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The 5 Best Animated Films Of 2012

Our Animation correspondent Joshua Mitchell discusses his picks of 2012.
Generally speaking, 2012 has had lots of fantastic animated features. Certainly recovering from last year’s dry spell, with only a few animated films worth watching, 2012 has proved to be one of the better years for animation. I have personally selected what I believe to be the 5 best animated films of the year. You would be doing yourself a favor to read this list and rent a few of these. This list is in backward order, with my fifth favorite animated film of the year being listed first, and my favorite animated film of the year being listed last.

5. Frankenweenie (Directed by Tim Burton)
'Frankenweenie' is basically the 'Rango' of 2012. Featuring dozens of references from various horror films, movie buffs were delighted by 'Frankenweenie'’s various in-jokes. 'Frankenweenie' also has a lot of heart, and a ridiculously absurd and hectic finale. Also sporting marvelous Claymation and outrageous character designs, 'Frankenweenie' is a treat for Tim Burton fans and horror lovers. 

4. Wreck-It Ralph (Directed by Rich Moore)
To be blunt, video game movies are usually garbage, but don’t dismiss 'Wreck-It Ralph' because of the reputation of other films in the same vein, as 'Wreck-It Ralph' is one of the most clever and hilarious films of the year. It features dozens upon dozens of references to various video games. You’ll see characters like Bowser, Sonic the Hedgehog, Q*Bert and dozens others. It’s parody-like humor won’t leave videogame noobs in the dark; the surprisingly moving story and jaw-dropping visuals will keep everyone else engaged and extremely entertained.

3. The Pirates! Band of Misfits or The Pirates! In an Adventures With Scientists (Directed by Peter Lord)
Sadly, 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' has passed under the radar of many of the major film award ceremonies so far. This is quite disappointing because 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' is one of the greatest Claymation films of all time! 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' kept me in stitches for most of the run time. When I didn’t have a big silly grin on my face, I was laughing uncontrollably. Outside of the excellent sight gags and witty dialogue, the wonderfully skillful Claymation is another plus. Loads of fun, and masterfully made, 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' is Aardman’s crowning achievement (and deserves a lot more attention than it’s been getting.

2. La Luna (Directed by Enrico Casarosa)
The legitimacy of this addition to the list may seem a bit questionable. For one, it’s a short film. For another, it’s technically a 2011 release. My response to the latter point is that most audiences didn’t actually see it until 2012 (where it was paired with 'Brave' in cinemas). My response to the former point is that this was such a beautiful and magical piece of art that it simply had to be shared here. Even at its brief run time (less than 7 minutes), 'La Luna' enchants and certainly deserved the Oscar nomination that it received at the 84th Academy Awards (considering the competition, it certainly should’ve won). 

1. Brave (Directed by Mark Andrews)
After the critical disappointment of 'Cars 2', Pixar is back on track with another masterpiece: 'Brave'.  Brave has everything that’s made Pixar the beloved studio it is today: eye-popping animation, broadly appealing humor, memorable characters, and a story with loads of depth and lots and lots of heart. Any worries about Pixar’s ability to produce masterpieces after 'Cars 2' should no longer exist, for I can proudly proclaim 'Brave' to be one of the stronger Pixar efforts (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), and the cinematic highlight of the year, animated or not.

And that’s my top 5 for the year.  Thanks for reading, and please do yourself a favor and check some of these out; you won’t regret it.  I didn’t!

Joshua LF Mitchell