Pop Culture

‘Revenge of the Sith’ blasts on to DVD

“Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith”The Force is strong with this one. The final chapter in George Lucas’ saga of the Skywalker clan was a crowd-pleasing conclusion to a prequel trilogy whose first two installments left fans cold. “Episode III” sends brash Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) over the edge as he betrays mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and the Jedi order, turns away from wife Padme (Natalie Portman) and completes his conversion into Darth Vader, the heavy of the original three movies. Highlighting the extras on the two-disc set are six deleted scenes with fully finished effects, several dealing with a subplot involving Padme and fellow senators holding hush-hush meetings to discuss what to do about their government’s centralization into the hands of its power-hungry chancellor. In introductions from Lucas and producer Rick McCallum, they note the subplot was an unnecessary sidetrack from the main story. Also among deleted footage is Jedi master Yoda’s somber arrival at the swamp planet that would become his final home in exile, the same world where Luke Skywalker found him in the original trilogy. Lucas, McCallum and key effects wizards provide commentary, and the set also has a methodically detailed glimpse of all the many production teams that went into completing just one 49-second sequence in the film, the climactic duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin. DVD set, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Original theatrical review

“Millions”

Alex Etel in Fox Searchlight's Millions - 2005 Rated: PG Photo ) Copyright Fox Searchlight

It’s hard to believe the man who made the fiendish zombie fest “28 Days Later” and the wicked drug romp “Trainspotting” also was behind this warmhearted family tale. Director Danny Boyle spins a visually fanciful story of a 7-year-old boy with a hallucinatory insight into the lives of religious saints and his materialistic brother, who find themselves at cross purposes when a suitcase full of cash lands in their laps. Boyle teams with screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce for commentary, and the DVD also has deleted scenes and outtakes, a making-of featurette and a segment on the young hero’s list of “tragic saints.” DVD, $27.98. (20th Century Fox) Original theatrical review

“The War of the Worlds”No, it’s not last summer’s blockbuster from Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg. It’s better. In advance of the Nov. 22 release of this year’s hit, a new edition of George Pal’s 1953 sci-fi classic lands on DVD to replace a previous barebones release. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson star in Pal’s take on H.G. Wells’ invaders-from-Mars tale, keeping a bare step ahead of the aliens as humanity heads to the brink of annihilation. The disc has a making-of segment and a featurette on Wells, plus two commentaries, one with Barry and Robinson, the other with modern director Joe Dante and two historians. There’s also an audio bonus, Orson Welles’ 1930s radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” that convinced some listeners that Martians actually had landed. Also debuting in a six-disc set is “War of the Worlds: The Complete First Season,” packing the first 23 episodes of the series that debuted in 1988, following a second onslaught by Martians aiming not to repeat the mistakes of their 1950s invasion. Movie DVD, $14.99; TV show DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

TV on DVD:

“Sex and the City: The Complete Series” — So you bought all six seasons of Sarah Jessica Parker’s modern-love comedy in the cheesily packaged sets of their original release? Now you get to curse the network for this grand new DVD version of the whole show, a boxed set that’s the home-video equivalent of a coffee-table book you’ll want to show off to friends. The set has all 94 episodes on 19 discs, along with all the extras of the original DVD releases, plus a 20th disc with some breezy background on cultural hotspots, fashion and guest stars featured in the series. Shopping advice: Do not pay retail. Plenty of stores will have huge discounts on the hefty list price. DVD set, $299.95. (HBO)

“The Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season” — The rambunctious siblings-by-marriage head to Hawaii with their parents for a three-episode adventure. Year four’s 23 episodes, which come in a four-disc set, also are highlighted by daughter Marcia’s big, fat nose after she takes a football to the face. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

“Fame: The Complete First Season” — The TV spinoff to the 1980 hit movie follows the lives and dreams of a gang of dancers, musicians, actors and other talented teens at New York City’s School for the Performing Arts. A four-disc set packs the first 16 episodes. DVD set, $49.95. (Sony)

“Star Trek: Enterprise — Season 4” — The prequel to Gene Roddenberry’s “Trek” franchise ended its voyages with early cancellation. The final 22 episodes come in a six-disc set, with behind-the-scenes segments on the show’s wrap party and a look at the re-creation of set designs based on the 1960s show for the prequel series. DVD set, $129.99. (Paramount)

“The Outer Limits: Season One” — The 1960s sci-fi anthology series was revived in the mid ’90s with this update, whose first year’s guests included Alyssa Milano, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick and Beau Bridges. The five-disc set has 21 episodes. DVD set, $54.96. (Sony)

“The Dick Cavett Show: John & Yoko Collection” — Talk-show host Cavett scored a coup with his 1971 episode featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono as his only guests. This two-disc set has that episode plus one aired two weeks later featuring further John and Yoko interviews and a 1972 episode in which they returned to perform one song each. DVD set, $24.98. (Shout)

Other new releases:

“Heights” — Ismail Merchant, who died last spring, produced this drama following five interconnected characters (Glenn Close, James Marsden, Elizabeth Banks, Jesse Bradford and John Light) as their lives unfold over a 24-hour period. Close and director Chris Terrio offer commentary. DVD, $24.96. (Sony) Original theatrical review

“Office Space” — The 1999 cult comedy from Mike Judge (TV’s “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butt-head”) features Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston in a satiric look at the working world. The new DVD edition has deleted scenes and a look back by Judge. DVD, $19.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The Brat Pack” — Three of John Hughes’ youth comedies from the 1980s — “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Weird Science” — return in a set cleverly packaged in a miniature spiral school notebook. The package also has an eight-song CD anthology of tunes from Hughes’ flicks. DVD set, $39.98. (Universal)

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