Elephant: What critics are saying about Disney documentary narrated by Meghan Markle

Clémence Michallon
YouTube / Walt Disney Studios

The first reviews are in for Elephant, the new Disneynature documentary narrated by Meghan Markle

The documentary is scheduled to start streaming on Disney+ on 3 April.

It marks Meghan’s first job since stepping back from royal duties.

Elephant will be released on the same day as Dolphin Reef, narrated by Natalie Portman.

Here is what reviewers have said so far about Elephant:

Variety

(Mixed)

“Meghan Markle does an inviting version of the wholesome but amused Disney narrator singsong as she delivers lines like, ‘Shani has already lost track of Jomo. There he is!’ [Jomo twirls his trunk around in the water like a helicopter blade.] ‘What is he doing? It’s time for a pool party!’ Which looks more like a happy mud party.” (Owen Gleiberman)

The Guardian

(3/5)

“There are some fascinating scenes and set-pieces: especially a little calf having to be rescued from one pool’s churned-up mud, and the elephants getting water by tearing the bark from the Baobab trees. But again and again, Meghan is given outrageously unverifiable things to say, such as: ‘Gaia remembers these birds leading her mother to the water….’ And Shani later supposedly ‘…looks back on all the lessons she learned from Gaia.’” (Peter Bradshaw)

Empire

(3/5)

“It’s USP is that it is narrated by Suits actor Meghan Markle (here credited as Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex), her excitable tones a perfect fit for the natural-history-with-the-edges-shaved off remit.” (Ian Freer)

IndieWire

(B+)

“While Disneynature films have never shied away from the inherent danger of the outside world — the series is one of the few made for kiddie consumption that routinely features the possibility that one of its fuzzy-wuzzy lead characters will be ripped to shreds on-screen — the Duchess of Sussex’s narration keeps things light, even in the most dangerous of situations. While Meghan’s voiceover work opens the film a bit too forcefully (she mostly seems really excited to be there), she settles into an amiable, intelligent pattern soon enough, bridging the gap between entertainment and education.” (Kate Erbland)

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