A new year is upon us, and while many spend January and February recalling their favorite movies of the year past (thanks to all of the award shows crammed into these two months), it won’t be long before a new crop of blockbusters hits the theater circuit and grabs our collective attention. While most parents will likely want to leave the kids with a sitter when they go to see the latest Batman flick or the second offering in the Lisbeth Salander trilogy, there are plenty of family-friendly movies lined up for the year that are sure to attract both parents and kids. Here are just a few for your consideration.
- Brave. The latest Disney-Pixar creation is the first ever to feature a female lead, and the red-headed (and headstrong) Princess Merida, a girl not content with her lot in life (she wants adventure), is sure to grab the attention of children of all ages. Of course, Pixar is well known for their ability to cross both age and gender lines with their stellar graphics and universal story-telling style. So you can be sure that this family-friendly flick will appeal to pretty much everyone in your viewing party.
- Ice Age: Continental Drift. Those that have fallen in love with this franchise and its animal heroes won’t want to miss the next sequel, which finds Manny, Diego, and Sid drifting around the ocean on a makeshift iceberg-ship. Will they be eaten by unknown sea creatures? Will they be forced to surrender to ferocious pirates? Will that poor squirrel hang onto his acorn this time around? There’s only one way to find out.
- Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. 2012 seems fated to be the year of sequels, and the folks behind the Madagascar franchise have served up another helping of animal fun. Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria were first shipped to the titular island. Then they wound up in Africa as they tried to make their way back to the New York City Zoo they came from. And it looks like their latest adventure will see the unlikely quartet once again trying to return home, this time via a traveling circus.
- Frankenweenie. Anyone who loves Tim Burton is sure to want to share his latest stop-motion creation with their kids, but the premise may give you pause. Victor, a young boy, uses his knowledge of horror movies to bring his dead dog back to life. Of course, hijinks ensue as the Franken-dog wreaks havoc on Victor’s neighborhood. But the boy simply won’t concede that the dog he brought back is anything other than his best friend. For parents that like alternatives to the happy, sappy world of Disney (or kids with a hankering for the macabre), this little gem could make for a good respite in 2012.
- The Hobbit. Although this Tolkien classic may not be suitable for young kids in its silver-screen adaptation (use the Lord of the Rings movies as a benchmark) it will almost certainly be the highlight of the year for families with older kids. Those who have long loved the masterpiece of fiction are no doubt holding their breath to see how franchise veteran Peter Jackson will handle conflicts with spiders, trolls, and the infamous Smaug. But whether you’ve read and enjoyed the book or not, you’ll no doubt become enmeshed in the journey of Bilbo Baggins, the unlikeliest hobbit ever to become a hero.