So what were your favourite kids and family movies of this year? Which films made you and the kids laugh or cry – or both? Here’s my pick of the 10 best movies I reviewed at Movies4Kids in 2012, some are for the whole family, some for older kids and some for little ones. Let’s hope there’s as much fun and adventure on the big screen in 2013!
Happy New Year and many thanks to everyone who has visited Movies4Kids and this blog!
With a witty, sharp script by the talented Joss Whedon (who also directed), a cast that included Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth, and some fantastic special effects, this was the comic book movie to beat in 2012. The Dark Knight Rises may have been smarter, but this one was more accessible for the whole family – and where else would you find Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, Captain America and Iron Man all kicking butt in the same movie?
One of the best adaptations of a Dr Seuss story, this animated adventure was bright, colourful and fun – and it had an environmental message too. Zac Efron voiced Ted, the young resident of plastic, man-made town Thneedville who goes in search of a real tree for the girl he loves, while Ed Helms voiced the strange creature the Once-ler and Danny DeVito the Lorax of the title.
One for grown-ups and teens, this wasn’t quite as bleak as 2008’s Dark Knight, but it still had its share of darkness mixed in with some edge-of-the-seat action as Bruce Wayne/Batman finally comes out of retirement when new bad guy Bane (Tom Hardy) starts blowing up bits of Gotham. A terrific ending to director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies, which also boasts great supporting performances from Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Director Tim Burton delivered the sweetest, creepiest family movie of the year, a black and white stop-motion animated story about a boy who loves his dog so much he wants to bring him back to life after he’s killed by a car. Actually an expansion of a short movie he made more than two decades ago when he was an animator at Disney, it’s a lovely movie for older kids and adults (younger children will probably find it too quirky and scary).
It would have been a shock if this adaptation of Tolkien’s classic story hadn’t been good – after all, the man behind this movie (the first in a trilogy) is Peter Jackson, who made the three superb Lord Of The Rings movies. And it is an enjoyable adventure as young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) goes off on a quest to help a handful of dwarves retrieve their homeland from a nasty dragon. Watch out for part two in December 2013…
An adaptation of the first Hunger Games young adult novel, this was dubbed the ‘next Twilight’ but beats that series of movies hands down for quality of plot, script, direction and performances. Jennifer Lawrence is the young girl in the near future who has fight to the death with a handful of other teens in the name of entertainment, among them possible love interest Josh Hutcherson. The Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire opens in November.
Everyone’s favourite misplaced zoo animals are still trying to get back to New York, and this time they somehow end up in Monte Carlo, on the run from a French animal control inspector, and hook up with a travelling circus en route. Funny, flashy and fast-paced, this is a glossy adventure for the whole family.
The best Muppet movie since 1992’s Christmas Carol, this is almost more for nostalgic adults than their kids as co-star and Muppet fan Jason Segel pays homage to the world’s most loved puppet show. He stars as Gary, whose younger brother Walter is a muppet fan (and looks rather like a muppet himself). Co-starring Amy Adams and Chris Cooper, it’s adorable stuff… though we’re a little worried that the planned sequel is going to star Ricky Gervais.
Younger kids would probably prefer the cute Hotel Transylvania, but those eight and older will get a kick out of this animated tale of a young boy who can see dead people, and has to rise to the occasion when zombies and spirits threaten his town. Creepy and fun with some great classic horror movie references for adults, a perfect junior scary movie for kids too young for the real thing.
Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and Jack Frost team up in this animated adventure to battle mean Pitch Black (aka the boogeyman) and save the children of the world. Stunningly animated, this story based on Willliam Joyce’s book is one for the over-sixes – younger kids will find Pitch too scary.