Us Again, Disney Animation's first theatrical short film in five years, debuted on Disney+ last week. The film, which saw theatrical release with Raya and the Last Dragon earlier this year, tells the story of the elderly Art and his young-at-heart wife, Dot, and sees the pair rekindling their zest for life one magical night through dance. The film has no dialogue and is instead the story, including Art's focus on his lost youth, is told entirely through dance. Now, the film's director Zach Parish and dancers Keone and Mari Madrid reveal the message they hope audiences take from the film.
"For me, it's there's kind of the core message, which is if you spend your time focused on the past, which I think you can replace the past with really anything that is not the present, you're going to miss the beauty in the present," Parish told ComicBook.com. "I think that, to me, is Art's kind of core problem that that is illustrated through the film. But I've always had this kind of secondary wish with the film, which is for younger audience members to look at their grandparents differently and to see them as young people like, "Oh, you were young and there's a young person in there." And old people are just kids in old people bodies. I still feel like the same 12-year-old kid running around playing in the rain as I ever had. So I just don't look like it anymore."
For the Madrids, they hoped viewers took away messages about presence and the importance of being in the now.
"It's that core message. It's presence, just that puts everything else in perspective, no matter where your brain is at or whether it's anxiously ahead in the future 10 years, and it doesn't need to be, or back in the past 20 years and you're just distracted," Mari said. "It's just that simple message of coming to your present time and paying attention to the loved ones around you. And it puts everything in perspective. It makes you enjoy them. And it also brings your perspective into the right state. Yeah, to just live happily I think."
"And it's so relatable, not just to age, but to a general presence. We find ourselves looking down at our devices so often and Art is looking up at rain all the time and sort of seeing what's in front of him," Keone added. "And I think that's so relatable to a world that we live in today, especially coming out of a time where a lot of us were like Art in our living rooms constantly flipping through streaming platforms to see what's on. And I think that it's timely, of course, unintentionally but intentionally at the same time because these are timeless stories. So yeah, just being present."
Us Again is now streaming on Disney+.