Us Again is the first theatrical short from Walt Disney Animation Studios in 5 years. Full of music and dance, Us Again hit home for me. It debuts in theaters before Raya and the Last Dragon and will be released on Disney+ later. Director Zach Parrish partnered with Choreographers Keone & Mari Madrid to bring this story to life.
The opening scene shows a grumpy-ish old man (Art) sitting in his chair while his wife (Dot) encourages him to come out with her. After repeatedly being turned down, she leaves without him, and he goes to find her, and has a magical night as the fountain of youth hits them both.
Zach Parris said, “It’s about taking that time to focus on what’s truly important, and what’s around you and what makes your life beautiful. Many people think that it’s about being okay with aging, and that’s a part of it too. But I think the core of the idea is less about age and more about any age not focusing on things that are holding you back. Not focusing on the past. Not focusing on anything that’s distracting you from the beauty that is the world around you.”
Keone and Mari Madrid (World of Dance) were excited to join this project, especially when they saw Art and Dot were an interracial couple. They are both children of interracial couples. Doing the choreography was like a chicken and egg process.
Producer Brad Simonsen said, “Normally you wait and do the score at the end of the movie, and you have temp music in, but we knew that we needed the actual score. So, Pinar was challenged to make the music, make a song for the movie without really having the movie yet.” But luckily when they brought in Keone and Mari, they were all on the same path and vision.
As you watch this beautiful short, you may have your own ideas what Us Again is about. Brad said there’s a physical and an emotional Us Again moment. “It’s not about becoming young, but there’s that moment where you go, ‘Oh, I guess this is about becoming young again,’ and it’s, like, no, it’s actually about emotionally being true to who you are and recognizing that world around you.”
Us Again reminded me that I do need to focus more on what’s around me instead of letting obstacles stand in my way. Us Again is beautiful from every perspective.