One of the great World War II movies is now available in a fantastic DVD.
Spencer Tracy stars "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," the fact-based story of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, the U.S. pilot who led a daring April 1942 raid on Tokyo in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. Made during the war, the 1944 film uses footage of the real Doolittle and company's B-25B bombers taking off from the Hornet. It offers plenty of Hollywood thrills, having earned an Oscar for its special effects.
The DVD re-creates a night at the movies of yore with vintage film shorts, a classic cartoon and a trailer. The disc can be bought separately or as part of the bargain-priced "World War II Collection, Vol. 2: Heroes Fight for Freedom" (Warner, $60), which also contains similarly decked-out discs for five other acclaimed war films: 1943's "Air Force" (starring John Garfield), 1948's "Command Decision" (with Clark Gable), 1960's "Hell to Eternity" (with Jeffrey Hunter), 1965's "The Hill" (with Sean Connery) and 1965's "36 Hours" (with James Garner).
"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" is available from Warner. $20.
"Prehistoric Park" (BCI, $25)
Combine "Jurassic Park" and "Walking With Dinosaurs," and you get this compelling British miniseries that aired stateside on "Animal Planet." Naturalist Nigel Marven does his best Steve Irwin impression as he ventures to the prehistoric era to observe and capture dinosaurs created through the computer-generated wizardry of the folks who did the groundbreaking 1999 documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs." It's fantasy meets science, with cleverly contrived scenes, for example, in which Marven chases down some small dinosaurs only to find himself sprinting away with a startled tyrannosaurus rex in pursuit. Although the educational aspect of the six-episode series sometimes gets lost, the two-disc set makes up for it through an option that allows the viewer to access detailed information about each dinosaur as it ambles onto the screen. There's also a half-hour making-of featurette and storyboards for many of Marven's encounters.