This Friday, March 5th, will be the release of Disney Animations’ next feature film Raya and the Last Dragon. Along with that film will be Disney Animations’ new theatrical short, Us Again. This is their first theatrical short in five years. Their last one being Inner Workings that was released with Moana.
In Us Again, led by director Zach Parrish, we see a beautiful story told with dance, music, and inspired animation. The short is told entirely without dialogue and set to an original funk and soul musical score with vibes from the mid-60s. It’s the story of an elderly couple that is trying to rekindle their youthful passion for life and one another. It’s a story that teaches us to cherish our past memories, while also enjoying our current present as there are a lot of beautiful moments that we can miss by looking back at the past.
Last week LRM Online had the opportunity to attend a press conference for Us Again. During the conversation. Parrish went talked about what led them to develop and in the end making this short. It turns out that this film was inspired by personal events that were happening in his life. He was having difficulties accepting that he was getting older.
“When I was coming up with ideas, we pitched four ideas actually in the development process. But this idea, in particular, came from a time in my life when I was kind of struggling with the changes that go along with aging. I was kind of bemoaning my aging body. I’m not a super old person, but I was starting to recognize those changes in myself. It kind of led me to these conversations that I would have with my mom where she would always talk about all the great things that she was gonna do when she grew up.” Said Parrish.
“It really made me stop and realize that I kinda had my priorities wrong.” Continued Parrish “I was looking in the wrong direction, and if I’m always looking in the past, then I’m gonna miss the beauty in the now. I’m old by my own definition, and she’s young by hers. So that idea of youth being a state of mind really got my gears turning and I really thought it’d be fun to do a fountain of youth story.”
Aging is something that we all have to go through. Everyone’s situation is different so the outlook of our next phase of life may be harder to accept than others. Never the less we should be looking to enjoy the beauty that is right in front of us. This is what Disney’s Us Again is all about.
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Now with a clear theme in mind, Parrish looked to the rich history of Disney for further inspiration. Classic Disney films have many examples of storytelling through movement and sound. “There’s a long history at Disney, of using dance as a medium to express a story. Going back to Mickey shorts and things like that. We even got to attend an event at the Academy Theater. That was about eccentric dance and animation, and their intersection. So we got-we looked at a lot of that stuff.” Said Parrish.
“I also looked at a lot of Fantasia references. It’s amazing the storytelling that they did in those short films without dialogue, driven mostly by music and movement. So as I was thinking of this idea for the film and knowing that I wanted to do the entire thing through dance, it really sparked this memory of this video that I saw. This incredible couple online. I believe they were teaching, at the time. It was to Bob Marley’s Is This is Love. They were dancing as an old couple.”
The combination of these ideas was the catalyst for making the upcoming Disney Animation short Us Again. Hopefully, through this inspiring short, we’ll all be able to appreciate whatever stage of life we are currently living in.
Disney Animation’s Us Again will accompany Raya and the Last Dragon on March 5th, 2021. Then will premiere on Disney+ in June.