Meghan Markle’s Disney debut panned by critics as cheesy and shallow: 'Not quite Attenborough'

Meghan Markle’s Disney debut panned by critics as cheesy and shallow: 'Not quite Attenborough'
(Getty Images)

Meghan Markle's Disney debut as a narrator for a documentary on elephants has been branded as 'over-eager to please' and full of 'cheesiness' by critics. 

Harry and Meghan will no longer be senior members of the royal family starting March 31. In her first post-royal job, Meghan has done the voiceover for the Disney production after a direct request was made from filmmakers. 

When it comes to Meghan's voiceover, The Time's Ed Potton gave the documentary two stars and said, "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," Daily Mail reports.  

He also shared that Meghan is "swapping pomp and circumstance for schmaltz and cheesiness." "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. To anyone raised on Attenborough's urbane authority... it all feels a little bit shallow," he continued. 

Telegraph's Robbie Collin gave it three stars and said that the documentary is "not quite Attenborough" but admitted that Meghan's "honey alto" is "a fine match for the tone of the piece, which vacillates between regal and cutesy-poo with occasional gusts of girl-power uplift."

Meghan Markle's first Disney narration debut was  dubbed 'cheesy' by critics (Getty Images) 

According to critic Peter Bradshaw, Meghan takes to Disney-narration "like an anthropomorphic duck to water." He says that at times, she injects "torrents of schmaltz" which is not helped by the "outrageously unverifiable" things that she is given to say. 

He added that the documentary is a "technically impressive work with some lovely images - and a bit of a sugary taste."

Daily Express' George Simpson praised the documentary and gave it four stars and said Meghan "comes across very warmly, with most of her lines sounding like she's beaming fondly at the elephants we're watching."

He also shared that Meghan did add tension when it was necessary - "Especially when the herd came across more serious moments like being surrounded by lions and hyenas, but at times it tips over into cheesy and sentimental in a classic American Disney kind of way."

Owen Gleiberman revealed that Meghan does "an inviting version of the wholesome but amused Disney narrator singsong."

It is believed that she had done the recording in London last autumn after seeing the footage of the documentary which is due to be released on April 3 on Disney +. The documentary looks at an African elephant Shani and her son Jombo who are led by the herd matriarch, Gaia, across the Kalahari desert. 

The elephants come across fading resources and vicious predators as they follow their ancestor's steps to paradise. As per reviews from the British and US press, critics awarded the documentary three stars and praised the cinematography as the documentary follows the elephants traveling around 1,000 miles from Botswana's Okavango Delta to the Zambezi and Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe Zambia border.

Meghan's fee for the project will be going to the Elephants Without Borders charity which is an organization that helps to conserve wildlife and protects animals from being poached. 

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