Remember when Meghan Markle doing voiceover work for Disney was just a theory? Well, now we’re just days away from the documentary dropping on Disney+, complete with the selling point in the trailer: “Narrated by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.”
So what do critics think of Disneynature: Elephant? Not the cinematography and editing, obviously. Disneynature docs are always top notch when it comes to showing animal life around the world. No, we want to know about the reviews of Meghan’s debut as a narrator!
After we watched Prince Harry shamelessly pitch her to CEO Bob Iger at the Lion King premiere, we just have to know if she actually brings some of that Suits talent to the table — or if it’s total stunt casting.
So here’s what some critics had to say:
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: “…an awe-inspiring phenomenon which Meghan matches with her own spectacular torrents of schmaltz. She takes to Disney-narration like an anthropomorphic duck to water.”
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “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!’”
Kate Erbland, IndieWire: “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.”
Ian Freer, Empire: “For her part, Markle’s delivery of the commentary is wholesome and over-eager to please (‘It’s time for a pool party!’ ‘Wait a minute! Who’s this guy?’ ‘Oh, look who’s cut in front of the line? Oh, Jomo!’) but just about stays the right side of annoying.”
George Simpson, The Express: “Meghan comes across very warmly, with most of her lines sounding like she’s beaming fondly at the elephants we’re watching. At times this can be a bit cheesy and sentimental in a classic American Disney kind of way.”
Ed Potton, The Times: “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. And yes, she certainly has an actor’s way with a phrase and a likeable sense of mischief… The sense of performance, though, often feels overegged.”
Steve Pond, The Wrap: “For her part, Markle doesn’t have the gravitas you’d expect from a narrator for a Disneynature film — a role that on previous films has been handled by Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep, among others. She’s lighter, sillier at times and always conversational, which doesn’t carry much authority but fits with a film that greets a shot of elephants hitting the water hole with ‘It’s time for a pool party!’”
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph: “ turns out to be a fine match for the tone of the piece, which vacillates between regal and cutesy-poo with occasional gusts of girl-power uplift.”
Hmm. Overall it sounds like Meghan may have been the right choice for the light material after all.
See the teaser for both Elephant AND Dolphin Reef, narrated by Oscar winner Natalie Portman (below)! Then stream both docs on Friday, April 3 on Disney+ to decide for yourself!
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