What if your favorite fantasy or sci-fi book wasn't a work of fiction, but was actually based on fact?
That's the intriguing theory behind this year's big-budget adaptation of the Jules Verne "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Brendan Fraser stars as a professor/scientist who embarks on a trip to Iceland to find his missing brother, lost after following the route taken by Professor Lidenbrock in the Verne classic. Along for the ride are his brother's young son (Josh Hutcherson) and their guide, Hannah (Anita Briem).
"Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D" ($28.98 DVD, $35.99 DVD, Warner Home Video, available now) comes with four pairs of paper 3-D glasses to use at home. After experimenting with mine for a while (and getting a headache quite fast, as I always do), I switched over and watched it in traditional "2-D," and it was fine.
This film is geared toward families, right down to the DVD bonus features, such as the game "Adventure at the Center of the Earth" (use your remote to "Ride the Mine Car" or "Bat the Fish") and "A World Within a World," a featurette exploring "hollow earth" stories and theories going back to Sir Edmund Halley in a very kid-friendly way.
"How to Make a Dino Drool" is a look at the gross concoctions created to simulate dinosaur drool including mixtures of hair gel and peat moss. (Director Eric Brevig instructs his effects guys to make it "more gross and disgusting.") "Being Josh" follows young Josh Hutcherson around the set for a day. There's also a commentary by Fraser and Brevig.
*Get gorgonized! That's the phrase for what happens to the unlucky folks who turn to stone after looking upon the ugly face of Megaera. The snake-haired creature based in Greek mythology (think Medusa) is the title character of "The Gorgon," one of four films in "Icons of Horror 3" ($24.96, Sony, available now), a two-disc DVD collection of movies from the great Hammer Studios.
The films -- "The Gorgon," "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll," "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" and "Scream of Fear" -- all make their DVD debut here and star such legendary horror icons as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. They may not be horrifying by today's standards, but they are still great fun to watch.
*Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert have handpicked eight horror films for the "Ghost House Underground" horror film collection. The titles have been packaged as a large gift set ($159.98, Lionsgate), or they can be purchased individually for $19.98 each.
"Brotherhood of Blood," for example, stars horror icons Sid Haig ("House of 1,000 Corpses") and Ken Foree ("Dawn of the Dead") in a tale of vampire hunters. "No Man's Land: The Rise of the Reeker," is a sequel to the international horror hit, "Reeker"; small-town students realize their new teacher is an alien in "The Substitute," directed by Ole Bornedal ("Nightwatch"). Other film titles are "Dance of the Dead," "Dark Floors," "Trackman," "Room 205" and "Last House in the Woods." Each movie comes with such bonus features as commentaries, deleted scenes and making-of features.
"Comic Books Unbound" (Anchor Bay), "Get Smart" (Warner), "The Good Life" (Image Entertainment), "Gregory Peck Film Collection" (Universal), "Henry Poole Is Here" (Anchor Bay), "The Perfect Holiday" (Sony), "Primeval" (Warner) and "Waterworld: Extended Edition" (Universal).
TV on DVD: "Chowder" (Warner), "The Fraggle Rock Complete Series Collection" (Lionsgate/HIT), "Futurama: Bender's Game" (Fox), "I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series" (Sony Pictures), "Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Series" (Lionsgate), "Reaper: Season One" (Lionsgate) and "Wagon Train: The Complete Color Season" (Timeless Media Group).
WATERWORLD: EXTENDED EDITION: You get two versions of the 1995 Kevin Costner futuristic thriller here: the original theatrical cut and a new edition that clocks in nearly three hours, thanks to 40 minutes of new footage. ($19.98, Universal. Available Tuesday.)