Disney movies are pretty well known for making us cry. Not that they’re all sad, but the storytelling is so powerful that whether the tears are from some part of the story, the relatability of the characters, the music, or even the sheer magic of the picture, it can move people to tears. Us Again from Walt Disney Animation Studios accomplishes this in only six minutes, and even its creators cry every time they see it.
Us Again is a beautiful story that tells contrasting perspectives on aging. There’s Art, who sees getting older as a loss of everything he loved about life. His wife, Dot, on the other hand, sees it as a new experience for them to go through together. I was so moved by this short that even when I watched it a few more times to look for all the easter eggs, I still cried. When I spoke with the creators for an interview with CinemaBlend, they said they do as well. Here’s what producer Brad Simonsen and composer Pinar Torak said:
Pinar: I absolutely cry each time.
Brad: When you make the movie - I've seen it in every form multiple times and I watched the darn thing even on my computer monitor. I mean, imagine...when I got to finally see it in the theater, because we finished it during COVID, just [flowing tears].
Us Again is one of those projects where you can just feel the amount of passion and love that went into making it. Everyone who touched the project brought personal experience to it and was really invested not just in the film’s success, but also in telling a meaningful story that resonates with people. It’s so beautiful to see how proud they are of this art they created.
I also spoke with director Zach Parrish and reference choreographers Keone and Mari. They walked through the step-by-step process of how they built the world of Us Again, a place where dance is the method of communication. When they saw the finished product, the reactions were totally in awe of their own work. In their own words:
Mari: Wow. Well, I don't think it was quite finished, but I remember the first time we got sent a draft where I believe they were still finishing up rain stuff and lighting still hadn't been implemented, but it was much more fleshed out than anything that we've seen yet. And I think, I feel like we were shaking and…
Keone: I think there’s footage of us reacting.
Zach: I'm pretty sure there is footage of it. I’m pretty sure they're going to put it out there.
Mari: Just crying, not just at the end but like crying the whole time. I remember even getting sent like the previous stuff, which was very rough, like cuts of people kind of going through this world. And even just seeing that Steamboat Mickey in the beginning, it was just, it always hits us like, wow, I can't believe that we're getting to work on something like this. This is incredible. And it still hits us every time I get to talk about it, every time I watch it again. I remember that it’s real, that it wasn't just a dream that happened. But it's very it makes me very proud and very honored to be part of that part of it.
Keone: [The crying is] more often times than not, for sure.
Zach: Yeah. I don't know why I'm crying every time I'm crying, but I'm like, I should know what's coming, but yes, I do, every time.
Well, now we know to be on the lookout for the release of that footage showing world-renowned choreographers Keone and Mari reacting to seeing Us Again for the first time. The film is visually stunning, the rain looks absolutely real, and the marriage of song and dance throughout is seamless. Every element of Us Again works together to tell this story of embracing all aspects of life and not letting your inner child die.