Digital Breakdown: Along came a ‘Spiderwick’ 

The number of fantasy novels getting swallowed up by Hollywood is increasing at a feverish pace since the success of the first "Chronicles of Narnia" film, based on C.S. Lewis’ "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

Many are a poor man’s "Narnia" yet "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is an exception, although the plot sounds similar. After their parents’ divorce and mom moves into a spooky mansion, twin brothers discover a book about ogres, fairies and other mystical creatures. You guessed it — they are real and begin to cause strange happenings

It’s best to see this movie if you’ve read Holly Black’s book, on which it’s based; previous knowledge may help in understanding the film. The two-disc special edition DVD includes seven big featurettes, deleted scenes, TV spots and trailers. Price: $39.99. Rent or buy: Rent.

10,000 B.C.: Seeing the early days of man is always a trippy experience — whether briefly in "2001: A Space Odyssey" or in the CGI-friendly "10,000 B.C.," which makes the cavemen from "Quest for Fire" look like single-celled organisms. When an evil tribe of cavemen attacks his tribe, a hero hunter must fulfill his destiny of saving his people. Along the way, he battles a saber-toothed tiger using mammoths as weapons and transportation, forms an army and finds a lost civilization.

If you can get past the fact that the cavemen speak in sentences, among other things, this could be worth a rental. The DVD has deleted scenes; the Blu-ray version has two additional featurettes on the making of the film. Price: $28.98 to $35.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

CHARLIE BARTLETT: "Charlie Bartlett" is the story of a high school kid who achieves popularity by selling prescription drugs and offering advice to students who can’t seem to survive the experience of high school without being medicated. Where does he get the pills? From his own shrink, who also gives him advice that he filters down to his own "patients."

Unfortunately, "Bartlett" doesn’t deliver on any message, nor does it conform to what might be called to a "reality" where a high school student can get away with murder if he is clever enough. The DVD has three cool commentaries with the director, actors and the crew, along with additional restroom confessionals, music video and deleted scenes. Price: $27.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

EARLY EDITION — SEASON ONE: Time travel is a favorite theme for television creators, from "Star Trek" to the excellent but ill-fated 2007 series "Journeyman." Twelve years ago, an interesting show on CBS called "Early Edition" was about a commodities trader (Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights") who finds out that he has been granted a unique gift: He gets tomorrow’s newspaper today. With his special knowledge, he goes on journeys in order to right some of the wrongs he sees in his early-edition paper. There aren’t special features on the DVD, but fans will be happy that the good show finally made it on disk. Price: $49.99. Rent or buy: Buy, if a fan.

XANADU — MAGICAL MUSICAL EDITION: Back in the late 1970s and ’80s, Olivia Newton John was queen of musical movies. After the huge success with "Grease," "Xanadu" followed; it was filled with the singing, dancing and ’80s magic that so defined the era. Back on DVD, this set has new special features including a retrospective and the full soundtrack on a second disc. Price: $19.98 Rent or buy: Buy, if you don’t own already.

Other DVDs making their debut Tuesday: "The Tattooist," "My Boys: The Complete First Season," "The Hammer," "Persepolis," "The Wig" and "Definitely, Maybe."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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