Notable 2012 movie releases pack action, humor and drama

Dec. 10, 2012

April Wefler
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While 2012 was a typical year for Hollywood in that it was packed with remakes and adaptations, it did produce a few noteworthy productions.

There’s not enough room to list all of them here, but here are just a few selections to individually catch up on over break or enjoy with family.

“The Avengers”

Available on DVD

When the Norse god of mischief, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), tries to take over the world, the Avengers step in. The group consists of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Loki’s half-brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

“The Avengers” is a well-written, action-packed treat from Joss Whedon, best known as the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The cast delivers a believable and amusing interpretation of a band of misfits charged with working together to save the world.

Every relationship, from Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) obsession with his childhood hero Captain America, to the sibling rivalry between Loki and Thor, “The Avengers” provides equal amounts of drama and humor.

“The Hunger Games”

Available on DVD

Suzanne Collins’ runaway bestseller brought dystopian storytelling to a new generation. Its much-anticipated adaptation used contrasting costumes to portray Panem, a futuristic version of the United States.

Jennifer Lawrence plays a headstrong, compassionate and determined Katniss Everdeen. The well-placed cast matches faces to the names of characters Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson).

Under the pressure of nonstop cameras, 24 children from different regions of the country must fight each other to the death. In defiance of the odds and the government itself, Katniss tries to win and avoid killing others.

Though this is not the first dystopian piece of literature, nor the first to have children kill each other for public entertainment, it is more accessible and compelling, than, say, “Lord of the Flies.” The film is a must-see for the philosophical discussions that are sure to follow.

“Wreck-It Ralph”

In theaters

When the children are away, the arcade plays. Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is tired of being the bad guy and the treatment he gets because of it.

Ralph decides to leave his game to prove to everyone that he can be the good guy. When he lands in the game of Sugar Rush, perhaps wrecking things isn’t such a bad-guy thing after all.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is a cute, funny Disney film that might even be up there with “Toy Story.” The movie is still in theaters and is a great, light-hearted choice to watch with family over the holidays or as a treat after all the stress of studying for finals.


Available on DVD

“Brave” is an unusual Disney/Pixar movie. Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a Scottish princess who dreams only of her freedom and has no interest in finding love.

When suitors participate in an archery contest for her hand, Merida also enters. When she wins, her mom is not ready to let her give up on marriage so easily and seeks out magical help.

The movie stars the voices of Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson, among others.

The animation quality of Brave shows a steady improvement in Pixar’s skilled design team. A masterful score accompanies breathtaking views of the Scottish countryside, mountains and architecture.

Merida’s mop of red hair flows and bounces, and every wrinkle of the medieval clothing is dazzling in its detail.

Unlike many princess stories, this flick isn’t about love but the power of family. It will make great entertainment for audiences of all ages.