In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Animal Kingdom prepares a multi-day Earth Day celebration.
  • The expansion of Disney monorails may soon pause.
  • And more!

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(Infinity and Beyond is a regular bi-weekly column documenting the 25-year filmography of Pixar Animation Studios, film by film. In today’s column, writer Josh Spiegel highlights Monsters, Inc.)

Thursday, November 1, 2001 ought to have been a very exciting day for Pete Docter. The stalwart Pixar animator, writer, and director was just hours away from a true milestone: the first feature film bearing his name as director was going to be released in theaters nationwide. It would be the fourth feature film from Pixar Animation Studios, and a milestone for the Emeryville, California studio: this was going to be their first film not directed by John Lasseter. It was going to be another wholly original story with an incredibly high-concept hook, big-name stars, and solid interest from audiences.

The day should have been exciting. But Pete Docter was nowhere near Hollywood, or even Emeryville, that day. He was stuck in a courthouse in Wyoming, where lawyers representing Pixar would have to convince a judge to allow Monsters, Inc. to be released at all.

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millenium falcon smugglers run at star wars galaxys edge

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim is getting FastPass.
  • What’s coming next for Disney California Adventure?
  • And more!

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Colin Trevorrow Galaxy's Edge

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • A Star Wars show is closing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Take a look at the concept art for a Studio Ghibli theme park.
  • And more!

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Sonic the Hedgehog Review

Who is Sonic the Hedgehog for? What is the target audience for a film that wants to take its cues from Deadpool but also family films about the Easter Bunny? Ostensibly, children should want very badly to see this movie adaptation of the long-running Sega video game about an extremely fast blue animal. But Sonic the Hedgehog can’t figure out if its audience is the parents of those children — those of us who grew up with the first iteration of Sonic — or kids themselves. The result is what may be one of the last acts of a desperate movie studio, so intent on mining intellectual property for all it’s worth and unable to realize they’ve hit the bottom of the barrel.

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Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway opening date

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is getting FastPass+.
  • A Disney ride got an unexpected…amputation of sorts.
  • And more!

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The old-fashioned concept of movie stardom, depending on how you look at it, has been on life support for a long time or just flat-out dead. The premise is simple: actors open a movie, not intellectual property. But even if you had a slightly more positive outlook on the state of movie stardom, the recent film Dolittle should have served as the final nail in the coffin of any hopes you had for a 21st-century movie star. That film’s stumbles at the box office are only further evidence that we no longer have movie stars, just franchises.

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In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Two Disneyland attractions are getting FastPass.
  • Tokyo Disney Resort is getting a brand-new monorail.
  • And more!

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In an era where feature animation often feels as if it’s driven solely by computers, it remains heartening for any fans of the medium that Netflix is supporting artists who are willing to tell animated stories with other methods. Last year, two of the streaming service’s standout films—Klaus and I Lost My Body—utilized hand-drawn styles as much as computer animation, using the art form to craft unique stories. Now, just a few weeks into the new year, we have Netflix’s latest domestic feature acquisition, the stop-motion animated A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. Mouthy title aside, this follow-up to the 2016 Shaun the Sheep Movie is a charming, if somewhat slighter return to the rural countryside where the eponymous sheep gets into mischief.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

new walking dead spin-off

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • An attraction themed to The Walking Dead is closing in March.
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has a marquee.
  • And more!

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