Animated movies have come a long way since their inception in 1937 with the release of Walt Disney Pictures’ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While animation is one of the most innovative filmmaking practices, it’s also the one that shows its age quicker as animation technology is constantly changing. Even movies released a decade ago can feel dated.
However, while the animation may not feel as crisp as audiences are used to today, the stories of these decade-old movies still live up to expectations. From Pixar’s first Princess movie to breathtaking stop motions and a handful of sequels, 2012 was a big year for animated movies.
The Lorax – March 2nd
Stream On Peacock
Adapted from the beloved Dr. Seuss children’s book, The Lorax was 2012’s first major animated movie of the year. Not only is the story iconic, but they managed to get iconic talent to voice these characters including Betty White, Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, and Ed Helms.
The story centers on Ted, a 12-year-old, who is determined to find a “real tree” to impress his longtime crush. This proves difficult since their town is void of nature until Ted’s grandmother tells him the legend of the Once-ler and Lorax which sends Ted out on a quest to track them down.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits – April 27th
Stream On HBO Max
In a lot of ways, The Pirates! Band of Misfits was arguably the most underrated animated movie released in 2012 despite being one of Aardman Animation’s best movies.
The movie centers on The Pirate Captain who has made it his mission in life to finally win the coveted Pirate of the Year title and beat his rivals. Determined not to lose this year, The Pirate Captain takes his crew on an adventure unlike any other which leads them to cross paths with some interesting characters.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – June 8th
Stream On Netflix, Peacock, & Amazon Prime
Despite being one of DreamWork’s longest-running franchises, the Madagascar series doesn’t always get the praise it deserves. 2012 saw the release of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, the franchise’s third movie and first to be released in 3D.
Finally out of Africa, the gang is still on their quest to make it back to their home at the New York Central Park Zoo. However, the gang hits another snag when they end up in Europe tracking down the penguins and chimps who committed a crime.
Brave – June 22nd
Stream On Disney+
For literal decades, Disney Animation Studios had been the powerhouse of animated Princess stories but in 2012 Pixar gave it a shot. Despite not being hailed as Pixar’s best movie, Brave did go on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Brave centers on Merida, the eldest and only daughter of the Scottish King and Queen. Frustrated with her family’s old-fashioned traditions, Merida is determined to bring about change to her Kingdom. However, when she relies on an old witch to help her things get out of hand.
Ice Age: Continental Drift – July 13th
Stream On Disney+ & Max Go
The Ice Age franchise is arguably some of the best Blue Sky Studios movies of all time. In fact, Ice Age: Continental Drift became the highest-grossing animated movie of 2012 beating out both Disney and Pixar Studios.
The fourth entry in the franchise, Ice Age: Continental Drift follows the gang as they deal with their continent being split apart thanks to Scrat and his hunt for his beloved acorn. As they attempt to reunite, Sid, Manny, and Diego encounter a wild pirate and his ragtag crew.
ParaNorman – August 17th
Stream On Netflix
2012 was a big year for animation, especially for LAIKA Studios, which produced one of their best movies yet, ParaNorman. It also marked the first time stop motion utilized 3D color printers according to Wired.
The movie centers on Norman Babcock. a young boy who has the ability to talk to the dead. With his powers, Norman is tasked with saving his town from a centuries-old curse that has led zombies to ruse from their graves and terrorize his town.
Hotel Transylvania – September 28th
Stream On Peacock
Adam Sandler has been a staple in comedy movies for decades, but in 2012 he entered the world of animation with the release of Hotel Transylvania. The move paid off since the movie is now, Sandler’s most successful according to Box Office Mojo.
The movie begins when Count Dracula (Sander) throws a lavish birthday party for his daughter Mavis at his esteemed hotel. However, things take a turn when a human accidentally checks into the hotel and begins falling in love with Mavis.
Frankenweenie – October 5th
Stream On Disney+
Tim Burton and Walt Disney Pictures teamed up again in 2012 to release the stop-motion movie Frankenweenie. Upon its release, it became the first black-and-white and first stop-motion movie to release in IMAX 3D.
Frankenweenie is a parody of Frankenstein and centers on young Victor who manages to bring his dead dog back to life with a science experiment. All is great in his life until his classmates steal his secret and begin resurrecting other dead animals they find in their town.
Wreck-It Ralph – November 9th
Stream On Disney+
Walt Disney Animation Studios’s contribution to animated movies of 2012 was Wreck-It Ralph. The movie went on to be a commercial and critical success and even broke Walt Disney Animation Studios’ opening weekend record at the time.
The original film centered on Ralph, a classic arcade-game villain who is tired of always being seen as the “bad guy.” In an attempt to prove he can be the hero, Ralph abandons his game and tries to become the hero in other games which ends up having cataclysmic effects.
Rise Of The Guardians – November 21st
Stream On Netflix & Amazon Prime
DreamWorks Animation released another underrated movie in 2012 with the release of Rise of the Guardians. It also marked the feature directorial debut for Peter Ramsey who went on to co-direct Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Rise of the Guardians begins when immortal Guardians like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny are put in danger by a boogeyman named Pitch Black. The Guardians’ only hope lies with teenage Jack Frost who must face off against Pitch Black to save the world.
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