‘Arthur Christmas’ leads holiday videos available in stores now

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 5:24 p.m. MST

“Prep & Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection” (Disney/Blu-ray + DVD, 2009/2011, two discs, $20, two animated shorts, comic featurettes). The two “Prep & Landing” TV specials are packaged here along with bonus animation. The title characters are elves paving the way each Christmas for Santa. A source of inspiration for “Arthur Christmas,” perhaps? (Also on DVD, $19.99.)

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 1987; R for language; $22.98, deleted scene, featurettes). I know, it’s not Christmas, it’s Thanksgiving. But it’s a holiday movie nonetheless. Harried businessman Steve Martin is caught in a blizzard while trying to get home for Thanksgiving when he finds himself tethered to an overbearing lout (John Candy). Some funny moments, some sweet moments and some misfires in this holiday comedy.

“An American Christmas Carol” (Shout! 1979, $29.99. featurette). If you can accept Henry Winkler in old-age makeup, you’ll probably enjoy this reinterpretation of the Dickens tale set in New England during the Depression. (Also on Blu-ray, same price.)

“The Christmas Pageant” (Vivendi, 2011, $14.93). Melissa Gilbert stars as a blackballed Broadway director who is forced to take a job with a small-town pageant, and the expected life changes eventually come in this Hallmark Channel TV movie. Edward Herrmann co-stars.

“Annie Claus Is Coming to Town” (Vivendi, 2011, $14.93). Maria Thayer plays the title character, Santa’s daughter, leaving the North Pole for sunny California, spreading holiday cheer along the way. A Hallmark Channel TV movie.

“Christmas Miracle” (Vivendi, 2012, $14.93, deleted scenes, featurette; 4x6 Thomas Kinkade print). Eight strangers are stranded over Christmas in an abandoned church where they learn tolerance and discover the holiday spirit.

“A Princess For Christmas” (Lionsgate, 2011, $14.98, featurette). This variation on “Cinderella” has a woman who is caring for her young niece and nephew invited to Europe for Christmas with a distant uncle (Roger Moore).

“The Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero” (eOne, 2012, $14.98). Bailey, the mischievous Golden Retriever puppy of this live-action video series, contrives a plot to ensure he receives his presents from Santa, which, of course, backfires.

“Chilly Christmas” (Anchor Bay, 2012, $19.98). This live-action effort has a family pooch named Chilly disrupting Christmas for a California couple. C. Thomas Howell and Tom Arnold head the cast.

“The Swan Princess Christmas” (Sony, 2012, PG, $9.99, featurette, read-along, music videos). This fourth in the “Swan Princess” animated-feature series has Princess Odette, Prince Derek and woodland friends battling Rothbart, who is bent on destroying the holiday.

“Hanna-Barbera Christmas Classics Collection” (Warner Archive, 1972-93, $17.95, three cartoons). These animated TV specials are not quite up there with the Rankin/Bass set: “A Christmas Story” is the weakest, about a dog and a mouse delivering a child’s letter to Santa. “Casper’s First Christmas” has the gimmick of Casper joining other Hanna-Barbera characters Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, etc. Best is “The Town Santa Forgot,” with Dick Van Dyke narrating an amusing yarn about a greedy boy’s lengthy Christmas list backfiring. (Available at www.WarnerArchive.com)

“SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2012, $14.99, featurettes, downloadable songs). Holiday special has the gang getting sick on Plankton’s fruitcake. John Goodman voices Santa.

“Chuggington: Icy Escapades” (Anchor Bay, 2012, $14.98, six episodes, bonus episode). Cartoon trains are stuck in the snow and ice in this cute and amusing British kids series.

“Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever” (Lionsgate, 2012, $14.98, three episodes). Holiday episodes of the superhero series.

“Gummibar: The Yummy Gummy Search for Santa” (Lionsgate, 2012, $14.98, music videos). Animated spinoff of YouTube “Gummy Bear Song” has Gummibar and friends trying to rescue Santa.

E-MAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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