New and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.
DVDClassic gets a makeover
"Disney's A Christmas Carol," the umpteenth iteration of the holiday classic about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas Eve redemption at the hands of a trio of ghosts, gets a manic makeover under the direction of Robert Zemeckis. He applies the same motion-capture animation he used to mixed effect in "The Polar Express" to create a fable that is by turns antic, scary, sweet and, in the end, slightly soulless. This, despite the Herculean efforts of the voice cast, which includes Jim Carrey as Scrooge and the ghosts that visit him, and Gary Oldman as Scrooge's dead partner, Jacob Marley, Scrooge's clerk, Bob Cratchit, and Cratchit's son Tiny Tim. Dickens' story has good bones. And its lesson -- that it's never too late to make a difference in someone else's life -- more than carries the day. But just because something can be done with computers doesn't mean it should be. The DVD and Blu-ray (Disney, $30-$40) include featurettes and deleted scenes.
Out Tuesday: "Avatar" (extended), "Best Worst Movie," "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," "The Complete Metropolis," "Is It Just Me?" "The Kids Are All Right," "The Last Airbender," "Lottery Ticket," "Michael Jackson's Vision," "Mrs. Miracle," and Blu-rays of "Modern Times," "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Night of the Hunter," "The Twilight Zone" (Season 2).
GAMEKratos better than ever
"God of War: Ghost of Sparta," the second PSP adventure of the series, picks up after the end of the first game, when Kratos has just recently taken on the mantle of the new god of war. Haunted by visions, Kratos goes to Atlantis to seek answers, and learns his brother Deimos is alive -- but a captive of Thanatos, god of death -- and as per usual he kills pretty much everything he encounters. The game ($40; rated Mature) looks stupendous, even better than the last one on PSP, "Chains of Olympus." The enormous Scylla that stalks Kratos through Atlantis is just as impressive as "God of War II's" Colossus. Kratos' moves are familiar, although he has some previously unseen tricks, such as a charging tackle and several new magical attacks. There isn't much here, game-play wise, that series fans haven't seen before, but that's not the point. This is "God of War" in perfect form, and on the PSP that's mighty impressive.