Top 10 animated movies to see in 2012
What was your favourite animated film of 2011? Providing you can actually remember any of them, you – like me – might be struggling to award favouritism in a genre so uncharacteristically awash with mediocrity. Pixar’s Cars franchise tanked with a diabolical second instalment, Kung Fu Panda 2 seemed more than happy to punch below its weight, and Mars Needs Moms was so audience-avertingly awful that it actually sank ImageMovers Digital, the motion-capture company Disney had started with director Robert Zemekis.
Elsewhere, Rio proved just about as funny as its infuriating Orange advert, Gnomeo and Juliet was exactly as original as its rip-off title, Winnie the Pooh was almost precisely twelve minutes long and Puss in Boots failed to live up to Antonio Banderas’ sterling voicework. Only two animated movies succeeded in making an impression (three if we are permitted to include the long overdue Hollywood début of Tinin): Rango, a charmingly untraditional digimation from Gore Verbinski, and Arthur Christmas, the first computer animated movie from Aardman Entertainment.
Good thing, then, that 2012 is practically bursting at the seems with exciting and incredibly promising animation. This month sees the release of Europa’s A Monster In Paris, and to celebrate we have put together a list of the most exciting and hotly anticipated animated features of 2012. Oh yeah, and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift as well.
Where better to start a lowdown of quality animated fare than with Pixar’s latest assault on your inner child? Brave promises to be somewhat of a break from tradition for the studio, who have taken a break from anthropomorphising household appliances to produce a mythological epic set in the Scottish highlands. Notable also for its centring on a female protagonist, Brave looks set to prove a return to form for a studio hopefully aiming to atone for the mediocrity of Cars 2.
A Monster in Paris
With echoes of Phantom of the Opera, A Monster in Paris is a French 3D animation from Bibo Bergeron, who co-directed DreamWorks’ Shark Tale and worked as a storyboard artist on such films as Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper and Flushed Away. Set (obviously) in Paris, the film charts the burgeoning relationship between an esteemed cabaret singer and mutant flea, against the backdrop of the Seine flood of 1910.
I know exactly what you’re thinking: A DR. SEUSS ADAPTATION? WITHOUT JIM CARREY? But don’t write Danny DeVito’s The Lorax off just yet. With voice-work from Zac Efron, Ed Helms and Betty White, the film still looks set to be a lot of fun. Replete with the usual stylistics and quirky visuals, not to mention the trademark bonkers characterisation, The Lorax might yet give Horton Hears A Who a run for his precious speck.
Forget for a moment that Adam Sandler is set to voice the film’s lead character – after all, following Jack and Jill everything the actor does is going to seem infinitely better – and it is almost possible to imagine Hotel Transylvania being quite good. Set in a Dracula-run holiday resort for all of the world’s monsters, Hotel Transylvania sees the Count struggle desperately to keep his teenage daughter from falling in love with a young mortal when he arrives unexpectedly. Throw in Kevin James and Miley Cyrus and there is no way on earth that this can be as bad as it sounds.
From the makers of Coraline. Now there’s a sentence you don’t hear nearly enough. I’ll leave you to debate whether or not stop motion really counts as animation (if you conclude that it isn’t, then you might want to skip the next two entries) as it is too late for me, I have already fallen in love with LAIKA’s upcoming ParaNorman. Starring the likes of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Bernard Hill, Anna Kendrick and Leslie Mann, ParaNorman follows a young boy who, when his town is overrun by the undead, discovers he is the only one who can save it.
What’s this? What’s this? A remake we’re actually excited about? Tim Burton flexes his stop motion muscles once more after Corpse Bride with his remake of 1984’s Frankenweenie, a short film co-written by Burton which both parodied and homaged Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Originally set for release last year, Frankenweenie was initially pushed back for a March, 2012 release before trading places with another Disney project, John Carter.
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
It’s no secret that we here at Best for Film love nothing more than a bit of Aardman animation. While Arthur Christmas more than provided our occasional need for warm fuzzies, however, there was nevertheless something missing from the studio’s last gift to cinemagoers: thumb prints. That’s all set to change with The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, a film which marks Aardman’s return to stop motion animation. Featuring voice-work from Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton and David Tennant, this looks bloody plunderful indeed.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Easily DreamWorks second greatest franchise (after How to Train Your Dragon, obvs.), the Madagascar series has gone from strength to strength, its mammalian ensemble steadily proving one of the most enduring (and endearing) in history. The latest instalment, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, promises more of the same as Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippopotamus take refuge from Monte Carlo’s animal control. Like usual, however, the show will inevitably be stolen by Sasha Baron Cohen’s madcap King Julian, Rico’s band of militant penguins and the mechanical-minded monkeys.
Marvin the Martian
Come on, if we’re being honest with ourselves then we all know that Marvin the Martian was ALWAYS the best Looney Tune. After little more than cameoing in Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Marvin is set to take centre stage in his own movie, with Mike Myers set to relieve creator Mel Blanc of voice duties. When his plans to destroy Earth (it obstructs his view of Venus) coincide with Christmas, Marvin must ammend his plans to compensate for an unforseen variable: Santa Claus. My list, my rules.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Oh go on then. Despite being the least historically accurate children’s franchise ever – or at least since Jesus founded America aboard the Titanic – people continue to part with their hard earned money to stay abreast of the ongoing adventures Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the saber-toothed tiger. Having paired off every other character during previous instalments – including scurrying subplot Scrat (in a feat of compulsive matchmaking even J K Rowling would be proud of) – Ice Age 4: Continental Drift sees Diego meet the cat of his dreams. What can I say, we needed a tenth entry.