Meghan Markle’s first post-royal film has received mixed reviews from critics, with some labelling her performance ‘over-eager to please’ and cheesy.
Disneynature’s Elephant will hit of screens on Friday, but reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic have been given a sneak-peak.
The film, which Meghan narrates, follows a family of Elephants as they cross the Kalahari Desert with their herd to find a lush paradise.
Family bonds is a key theme throughout, with Meghan saying: “The emotional bond between elephants are as strong and long-lasting as our own.”
While some critics have praised the film, not everyone is convinced and the majority of experts have awarded it two or three stars out of five.
Empire’s Ian Freer gave the film three stars, comparing the structure to Mad Max: Fury Road “albeit a million times slower”.
He writes: “Markle’s delivery of the commentary is wholesome and overher excitable tones a perfect fit for the natural-history-with-the-edges-shaved off remit.
“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.”
Ed Potton was equally unimpressed, writing in The Times: “Meghan is swapping pomp and circumstance for schmaltz and cheesiness.
“The departing Duchess of Sussex narrates Disney’s tale of a herd of elephants crossing the Kalahari Desert from the Okavango delta to the Zambezi River, and boy does she lay it on thick
“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.”
Lewis Knight, Mirror Online’s film writer, warns that many will find Meghan’s narration “cheesy to the point of grating”.
He said: “Disney Nature’s Elephant is certainly no David Attenborough documentary.
“The gravitas and tension of the British icon’s wildlife series is missing here entirely, however, it is not entirely a surprise considering this is very much a Disney production.
“The focus on family values, family content, and a family-friendly tone from Meghan Markle means this film feels very sedate – despite the gloriously colourful cinematography of African landscapes and of the majestic elephants themselves.
“The Duchess of Sussex provides schmaltz and a saccharine lightness to her voiceover, but many will find this to be cheesiness to the point of grating.
“However, this feels completely appropriate considering the script Meghan is reading from is aiming primarily for the cute factor above all else.”
In the Express, George Simpson added: “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.”
Elephant will be released on Disney+ on Friday, April 3.