Kids' Movies to Watch for in 2012

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Universal Pictures' Dr. Seuss The Lorax - 2012
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Universal Pictures' Dr. Seuss The Lorax - 2012

The New Year is coming! Yes, it's almost time to throw out 2011 and move on to the new and exciting things of 2012. My 8-year-old daughter Sonora and I, being a pair of very prudent movie lovers, have already decided what children's movies we're looking most forward to checking out in the New Year. Below are our picks for the must-see 2012 kids' movies:

"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" (March 2, 2012)

Why we are looking forward to it: The Lorax is one of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters. The book has been a constant bedtime story, and Sonora even has a stuffed Lorax to sleep with. We love that the book teaches a respect for nature and the need for preservation of our forests and resources.

Concerns: The movie seems to be going for a romantic angle that wasn't present in the book. Also, I wonder if this is just an attempt to make easy money off Dr. Seuss's ever-popular work (this is the third Seuss-based film to be released by Universal). I hope the point of the story isn't lost in the attempt to add more "entertainment value."

"Dorothy of Oz" (Summer 2012)

Why we are looking forward to it: Anyone who has seen the classic "The Wizard of Oz" wonders what will happen next to Dorothy. This movie will put a new spin on it, of course, but you cannot help associating the two. Also, the vocal cast includes, among others, Lea Michele, Kelsey Grammer, and Patrick Stewart.

Concerns: "The Wizard of Oz" is a lot to live up to, and I worry that the portrayal of some characters may be inappropriate to the storyline. To put it bluntly, I just don't want to see random toilet humor or hip-hop/rock star jokes (i.e. Smurfs "rapping") coming from these beloved characters for the sake of making kids laugh. Such tactics are just tired at this point. Luckily, "Dorothy of Oz" isn't being produced by DreamWorks.

"The Secret World of Arrietty" (February 17, 2012)

Why we are looking forward to it: Sonora and I have been very pleased with what we've seen from Studio Ghibli in the past ("Ponyo," "Howl's Moving Castle," "Kiki's Delivery Service," etc.). The animation is beautiful and the stories are fun and imaginative. We expect that this new one, based on Mary Norton's novel "The Borrowers," will be on par with the others we've seen and enjoyed before.

Concerns: We'll probably have to wait until the DVD release to see it because these anime features never make it to our tiny local theater!

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits"(March 30, 2012)

Why we are looking forward to it: It's a story about pirates battling for a "Pirate of the Year Award" and teaming up with Charles Darwin. If that doesn't sound cool to you, then I don't know what will. Also, it's stop-motion, which my daughter and I tend to enjoy.

Concerns: I hope the filmmakers are not relying on a star cast (Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, etc.) and a pirate-based premise to get by with a weak script.

"The Odd Life of Timothy Green" (August 15, 2012)

Why we are looking forward to it: Honestly, it's strictly curiosity. The trailer is intriguing: Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play an infertile couple who would like a child. After being told they cannot possibly have a baby, they write a bunch of characteristics they'd like their child to have on note paper, put the notes in a box, and bury the box in the garden. Later that night, a little boy shows up. Huh?

Concerns: It may actually be "Cabbage Patch Kid: The Movie." You never know what studios are going to base a movie on next.

More from this Contributor:

Seven Excellent Children's Books Recommended by a Child

'The Artist' and Other Films About the Silent Era

The Paducah Film Society in Paducah, Kentucky

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