Well, it finally happened. Disneynature’s documentary, Elephant, made its debut with the much-talked-about Meghan Markle narration. And the critics were not too kind.
But while onlookers may be divided upon how they feel about Meghan Markle, a majority of critics–especially in the United Kingdom–were in agreement that the actress and former royal’s performance was very much subpar. They gave Elephant 3/5 stars, each being sure to distinguish Markle’s “over eager to please” narration with the still-amazing cinematography.
While the production team may have created a visual spectacle set to David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, her voice was far from it.
Inside the Magic has kept up with the story involving Markle’s mysterious gig with Disney that may or may not have been the result of a very forward conversation her husband Prince Harry has with then-Disney CEO Bob Iger at the premiere of The Lion King. But now we learn the final result.
Times critic, Ed Potten was notably critical of Markle’s performance, saying:
“The silken tones that Meghan employed on the legal series ‘Suits’ and which were often muzzled during her time as a full-time royal are now given free rein,” Potton wrote on Tuesday.
“And yes, she certainly has an actor’s way with a phrase and a likeable sense of mischief. “Oh! Who did that?” she coos in mock disgust when one of the elephant calves breaks wind. The sense of performance, though, often feels overegged. Even the underwhelming moment in which the elephants rip some bark off a tree is presented like the announcement of the winner for best picture.”
Potten claimed the actress traded “pomp and circumstance for schmaltz and cheesiness,” and declared the whole documentary to be a shallow example of the anti-poaching film it was supposed to be.
But other critics were not so harsh delivering what can be seen as back-handed compliments for the documentary’s apparently-childish nature that was brought home by Markle’s performance. She was credited with being on “the right side of annoying” by Empire’s critic Ian Freer, and “an inviting version of the wholesome but amused Disney narrator singsong” by Variety’s critic, Owen Gleiberman.
One of the nicest reviews comes from Telegraph critic, Robbie Collin, who denotes Markle’s performance and the documentary as a whole to children’s programming. He said, “If you’re home-schooling at present, consider your Friday morning’s activities taken care of.”
Disney’s Elephant was directed by Planet Earth veterans Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz. Markle was given the role after making a donation to the Botswana-based non-profit called Elephants without Borders. It will be available for streaming on Disney+ on April 3, 2020. According to Fox News, as of April 1, 2020, neither Meghan or Harry will hold an official position at Buckingham Palace.