Synopsis: Set in a vibrant city pulsating with rhythm and movement, an elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindle their youthful passion for life and each other on one magical night.
Director: Zach Parrish
Running Length: 7 minutes
TMMM Score: (6/10)
Review: Now that we watch so many movies from home, I’ve been missing not just the previews (yes, I still occasionally do watch the previews) but the short cartoons that would often play before the feature length animated movies. Actually, calling them cartoons suggests they are pitched strictly toward younger children when over the past two decades they’ve evolved into mini masterpieces that speak, somehow, to all ages. Pixar is the crown jewel for making these and have multiple Oscars for Best Animated Short to prove it but Walt Disney Animation is no slouch either. There’s a wide array of these, along with their SparkShorts series available on Disney+ but it’s been over five years since Walt Disney Animation premiered one of their own shorts in front of one of their films.
The release of Raya and the Last Dragon brings about the debut of Us Again, a colorful dialogue-free tale that spends the majority of its time coasting by on warm smiles from the audience. It’s only in the last minute or so that it pulls out the heart that we’ve been waiting for and, by and large, it’s worth it. The story is paper thin: old man prefers to stay indoors while his wife wants to get out and embrace every day with joy. Obviously at an impasse and wondering how to find the magic they once had, a rain shower transforms them into their younger selves while under its droplets. Through this transfigurative gift, they dance throughout the groovy city and remember how music and movement united them. It can’t rain forever though, so what happens after? It may meander a tad but it winds up with a poignant message we can all learn something from. Plus, the animation is glorious and director Zach Parrish (moving up the ranks after serving as an animator for Frozen II and Big Hero 6) doesn’t overstuff the tiny tale with excess business so the storytelling doesn’t need words to convey the emotion.
Us Again is playing before Raya and the Last Dragon now if you see it in theaters but not through the Premier Access on Disney+ if you’re paying to watch Raya at home. If you can wait until June, it will be available for free on Disney+