US AGAIN: Disney Animation's Short For RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON Will Only Be Shown In Theaters
Written and directed by Zach Parrish, Us Again is about an older couple rekindling their zest for life, and is told only through dance and a fun- and soul-infused score.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raya and the Last Dragon will be releasing simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney+ streaming service this Friday, March 5. But for those of you hoping to catch Walt Disney Animation's newest short, Us Again, you'll have to go to the theaters to see it.
We got our first look at Us Again in the form of a vibrant and colorful image that shows a couple dancing in the middle of a busy street in the rain. As detailed by EW, Us Again "tells the story of an elderly man named Art and his young-at-heart wife Dot who rekindle their zest for life through dance one magical night."
Us Again is written and directed by Zach Parrish, Big Hero 6's head of animation. The story is somewhat inspired by Parrish's own personal feelings towards aging -- particularly the physical limitations he began feeling in his mid-30s as he was unable to play basketball as limberly as he could in his youth.
"It made me realize that if I spent all my time focused on what I thought I was missing, then I was going to miss the beauty in the present, and that really became the core idea," Parrish told EW.
Parrish also drew inspiration from his grandparents' different approaches towards aging. One set of grandparents traversed the country in an RV while the other set simply "watched life." The characters in the short, Art and Dot, are actually tributes to his paternal grandparents, Arthur and Dorothy.
In an interesting approach to storytelling, there is no dialogue in the short. The story is told entirely through dance and a fun- and soul-infused score that's composed by Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel). Parrish collaborated with dancers Keone and Mari Madrid, an older couple that went viral back in 2016 and have performed on World of Dance and worked with artists like Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish. EW detailed the work that went into bringing Us Again to life on the screen:
In the short, Art and Dot's perspectives — which initially clash — are conveyed through their expressions, body language, and, of course, dance. To make the characters' movements seem like a conversation and reflect the movie's themes, the Madrids recorded their choreography based on Parrish's own recordings of himself talking about each scene, and they'd go back and forth in this process. And perhaps in a departure from the making of other films, Toprak had to establish her score early on for the dancers to work off as well.
It sounds like a very detail-oriented and time-consuming process, but, like most things Walt Disney Animation puts out, it will probably be worth it in the end. We've only seen a poster of Us Again and already it looks like it will evoke some incredible emotion.
Us Again is Walt Disney Animation's first theatrical short in five years. Unfortunately, the only way you'll be able to watch it is if you head to theaters to watch Raya and the Last Dragon. While the feature film can also be watched on Disney+ with a $30 premium charge, the short won't arrive on the streaming service until June. That's also probably when subscribers can watch Raya and the Last Dragon without paying the $30 premium fee.