Welcome to 2012, and the Movies4Kids movie preview! There are superheroes, small creatures with hairy feet, pirates, giants and aliens to look forward to this year, and here is your print-out-and-keep guide to the best and biggest movies for kids, teens and families coming to a cinema near you this year…
PART ONE – JANUARY 1 to JUNE 1 2012
War Horse – January 13
Steven Spielberg follows up the cracking The Adventures Of Tintin with this World War I-set drama based on the novel and stage play of the same name. Jeremy Irvine is the boy who cares for a horse only to watch as the army requisition it, while Tom Hiddleston is one of the adorable creature’s subsequent owners. Each cinema ticket should come with its own box of tissues – you won’t just cry, you will sob. And possibly wail.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – February 3
A follow-up to 2008’s Journey To The Center Of The Earth, this family adventure has young Sean (Josh Hutcherson, returning from the first movie, although his ‘dad’ from that one, played by Brendan Fraser, isn’t in the sequel) teaming up with his stepfather Hank (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) to find an island that isn’t on a map, but one that is the location of a coded distress signal Sean has picked up. Together with a helicopter pilot and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), they head to the island and discover much more than they bargained for (a big clue is the image of Michael Caine on the movie poster!)
Star Wars: Episode 1 – February 9
This isn’t a new Star Wars movie, it’s a re-release of The Phantom Menace… in 3D. For young kids who have never seen a Star Wars flick on the big screen, it will no doubt be a treat, although adults may be more reluctant to part with the cash to see one of the lesser movies in the series again (yes, it’s the one with lots of Jar Jar Binks and annoying brat Anakin, and not enough Darth Maul). If this re-release is a hit, expect the other five movies to get the 3D treatment, too.
The Muppets – February 10
It’s been 12 years since the last cinema outing from The Muppets, but it’s been worth the wait as this new movie is a treat for fans and newcomers alike – and we even get a new puppet, Walter. He’s the brother of human Gary (Jason Segel, who cowrote the film), and together with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), they go to LA to tour the Muppet Theater, only to find it derelict and the muppets gone their separate ways. Gee, do you think the Muppets will reunite and save the theatre before a mean mogul knocks it down?
Big Miracle – February 10
If you liked 2011’s Dolphin Tale, you’ll want to check out this movie based on the real-life story of three grey whales trapped in the ice off the coast of Alaska in 1988, who were rescued thanks to an international effort between the US and USSR despite the ongoing Cold War. Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski star and add a romance to the true story.
Red Dog – February 24
Another true animal story to tug at the heartstrings, this one is based on the short novel by Louis De Bernieres (author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin). It’s the story of Red Dog, who has no real owner but becomes loved by the town of Dampier in Western Australia. He’s taken in by an American man named John (Josh Lucas), but when John is killed away from home the dog sets out on a journey to find his master, unaware he has died. Are you weeping yet?
Mirror Mirror – March 16
The first of two 2012 live action adaptations of the Snow White story, this is the comedy fantasy one (think Ella Enchanted meets The Princess Bride) with Lily Collins (daughter of musician Phil) as Snow White, Armie Hammer as the Prince, Sean Bean as the King and no less than Julia Roberts as the wicked Queen. Using the trailer as a guide, this one will be more kid-friendly than the June release (see review in our movie preview, Part 2) of Snow White And The Huntsmen.
The Hunger Games – March 23
Possibly the most-anticipated movie for teens since Twilight, this sci-fi adventure is set in the near future and tells the story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). She is selected to compete in the Hunger Games, an annual event in which one boy and girl from each of the country’s 12 districts has to compete in a battle to the death. Based on the book (the first in a trilogy) by Suzanne Collins, the movie also stars Liam Hemsworth as Kat’s childhood friend Gale and Josh Hutcherson as her fellow competitor Peeta.
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists – March 28
The creators of Chicken Run deliver another adventure for the whole family, this time about a bungling pirate captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his crew, who want to beat out their rivals for the Pirate Of The Year contest. Entourage’s Jeremy Piven, Brian Blessed, Salma Hayek, Martin Freeman and David Tennant are among the talent providing the voices, and if the hilarious trailer is anything to go by, this will be a lot more enjoyable than the last few Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, that’s for sure, me hearties.
Wrath Of The Titans – March 30
A sequel to the disappointing Clash Of The Titans, a movie that suffered from being filmed as a 2D picture and then was released in rather shabbily-done 3D. Sam Worthington returns as Perseus, who embarks on a quest to rescue his dad Zeus, who has been captured by his son Ares and brother Hades. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes return as the warring godly brothers, and the cast also includes Bill Nighy and Danny Huston. Let’s hope it’s better than the first one.
African Cats – April 20
Samuel Jackson narrates this wildlife documentary that focuses on two cat families (cheetahs and lions) as they teach their cubs the ways of the wild. Filmed in the Kenyan Savannah, this is made by Disney Nature and is reminiscent of those lovely wildlife movies that were popular in the 1970s, complete with a story, comedy and adventure. Awww.
The Avengers – April 27
Seen Iron Man? Captain America? The Incredible Hulk? Then you’ll be first in the queue for this action movie that unites them all. Written and directed by Joss Whedon (the sharp, witty mind behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer), this brings together all the actors from the recent blockbusters – Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Cpt America – and adds in Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce ‘Incredible Hulk’ Banner and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, who needs their help to save earth from alien invaders. Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Stellan Skarsgard costar, and we are very excited.
Men In Black III – May 25
A jaw-dropping 15 years since Men In Black II, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back as the men with the dark glasses and memory wipe lights who police aliens on earth. This time, Agent J (Smith) has to jump back in time to the 1960s to team up with a younger version of his partner, K (the junior version played by Josh Brolin) to stop an evil alien’s nefarious plans. Alice Eve and Emma Thompson also star. Welcome back, boys, we missed you.
For more movies to watch out for in the second half of 2012, don’t forget to check back here next week… part 2 of the movies4kids preview is coming soon!