One of the reasons why I’m concerned about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s absence from the royal conversation for the foreseeable future is because the British tabloid press loves a vacuum. They will fill the vacuum of information and legit news with all kinds of inane, racist sh-t. They’ll blame Meghan for the coronavirus and blame her for not coming back to Britain during quarantine. They’ll blame her for every single bad thing that happens during the pandemic. The Cambridges will still gleefully remind Brits that Harry and Meghan “abandoned” them. And on and on. Then the “poor Kate” stories will start. Poor Kate wanted to have another child but Mean Meghan forced Harry to exile, so now Kate is poor and tired and overworked. And on and on.
If and when the Sussexes do anything new, the British press is fully prepared to jump down their throats about anything and everything too. Look no further than this Daily Mail piece about the “reviews” for DisneyNature’s Elephant, which Meghan narrates. The headline: “Meghan Markle’s Disney debut gets a drubbing from critics: Narration of Elephant documentary is branded ‘over-eager to please’ and packed with ‘schmaltz and cheesiness’.” Is… is this the first time these “critics” have ever watched a Disney animal/nature documentary?
Reviews from British and US press have been relatively consistent, with critics awarding it an average of three stars and praising its stunning cinematography as it follows a family of elephants travelling 1,000 miles from Botswana’s Okavango Delta to the Zambezi and Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe Zambia border. When it comes to Meghan, her ‘excitable tones’ are a ‘perfect fit for the natural-history-with-the-edges-shaved off remit’, according to Empire’s Ian Freer, who awarded the film three stars.
‘For her part, Markle’s delivery of the commentary is wholesome and over-eager to please,’ he added, citing some of her vocal observations such as: ‘It’s time for a pool party!’ when the elephants take a mud bath. He added that the duchess ‘just about stays the right side of annoying’.
The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin, who awarded it three stars, said the documentary is ‘not quite Attenborough’, admitting Meghan’s ‘honeyed 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’.
The Times’s Ed Potton was decidedly more scathing – evident by his two-star rating. He said Meghan is ‘swapping pomp and circumstance for schmaltz and cheesiness’, adding: ‘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.’
Ed observed how her ‘silken tones’ employed on the legal drama Suits which were ‘often muzzled during her time as a full-time royal’ are now ‘given free rein’. He did concede that she has an ‘actor’s way’ with a phrase and a ‘likeable sense of mischief’, but concluded the performance 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,’ Ed deduced. ‘To anyone raised on Attenborough’s urbane authority… it all feels a little bit shallow.’
[From The Daily Mail]
Again, this is a DisneyNature documentary. Disney’s targeting kids, tweens and their parents. It’s supposed to be twee and cute and they’re trying to rope in lots of kids. It’s not “Attenborough” and not every nature documentary has to be narrated by a posh old white British man. The Daily Mail was so thrilled to be able to jump down Meghan throat for a narration gig in which her salary went to charity! Can you even imagine the reaction by the DM if Kate ever narrated a documentary about her struggle survey or something? They would declare that she’s the most perfect queen ever. Lord.
Also, not for nothing, but Meghan’s whole persona is one of positivity, bordering on sugary, overeager, trying very hard, affirmational, etc. That’s her whole vibe.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid.
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