2012 has arrived, and according to Hollywood and some ancient Mayan calendar, the world's going to end this year. But on the off-chance it doesn't, we thought we'd go ahead and share some of the movies we're looking forward to in the next few months. Here is our list of films to watch in 2012.
         

 

The Lorax
Release Date:
 March 2, 2012
Genre: Animated - Family  

Kick-starting our list is a familiar name from the annals of Dr. Seuss. The trailer for The Lorax opens with a boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) who lives in a city without trees. Desperate to win the affection of his neighbor Audrey (Taylor Swift) he sets out to find the one thing she has always wanted to see, a real tree. In the process, he happens upon the lair of the Once-ler (Ed Helms) and discovers the story of the grumpy, yet charming Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito). The film has some talented voice acting behind it (Betty White has also been cast as Ted's grandmother), and the animated release of Seuss's Horton Hears a Who! shows us the good Doctor's books have finally found a film medium they can translate to. If anything else, this new movie will probably become a favorite for families with kids and Seuss fans of all ages.
                          

 

John Carter
Release Date: March 9, 2012
Genre: Sci Fi - Action

This latest edition from Disney has "strange" written all over it, but one glimpse at the movie's trailer and you'll understand why John Carter made it onto this list. Based largely on A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the movie follows a former Confederate captain named John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) who is suddenly and inexplicably transported to the planet Mars. There he finds himself caught between the planets warring nations, led on one side by Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) on the other. The movie has a very Avatar- esque feel about it, with visuals aiming to match those of James Cameron's 2009 adventure. It also promises plenty of action and alien drama for the legions of Si Fi fans looking for a new movie to obsess over. Overall, you can't deny John Carter's got ambition, but only time will tell if this new gamble pays off.
                                             

 

The Hunger Games
Release Date:
March 23, 2012
Genre: Sci Fi action - Drama  

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, The Hunger Games tells the tale of a dystopian future where every year a group of children must enter into a battle royal and fight to the death for the entertainment of the social elite. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone, X-Men: First Class) plays Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who volunteers for the Games in order to save her sister. Her desperate situation gets even more complicated when she discovers a boy named Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) will also be competing. An act of kindness from Peeta saved Katniss and her family in the past, and the two develop a complex relationship as the brutal Games get underway. The book itself is renowned for its gripping suspense and touching scenes, and the film appears dead-set on duplicating the experience. With so much potential, this is one movie to keep an eye on.

 

The Pirates!
Release Date:
March 28
Genre: Animated - Comedy

After the last Pirates of the Caribbean many of us were ready to drop anchor on the pirate franchise altogether. Who would have guessed this upcoming Claymation comedy would put some wind back in our sails? Produced by Aardman Animations (the same company that brought you Chicken Run, and Wallace & Gromit), The Pirates! follows the exploits of the ill-named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) as he and his crew of misfit swashbucklers attempt to win the Pirate of the Year Award. There won't be smooth sailing on this voyage though, as they'll have to do battle with rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), not to mention the rampaging Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) who's out to make sure they walk the plank. The film looks like it has plenty of comedy magic for audiences to enjoy, and with a year of action-heavy movies coming up its sure to stand out. Plus, it's Claymation. What's not to like?
 

 

The Avengers
Release Date: May 4, 2012
Genre: Action - Superhero

This one should come as no surprise. For years Marvel has been teasing moviegoers with the promise of an Avengers movie, and come this summer they aim to deliver. When a dangerous enemy threatens the safety of the world, the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. must gather together Marvel Comic's most powerful heroes to defend humanity. This roster includes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), with Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics, sure to be making a cameo appearance somewhere. With so many big name actors playing so many big name heroes (and Joss Whedon at the helm as director) our Geek-o-meter is going haywire. This is one movie we are definitely going to see.
                                   

 

Snow White and The Huntsman
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Genre: Fantasy - Thriller

The "fairest of them all" fairytale has been making a comeback this year. Once Upon a Time has already turned heads on TV with its modern rendition of the tale, and Julia Roberts is set to star as the Evil Queen in another Snow White inspired 2012 movie, Mirror, Mirror. But Snow White and The Huntsman made our list because it dares to push the boundaries of this classic story, both visually and conceptually. When the tyrannical Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron, Young Adult) learns that her stepdaughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart, Twilight), will one day surpass her and become Fairest in the land, she is advised by her shape-shifting Mirror (Christopher Obi) to consume the girl's heart so she can live forever. Snow White is able to escape to the Dark Forest, but the Queen commissions the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) to hunt her down. Dark, beautiful, and primed with suspense, this ain't your Disney's Snow White.
                           

 

Prometheus
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Genre: Sci Fi - Thriller

Very little is known about the upcoming Si Fi - thriller, Prometheus. The movies poster depicts only an astronaut gazing up at a monolithic, stone head. The story, we're told, is set in the same universe as the Alien films but is not directly linked to them, and finally, the handful of trailers the studio has released show off some desolate landscapes and high-tech gadgetry, but nothing else. These teasers have some movie fans chomping at the bit, and we have to admit were among them. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do except sit back and wait until June 8th arrives.
                  

