. The set also includes a montage of train stunts from Keaton’s films. DVD set, $29.95. (Kino)

TV on DVD:

“The Sopranos: The Complete Series” — Here’s a DVD set for the wiseguy who has everything: The entire six-season, 86-episode run of the mob series about Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), his blood family and his work family. The beautifully packaged set presents the show on 30 DVDs and includes two CD soundtracks of music from the series. Extras include two dinner gatherings with cast and crew members and an interview with series creator David Chase conducted by Alec Baldwin. DVD set, $399.99 (HBO)

“The Cosby Show: 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition” — Bill Cosby ruled the family comedy front with this beloved show that debuted in 1984 about a wry doctor, his attorney wife and their five spirited children. All eight seasons are packed in a 26-disc set, along with a new interview from Cosby, a retrospective segment and a souvenir book. DVD set, $139.98. (First Look)

“Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Television Series” — Laura Ingalls Wilder and her wholesome frontier family return in the 19th-century adventure series that debuted in 1974, starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert. The 60-disc set has the whole nine-season run, plus commentary and segments with Gilbert and co-stars such as Merlin Olsen and Karen Grassle. DVD set, $279.98. (Lionsgate)

“I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series” — The genie’s out of the bottle again with the 1960s comedy starring Larry Hagman as an astronaut and Barbara Eden as the magic woman able to grant his every wish. The package, designed to resemble the bottle from which Jeannie sprang, has a 20-disc set with all five seasons and episode cards with series trivia. DVD set, $174.95. (Sony)

“Studio One Anthology” — One of TV’s early successes was the “Studio One” drama showcase that premiered in 1948. A six-disc set has 17 episodes from the 10-year run, including performances by Jack Lemmon, Charlton Heston and Art Carney and a 1954 version of “Twelve Angry Men.” The set comes with a 52-page book. DVD set, $99.99. (Koch Vision)

“Scrubs: The Complete Seventh” — Zach Braff and his medical colleagues are back in the comedy about friends, lovers and enemies goofing through the days at their hospital. The two-disc set has year seven’s 11 episodes, plus deleted scenes, commentary and featurettes. DVD set, $29.99. (Disney)

“Firefly: The Complete Series” — “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” mastermind Joss Whedon created this short-lived sci-fi series with a cult so devoted it launched its own big-screen follow-up (“Serenity”). Starring Nathan Fillion as a skipper aboard a shady fugitive spaceship, the entire 14-episode run debuts on Blu-ray in a three-disc set, with deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary. Blu-ray set, $89.98. (20th Century Fox)