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family entertainment

Packing a lot of slacking into ‘Regular Show’ disc

“Regular Show: Party Pack”

“Regular Show: Party Pack”

For parents, it can be hard to know how to feel about “Adventure Time” and its recent partner in Cartoon Network hype-itude, “Regular Show.” On one hand, they seem filled with the imagination of study hall doodlers made good. On the other, there’s a cognitive junk food aspect to their glorified amateurishness, and bits of slacker-speak that could pave the way to the principal’s office. Still, the recent compilation “Regular Show: Party Pack” is hard to resist. The series is as shameless as “Scooby-Doo” (in a more hiply ironic way) about being formulaic: The gang is having a wacky good time, and then things turn paranormal. Always. Take the disc’s opener, which follows park worker pals Mordecai and Rigby (a blue jay and a raccoon, for whatever reason) as they hunt for a stick hockey game tossed by their irascible boss, Benson (a gumball machine). No surprise that their quest leads to a superpowered gamer showdown. Then there’s “Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake,” a disc that genuinely inspires — specifically, questions about whether we’re all just watching a show made for stoners. This one’s typically flaunty randomness: gender-bending our two leads, Jake the Dog and Finn the Human. My boys weren’t exactly enthralled — although apparently it’s not a girls-are-icky thing, because we can’t get enough of grape-in-drag diva Lumpy Space Princess. Catch her showcased here in a zombie apocalypse episode. Or, if you’ve had your fill of scattershot collections, catch both series in chronologically ordered Blu-rays due this summer. (Warner, $19.82 each)

“The Sandlot.”

“The Sandlot.”

SPORTS

THE SANDLOT (1993)

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This Jean Shepherd wannabe was never all that, but its 20th anniversary Blu-ray reissue does arrive at a good time to help your Little Leaguers get psyched for the season. Young Thomas Guiry (seen slightly more recently in TV’s “The Black Donnellys”) is the new arrival among a group of ’60s kids obsessed with baseball, and prone to episodic mischief. The junior inventors hook might actually be stronger than the sports hook, given how much mileage the movie gets out of the boys’ Goldbergian efforts to pry away a prized ball from a scary neighborhood dog. (Fox, $19.99)

ANIMATION

MULAN (1998)

There was no missing the recent promotional blitzes for the 3-D Blu-ray debuts of “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Rise of the Guardians,” and “Monsters, Inc.” Amid it all, though, some humbler animated offerings also got hi-def reissues – deservingly, in the case of Disney’s Chinese warrior princess tale. The disc also includes a double-bill presentation of “Mulan II,” while companion Blu-ray releases “Brother Bear” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” likewise come packaged with their made-for-video sequels. Extras: Featurettes; commentary; deleted scenes. (Disney, $39.99 each)

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON (2011-12)

SpongeBob is hardly Mermaidman-decrepit, but with another 26 episodes in this latest set, he can sometimes feel his age. As ever, though, you can bank on getting a few segments to remember. Topping the shortlist: “Plankton’s Good Eye,” in which the micro-antagonist clones one of SpongeBob’s eyeballs for himself, and suddenly develops a more bubbly worldview. (Paramount, $26.98)

LEGO STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT (2012)

Lego Luke deals with the celebrity baggage that comes with being a “Death Star blower upper.” Oh, the effort that went into the recently canceled “Clone Wars” cartoon — and oh, the seemingly effortless way that it was lapped by this merchandise-hawking but amusingly clever lark. (Fox, $14.98)

CURIOUS GEORGE SWINGS INTO SPRING (2013)

In a new hourlong feature, George gets up to his usual monkey business, enticed by nice weather and his equally inquisitive canine pal, Hundley. (Universal, $19.98)

BEN 10: DESTROY ALL ALIENS (2013)

Everything is changeable with our ever-morphing kid hero: his age, his visual style, and his galactic species, of course. In his latest makeover, Ben Tennyson’s 10-year-old incarnation gets CG animated for an interdimensional adventure. Extras: Filmmaker commentary. (Warner, $12.97, April 16)

WESTERN

HOWDY, KIDS!! A SATURDAY AFTERNOON WESTERN ROUNDUP (2013)

Could be there’s a grandparent bonding opportunity in this survey of “The Roy Rogers Show,” “Sky King,” and other '50s TV staples. And, hey, you can enlighten the young'uns that before Johnny Depp played Tonto, there was a guy named Jay Silverheels who wasn’t too shabby, Kemosabe. (Shout! Factory, $24.97, April 9)

DOCUMENTARY

EXTREME DINOSAURS (2000-04)

Yep, even after 20 years, “Jurassic Park” is still plenty intense, as we found out the hard way when we hurried off as a family to catch the new 3-D reissue. If you could use some viewing to smooth things over with young viewers, one thought might be this BBC documentary disc, which includes a segment titled “T-Rex: Warrior or Wimp?” No good? Need a look at the natural world that’s infinitely gentler? There’s always “Wings of Life,” the butterfly study due next week from Disney’s documentary division. (BBC Video, $19.92)

ADVENTURE

LIFE OF PI (2012)

We might be venturing into iffy waters again, but there’s a big chunk of Ang Lee’s magical realist tale that sure seems like it’s got YA appeal: youth lost at sea, struggling to survive, facing a circumstance so impossible that he’s even sharing his lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. If you do some judicious chapter skipping at the adult-oriented start and finish, and possibly when the animal violence gets too intense for squeamish viewers, this one just might fly. Or, to play it safer, consider another aquatic odyssey: the aspiring teen surfer drama “Chasing Mavericks,” from YA production house Walden Media. (Fox, prices vary)

Titles are available now unless specified.

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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