Disney is offering a special treat for those who decide to see “Raya and the Last Dragon” on the big screen.
What’s going on
Collider reports that theatrical screenings of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming film, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” will be accompanied by the animation studio’s first new short in five years.
Though “Raya” will be available to watch both in theaters and at home on Disney+ (for an added fee of course), the new short, titled “Us Again,” is being released in theaters only, at least for the time being.
On Sunday, the official Disney Animation Twitter account posted a still image from the new short showing a young couple dancing in the middle of a rainy, neon lit city street.
Young at ❤️. See Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest short “Us Again”, directed by Zach Parrish and dances choreographed by Keone & Mari, only in theaters before Raya and the Last Dragon starting March 5. pic.twitter.com/Nxc83p3GYF— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) February 15, 2021
According to Collider, “Us Again” will be the first theatrically-released Disney Animation short film since “Inner Workings,” aired before “Moana” in 2016. The site reports that “Us Again” will make its streaming debut on Disney+ in June.
The new short is directed by Zach Parrish, who previously served as the head of animation for 2014’s “Big Hero 6,” according to Deadline. The site adds that Brad Simonsen (who also worked on “Big Hero 6”) produced the new short and Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer, served as its executive producer.
Award-winning dancers/choreographers Keone and Mari Mardrid, who’ve previously collaborated with Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish, lent their talents to the new dialogue-free short and Pinar Toprak, the composer behind “Captain Marvel,” provided its score, according to Collider.
What is ‘Us Again’ about?
Deadline reports that “Us Again” tells the story of an elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindling their youthful passion for life (and each other) during one magical night in a vibrant, music-filled city. The joy of dancing propels the couple across the cityscape as they relive their youth and revisit memories and ambitions.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Parrish drew from his own life experience as inspiration for the new short. The site reports that the director began to feel down about aging once he reached his mid-30s; he became aware of the physical limitations associated with aging as he found himself unable to participate in sports, particularly basketball, as well as he could when he was younger.
“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 said (via Entertainment Weekly).
The director added that he was also inspired by the different ways his grandparents navigated aging. Entertainment Weekly reports that Parrish saw one set of grandparents spend their later years traveling the country in an RV while the other set ‘watched life’ pass by.
According to Parrish, “Us Again” is about the importance of being present. He said (via Entertainment Weekly), “It’s about remembering to enjoy the ride no matter what your age is. And to look at the world around you and realize how special it is.”