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New DVDs: ‘Superman Returns,’ ‘Ant Bully’

Also new: ‘Clerks II,’ seasons one of ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘St. Elsewhere’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Superman Returns”Director Bryan Singer’s update on the Man of Steel leads a huge holiday rush of “Superman” DVD releases. “Superman Returns” follows in the spirit of the first two films that starred Christopher Reeve as the orphaned Kryptonian who becomes a crusader for truth and justice on Earth. The new film stars Brandon Routh as Superman and his mild-mannered alter ego Clark Kent, newly returned from a quest to find the remnants of his home planet and faced with fresh twists in his romance with Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) and his ongoing battle with Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey).

The movie comes in a single-disc version with just the theatrical release, a two-disc set well-stocked with extras and in high-definition format on a Blu-ray disc and a combination HD DVD disc that also includes the regular DVD version. A big batch of deleted scenes leads the DVD extras, including some extra moments between Clark and his adoptive mom (Eva Marie Saint). There’s also a marathon making-of documentary. Single-disc DVD, $28.98; two-disc DVD set, $34.99; Blu-ray disc, $34.99; HD DVD combination disc, $39.99. (Warner Bros.) Read the review

For super fans, “Superman Returns” also comes in two boxed sets with all four of the Christopher Reeve films. The “Superman: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is a 14-disc set in a metal case embossed with the Superman logo and containing Reeve’s four films, “Superman Returns” and the previously unreleased cut of Richard Donner’s version of “Superman II.” Donner shot his footage while he was making “Superman: The Movie,” but after his falling out with the producers, Richard Lester was brought on to complete “Superman II.” Donner’s version restores footage of Marlon Brando as Superman’s father, sequences cut from the theatrical release. The new version of “Superman II” has an introduction and commentary from Donner and also is available separately in a single-disc release.

Other features in the 14-disc set include two comprehensive documentaries on the legacy and movie history of Superman, a collection of 1940s Superman cartoons and the feature film “Superman and the Mole-Men,” which starred George Reeves and led to his 1950s TV series “Adventures of Superman.” “Superman: The Movie” and its three sequels, minus the Donner cut, also come in the eight-disc “The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection.” And the four movies are available individually in separate releases. “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” DVD set, $99.92; “Christopher Reeve” DVD set, $79.92; “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” DVD, $24.98; “Superman: The Movie” four-disc set, $39.92; “Superman II” two-disc set, $26.99; “Superman III” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” single DVDS, $19.97 each. (Warner Bros.)

Finally on the Superman front, there’s “Superman: The Theatrical Serials Collection,” which gathers the 15-chapter 1948 cliffhanger series “Superman” and its 1950 follow-up “Atom Man vs. Superman.” Both star Kirk Alyn as the first live-action Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane, a role she later reprised for TV in “Adventures of Superman.” The four-disc set includes reflections from Neill and others on the serials. DVD set, $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“The Ant Bully”

Warner Bros.

A big-name voice cast including Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep could not rescue this animated summer flop, a tepid retread of better bug cartoons such as “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life.” The movie follows the adventures of a human boy who’s been venting his frustrations by terrorizing the residents of an anthill in his backyard. He gets a predictable lesson in kinship, compassion and respect for all the earth’s creatures after the ants magically shrink him down to their size and teach him what’s what. Extras include deleted scenes, a series of short cartoons and a making-of featurette. DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray disc, $34.99; combination HD DVD and standard DVD disc, $39.99. (Warner Bros.) Read the review

“Clerks II”

MGM - The Weinstein Company

Writer, director and co-star Kevin Smith revisits the independent slacker tale that launched his career in the mid-1990s. The movie reunites Smith’s old Jersey pals Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, who starred as the overeducated, underemployed clerks at a convenience store and video shop in “Clerks,” the two still lumbering through dead-end lives 10 years later. Their lives are shaken by disaster in the workplace, forcing them to find new careers — as clerks at a fast-food joint, where they pal around with the restaurant’s manager (Rosario Dawson). The garrulous Smith joins cast members and other collaborators for commentary and provides introductions to deleted scenes. The two-disc set also has a 90-minute making-of documentary. DVD set, $29.95. (Genius) Read the review

“See No Evil”

3. Kira (Samantha Noble) and Jacob Goodnight (Kane) in SEE NO EVIL.

Hulking pro wrestler Kane jumps to the big screen in a grisly horror fest, playing a gargantuan, deranged loner living in a decaying hotel where a group of petty criminals are assigned to do community-service work. Conveniently, the cop who shot the giant madman in the head years earlier also is on hand, sending the resident psycho into a frenzy of revenge and forcing the small-time crooks to band together to fight him off. Kane contributes commentary, while director Gregory Dark and writer Dan Madigan offer a separate commentary track. The DVD also has two featurettes. DVD, $28.98. (Lionsgate) Read the review

TV on DVD:

“Criminal Minds: The First Season” — Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson star as leaders of an FBI profiling team that tries to get inside the heads of the most diabolical bad guys. A six-disc set has the first 22 episodes. DVD set, $64.99. (Paramount)

“Bones: Season One” — An FBI agent (David Boreanaz) who hunts up clues among the living teams with a forensic anthropologist (Emily Deschanel) who sifts through evidence left by the dead. The first 22 episodes are packed in a four-disc set. DVD set, $49.98. (20th Century Fox)

“St. Elsewhere: Season One” — The venerable medical drama that launched the career of Denzel Washington in the 1980s is resuscitated on DVD in a four-disc set with the first 22 episodes. DVD, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The History Channel Ultimate Collections: World War II” — A 10-disc set packs a huge range of documentaries on the war, examining the conflict in Europe and the Pacific, the climactic battle at Okinama, the Nuremberg trials and blunders that affected the war’s outcome. DVD set, $59.95. (A&E)

Other TV titles:

“Joan of Arcadia: The Second Season” — A six-disc set with 22 episodes. $64.99. (Paramount)

“Touched by an Angel: The Third Season — Volume 2” — Fourteen episodes in a four-disc set. $42.99. (Paramount)

“Ellen: Season 5” — A three-disc set with the final 22 episodes. $49.95. (A&E)

“7th Heaven: The Complete Third Season” — A six-disc set with 22 episodes. $54.99. (Paramount)