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Top 15 Family Movies of 2012: Rise of the Guardians, Wreck-It Ralph & More

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Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians | DreamWorks

Now that we’re heading into 2013, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite family movies in 2012. They range from a familiar clown fish to an adventurous hobbit to a brave Irish princess.

1. Frankenweenie. I did not expect to love this movie as much as I did, but I really fell for it. Tim Burton re-imagines the classic Frankenstein story, only this time, it’s a young boy named Victor who brings his beloved dog back to life. Smashing story. Beautiful animation. Disney; rated PG for thematic elements, scary images and action. Frankenweenie Review

Buy It: Frankenweenie (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)

2. Hotel Transylvania. Who knew monsters needed a place to get away from it all, too? That’s when they turn to Hotel T, run by Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his teenage daughter (Selena Gomez). But when a human boy (Andy Samberg) stumbles onto the place and falls for her, Drac goes into overprotective mode. Sony; rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images. 

Buy It: Hotel Transylvania (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)

3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Ah, what a delight to see our old friends from the shire again, along with some new ones. Martin Freeman plays the reluctant Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug. Warner Bros.; rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images. The Hobbit Review

4. Rise of the Guardians. One of the few family movies released this holiday season, this beautifully animated tale finds the Immortal Guardians — Santa, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy — teaming up to protect the innocence of children around the world from an evil spirit named Pitch. DreamWorks; rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. Rise of the Guardians Review

Buy It: Rise of the Guardians (Two-Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy +UltraViolet +2 Hopping Toy Eggs)

5. Wreck-It Ralph. A video game villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream. But his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives. Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch also voice characters in this sweet, heartwarming and fast-paced story. Disney; rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence. Wreck-It Ralph Review

Buy It: Wreck It Ralph (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph | Disney

6. The Odd Life of Timothy Green. C.J. Adams plays a boy who grew out of a box in the garden. Not at all as creepy as it sounds, and Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play his parents. Disney; rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language. The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review

Buy It: The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

7. Finding Nemo. Everyone’s favorite clown fish resurfaced in theaters this year in 3D, and I couldn’t have been happier to go watch the fish tale on the big screen again. The new DVD/blu-ray release  is magnificent and worth revisiting the story of  loss, parental love, and thrilling adventure. Grab shell, dude! Pixar; rated G.  

Buy It: Finding Nemo (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)

8. Brave. One of my absolute favorite family movies of 2012, this sweet, hopeful and empowering tale from Disney Pixar about an Irish princess who doesn’t need a man to determine her fate is a must-see for, well, everyone. Don’t miss it. Pixar; rated PG for some scary action and rude humor. Brave Review

Buy It: Brave (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)

Brave

Brave | Pixar

9. Ice Age: Continental Drift. Released on DVD/blu-ray Dec. 11, this fun installment to the franchise finds Manny, Diego, Sid, Ellie, Scrat, and a bunch of new characters attempting to overcome an earth-shattering (truly) continental rift that shapes our world as we know it. Fox; rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril. 

Buy It: Ice Age: Continental Drift (3D Combo Pack) [Blu-ray]

10. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. It’s an environmental story! A love story! A cute family tale! Yes, this story about inflatable trees, fast cars, and air quality so poor that the residents are forced to purchase bottled fresh air is not to be missed, especially since it features the joyful voices of Zac Efron and Taylor Swift. Universal; rated PG for brief mild language. 

Buy It: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Combo Pack (Two Discs: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)

11. Madagascar 3: America’s Most Wanted. This third installment of the franchise finds the penguins and lemur King Julien XIII flying off in a monkey-powered plane to visit the casinos of Monte Carlo, leaving Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman to embark on a great rescue mission. DreamWorks; rated PG for some mild action and rude humor. 

Buy It: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy + UltraViolet and Rainbow Wig)

12. The Secret World of Arrietty. This quiet, magical film brings the classic Borrowers to life in a beautiful way, as seen through the imaginative eye of Japanese writer Hayao Miyazaki. Simply gorgeous. Disney; rated G. 

Buy It: The Secret World of Arrietty (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty | Disney

13. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Fun tale with tons of bonus features and Josh Hutcherson playing a teen who embarks on a journey to find his grandfather on a remote island. Mom’s new hubby (Dwayne Johnson) goes along to keep an eye on things and play the ukulele. Warner Bros.; rated PG for some adventure action, and brief mild language. 

Buy It: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / UltraViolet Digital Copy)

14. The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Aardman Animations works its magic in this cute story about a Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) who sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Amazing voice cast includes Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant and Jeremy Piven. Sony; Rated PG for mild action, rude humor and some language. 

Buy It: The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD)

15. Big Miracle. It’s all about the whales in this sweet story that finds Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski in Alaska saving three whales trapped in the ice. It’s also based on a true story, and always fun to see the real people over the end credits. Universal; rated PG for language. 

Buy It: Big Miracle (BD Combo Disc + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) [Blu-ray]

Jane Boursaw is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Her credits include hundreds of print and online publications, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Variety, Moviefone, TV Squad and more. Follow her on Twitter at @reellifejane.

Jane Boursaw has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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