My Top 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

by MattsMovieWatchingWorld | created - 26 Dec 2011 | updated - 17 Mar 2017 | Public

20 movies from the year of 2012 that I anticipated the most, as of Dec. 26, 2011. After I saw each movie, I gave it a number out of 10.

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1. Brave (2012)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

69 Metascore

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell | Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters

Votes: 313,365 | Gross: $237.28M

I am a Pixar fan, and so this pretty much tops the list. This one looks funny, but not really funny, mostly dramatic fantasy. AFTER SEEING IT -- It's a good original Pixar movie, but it lacks Pixar's typical creativity, and it feels like a combination of the movies Robin Hood, How to Train Your Dragon, Cinderella II, Brother Bear, and Freaky Friday. <8>

2. John Carter (2012)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

51 Metascore

Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Woola and a princess in desperate need of a savior.

Director: Andrew Stanton | Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton

Votes: 229,405 | Gross: $73.08M

From Pixar movie director Andrew Stanton comes his first live-action movie, a new Disney adventure maybe to be called the Pirates of the Caribbean of sci-fi. AFTER SEEING IT -- Something of an impressive visual marvel, but the plot was difficult to follow, and the setting made for less of my kind of sci-fi. <7>

3. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,095,459 | Gross: $623.36M

I'm not a big fan of Iron Man or Incredible Hulk, but I like Thor and especially Captain America. And I especially like the idea of a combining superhero movie. AFTER SEEING IT -- It's a pretty good action movie, but in my opinion, average characters made for a fairly average superhero movie. <7+>

4. Battleship (2012)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

41 Metascore

A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna

Votes: 217,500 | Gross: $65.42M

An epic-looking war movie based on the board game of the same name. And the movie-makers seem to be throwing in aliens as the opposing force. It has successful potential, especially if they don't overdo the alien premise. AFTER SEEING IT -- I think the alien invasion story and the Navy soldiers' angle on it both worked surprisingly well together in this movie, because good characters, good story, and good development helped. <8>

5. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

After Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically altered spider, he gains newfound, spider-like powers and ventures out to solve the mystery of his parent's mysterious death.

Director: Marc Webb | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Irrfan Khan

Votes: 497,595 | Gross: $262.03M

I was fine with the Spider-Man movie trilogy the way we had it, and I don't exactly like the idea of rebooting it. But Spider-Man is a very classic superhero, perhaps worth (cautiously) perpetuating him in the movies forever. AFTER SEEING IT -- After becoming acquainted with several reboots over a course of a few years, this is my favorite reboot of all time, because there was good action and a good conflict between the hero and villain. <8+>

6. The Lorax (2012)

PG | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

46 Metascore

A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda | Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms

Votes: 85,497 | Gross: $214.03M

I'm not very familiar with this book, so I'll have to revisit it before watching the movie. But it looks like it could be one of the good Dr. Seuss movies. AFTER SEEING IT (and after revisiting the book) -- I don't think either Dr. Seuss' writing nor this movie's adaptation made a very inspired story. But the animation and some of the songs were delightful. <7>

7. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

60 Metascore

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.

Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon | Stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer

Votes: 135,163 | Gross: $216.39M

I wasn't a big fan of the first Madagascar, but I thought the second was a bit of an improvement. Since then, DreamWorks Animation may have stepped up its success game, and if it smoothly closes out the trilogy, then good. AFTER SEEING IT -- Quite ironic that with this having a fun circus idea, it turned out to be a slight downer after two below-average DreamWorks animated movies. <6>

8. The Hunger Games (2012)

PG-13 | 142 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 765,290 | Gross: $408.01M

It looks like this may go down with Harry Potter and Twilight. It looks like it could be better than Twilight, but probably not as good as Harry Potter. And I'll have to decide at some point if or when to read the book. AFTER SEEING IT (and after reading the first chapter of the book) -- I could sort of see where the story was going early on, and I can sort of tell that there must be something in the pages of the story that gets people impressed by it. But I don't think the concept of the story is very uplifting, and I don't think it quite deserves the success it has gotten. (Update, after seeing the completed series: This is the first of the worst trilogy I have ever seen.) <5>

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

58 Metascore

A reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home, and the gold within it from the dragon Smaug.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis

Votes: 693,827 | Gross: $303.00M

I'm not a big fan of The Lord of the Rings. I haven't read any of Tolkien's books, but The Hobbit may be my favorite if I were ever to read them. I don't think the filmmakers seem to be working as hard as they did on LOTR, so I don't expect rave reviews on the level of those for LOTR, but it could still be nominated for some significant awards. AFTER SEEING IT -- I think this is better than any of the LOTR movies, but unlike what others may think, I don't think that's really hard to do. <8->

10. Frankenweenie (2012)

PG | 87 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

74 Metascore

When a boy's beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau

Votes: 83,816 | Gross: $35.29M

A Tim Burton movie, based on the short film Mr. Burton created back in the '80's. I saw the short once, a bonus feature the DVD of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Will this be the first-ever black-and-white movie in 3D? AFTER SEEING IT -- Though it does look a bit more Tim Burton-esque than any other Tim Burton movie ever, I worried it would be as forgettable as the 1984 Frankenweenie short. But it's nice that it added a couple of elements and was more of a monster movie than expected. <8->

11. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

PG | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

72 Metascore

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

Director: Rich Moore | Stars: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman

Votes: 308,949 | Gross: $189.42M

This animated Disney movie sounds like it could be funnier and trendier than Tron. AFTER SEEING IT -- The 11th most anticipated movie of the year for me became the 11th best movie on my list of all time. An inventive video game movie with brilliant story, humor, animation, and action, it's a really really fun movie, one of the most fun movies of all time! <10>

12. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

57 Metascore

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Director: Rupert Sanders | Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin

Votes: 248,588 | Gross: $155.33M

Second of two modern versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This one sounds more creative, and it might be more successful. AFTER SEEING IT -- Maybe it's just barely more good than bad, Charlize Theron as the Queen was pretty spooky, but Kristen Stewart was bad as Snow White, the creative twist didn't really work, and I don't like the way they made this an epic war movie. <6->

13. Mirror Mirror (I) (2012)

PG | 106 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

46 Metascore

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

Director: Tarsem Singh | Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane

Votes: 76,420 | Gross: $64.94M

First of two modern versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This one is probably funnier. AFTER SEEING IT -- This is the better of the two, but still not as good as the Disney classic. It has the best story out of any Snow White movie, and Lily Collins is okay and somewhat pretty as Snow White, but there was something about the Queen that was irritating. <7->

14. Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)

PG | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

49 Metascore

Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.

Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier | Stars: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Aziz Ansari

Votes: 163,561 | Gross: $161.32M

I would have been fine with just the three Ice Age movies. But as long as it's funny, it has funny Scrat scenes, and continues a logical flow from the trilogy, then it's my kind of movie. AFTER SEEING IT -- There wasn't much reason to take Ice Age as far as a fourth movie, and this offered the least interesting total result of any of the Ice Age movies. <7>

15. Men in Black 3 (2012)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

58 Metascore

Agent J travels in time to M.I.B.'s early days in 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement

Votes: 290,467 | Gross: $179.02M

I still didn't remember whether or not this was more than a rumor until I saw a TV spot for this. And the premise it showed seems like a fine way to continue the Men in Black series. AFTER SEEING IT -- I like time travel movies, so the fact that this presents a Men in Black movie with a time travel element made this more my kind of movie than either of the previous MIB movies. Good characters and even an emotional touch made this definitely the best of the three. <8->

16. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Thriller

78 Metascore

Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Votes: 1,299,972 | Gross: $448.14M

I am really not a fan of Christopher Nolan's Batman, and I am anticipating this a lot less than the average IMDber. But if Mr. Nolan has found a way to appropriately close the trilogy, then okay. AFTER SEEING IT -- I was right that most people would like it, and that I would not. Poor Catwoman costume designing, typical dramatic thrill, and it did not work as a Batman movie for me. And there realistically is no good way to close out any superhero franchise. <4>

17. ParaNorman (2012)

PG | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

72 Metascore

A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell | Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi

Votes: 82,101 | Gross: $56.00M

A somewhat light-hearted/dark-hearted animated movie, which may kind of be my kind of thing. AFTER SEEING IT -- It doesn't look like a very original creepy animated movie, but it was a bit better than I expected, with good character design and art direction. <7+>

18. Life of Pi (2012)

PG | 127 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

79 Metascore

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Votes: 500,557 | Gross: $124.99M

I'm more a fan of the mathematical representation of pi than the kind of Pi this is about, which is simply a character named Pi. But if the story is my kind of story, then I want to try it out. AFTER SEEING IT -- I didn't realize months ago how impressive of a visual experience this movie would be. It's one of the best movies of the year, strengthened by its visual cinematography, multi-cultural and multi-religious themes, characters, and unbelievable story. <8+>

19. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

PG | 91 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

47 Metascore

Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teenaged daughter.

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky | Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez

Votes: 187,290 | Gross: $148.31M

A fun-looking animated comedy about a monster hotel and a human who accidentally arrives there. Hmm, could be good. AFTER SEEING IT -- It was okay. I didn't really like or dislike the characters, and it had a weird/decent love story, but it also looked a little like the forgettable type of movie. <7> (NOTE: This movie was not on this list when I created the list. I only inserted it in the space that World War Z (moved to 2013) occupied, thinking I anticipated it to about the same degree.)

20. Dark Shadows (2012)

PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

55 Metascore

An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter

Votes: 218,765 | Gross: $79.73M

When I found out this was a Tim Burton and Johnny Depp movie, I knew I had to put it on my list, even if it's not exactly my kind of thing. AFTER SEEING IT -- The fact that this is based on an old soap opera had something to do with how little I ended up caring about it, and it turns out this my least favorite movie for either Mr. Burton or Mr. Depp. <5>