 

Brave
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Genre: Adventure - Fantasy 

Introducing Pixar's newest animated movie, Brave travels back in time to the mysterious Highlands of Scotland. Here we learn that Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), the skilled and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) is determined to follow her own path into adulthood. This means defying the age-old custom of marriage, and seeking out the eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) to help her find her freedom. We could go on, but you should have been sold at "Pixar" and "Newest animated movie".
 

 

The Dark Knight Rises
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Genre: Superhero

The Avengers may have assembled some famous caped-crusaders, but they pale in comparison to DC comics Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises is easily one of the most anticipated movies of this year, and is the last film in Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy. Eight years have passed since the events of the previous film and Gotham city is experiencing a rare calm, thanks mostly to the actions of Batman (Christian Bale) and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). This all ends with the arrival of Bane (Tom Hardy), a masked crime lord, and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), an enigmatic thief. With the two villains wreaking havoc on Gotham, the city transforms into a war zone that only the world weary Dark Knight is capable of saving. After Heath Ledger's jaw dropping performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Nolan has been hard pressed to create a film worthy of ending his trilogy, and we're starting to think he succeeded. Regardless, our fingers are crossed and we'll be seeing you at the midnight showing.
  

 

Skyfall
Release Date: October 26, 2012
Genre: Spy Thriller

After MGM filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the existence of the world's greatest secret agent was left in jeopardy. Now, almost four years later, James Bond returns for the twenty-third installment in the 007 series, Skyfall. For those of you in need of a reminder, the previous bond film, Quantum of Solace, ended with something of a cliffhanger. Bond had interrogated the villainous Mr. Greene into answering his questions about his shadowy cable and tracked down the man responsible for the death of his beloved Vesper. After that the story, much like Bonds fate with MGM, fell into limbo. Details on the new film are still sketchy, but it has been confirmed that Daniel Craig and Judi Dench will be reprising their roles as James Bond and M respectively. Javier Bardem has also been cast as the films primary villain, and Ben Whishaw is stepping in to take the role of Q, who's character was absent in the previous two films. With nothing else to report, our ears are peeled for news of Bond's next assignment.
     

 

The Great Gatsby
Release Date: December, 2012
Genre: Literature - Romance

Rejoice all you English Majors; F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel will be hitting the big screen sometime near the end of 2012. For those of you who didn't major in literature (or just fell asleep in English class) let's take a moment to backtrack and fill you in on the story. The Great Gatsby is set in New York just after WWI, at the start of the roaring twenties. Nick Carraway (portrayed here by Tobey Maguire), a Yale graduate hoping to learn the bond business, rents a house next to the mansion of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) a mysterious host of regular parties. Nick soon finds himself visiting the home of his nearby cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton), who he quickly learns are somehow connected with Gatsby. Cut to drama and love triangles, which ensue as the story unfolds. Odds are this movie will hit a niche audience but we wouldn't be surprised if it also made a grab for some Oscar nominations while it was out. Either way, you should pay attention as it's likely to become this years "date movie".
                            

 

Lincoln
Release Date:
December, 2012
Genre: Historical - Drama

Steven Spielberg's biographical drama, Lincoln, has been making waves since late October of 2011. The film will focus on the last few months of Lincoln's life as he strove to abolish slavery and bring an end to the civil war amidst the troubles of home and congress. The cast for this film looks like an Oscar party guest list and we can't help but think the directors were trying to kill two birds with one stone here. Daniel Day-Lewis will portray President Abraham Lincoln, with Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as their oldest son Robert Todd Lincoln. Other notable names include Tommy Lee Jones, Lee Pace, David Strathairn, Jared Harriess, and a wealth of others playing an assortment of generals or senators. There may not be much to go on right now but make no mistake; this movie is going to be big.
            

 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release Date: December, 2012
Genre: Epic Fantasy  

It's finally here. For the three years between 2001 and 2003, the month of December took on a whole new meaning. People didn't just anticipate the arrival of Christmas and snow; they also anticipated the release of the next movie in The Lord of the Rings saga. Peter Jackson's breathtaking adaptions of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novels rocked audiences everywhere, and ever since The Return of the King took home the Oscar for best picture, audiences have been praying that the adventure wouldn't end there. This December, their prayers will be answered with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films directed by Peter Jackson. As a prequel to Tolkien's trilogy, The Hobbit reveals how Bilbo Baggins (played here by Martin Freeman) first met the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and joined him on his journey to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor for the dragon Smaug. The film will have plenty of new characters, along with some familiar faces, and it will likely become this year's blockbuster. So when you have a free minute, visit the library and catch up on your elvish, Middle Earth is returning this December.                      

*This article first published 1/17/2012