In Part I, I shared three films I’m looking forward to that will be released in the next month. Here’s another three-film installment to my “Anticipating in 2012” list, this time featuring slightly more distant release dates.

4. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax; March 2, 2012 – If the “Dr. Seuss” addition to the title wasn’t enough of a clue for you, this is an animated film based on the beloved children’s story by the same title. A young boy (voiced by Zac Efron) goes on a search for a living tree in order to win the affection of his dream girl (voiced by Taylor Swift). In order to be successful in his mission, he must take a journey to discover the story of a grumpy little creature called the Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito). I don’t remember reading the original Dr. Seuss tale as a kid, so if I did, it obviously didn’t make much of an impression on me.  The trailer for this film adaptation, however, caught my attention. Having seen the trailer on the big screen a few times, as well as an “AMC Theatres’ First Look” special about the film (because I’m always an early bird at the theater), it seems to me that this will be a very cute film with a somewhat environmentalist message. I can only hope that they don’t ruin the potential of it by adding in about 350 pop culture references and passing them off as jokes, which seems to have become common in children’s films.

5. Disney Nature’s Chimpanzee; April 20, 2012 – Another film geared toward children! Never would I have guessed that so many children’s films would be appearing on my “must see” list. The recent trend of “put it all in 3-D and fill it with dumb jokes about Facebook” has had me avoiding nearly everything with an MPAA rating of “G” or “PG.” Given that Chimpanzee will allow me to skip the 3-D glasses and shouldn’t contain any social networking “jokes,” I guess it isn’t such a far off choice for me. I’m a bit obsessed with primates after taking a whole class about them last semester, and have always been a sucker for animal movies in general. The 2011 installment of the Disney Nature series, African Cats, had me in tears. I’m 99% sure that this will be a favorite of the year.

6. Moonrise Kingdom; May 25, 2012 (limited) – Set in the mid-20th century? Check. Shot on 16mm? Check. Dramatic plot centered around a “let’s run away together” romance that completely turns a town upside down? Check! I’m not too crazy about the cast of this film, which seems to be the one thing it doesn’t have going for it. In particular, I’ve never been a fan of Bruce Willis, who has top billing on the Moonrise Kingdom IMDb page. However, I think the plot (as well as some stellar performances from actors I’m not yet familiar enough with to judge – I’m looking at you, Tilda Swinton!) will save this one.

The Lorax poster credit: