Elephant: Disneynature Documentary Follows Herd

Elephant. Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Elephant–narrated by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex–is one of two documentaries from Disneynature that are being released on Disney+ on April 3, 2020.

Disneynature is known for being the studio arm that brings viewers captivating documentaries timed to Earth Day.  This year, it just so happens that we are blessed with not one film but two of them.  It may end up being a blessing in disguise because we’re couped up and need a vacation.  We might not be able to take a physical vacation but nothing stops us from escaping through the screen.

Elephant takes us on a journey across the Kalahari Desert in Africa.  In this instance, director Mark Linfield chooses to focus one one particular herd including Shani, Jomo, Gaia, and more.  What we learn is that Gaia is the herd’s matriarch.  Her younger sister, Shani (40), is next in line.  Now if nobody ever told you these films can be educational, believe me when I tell you that they most certainly are.  Until watching the film, I never realized that the females are the ones leading the herd.  I suppose it makes sense…

Anyway, Shani’s son, Jomo, is the youngest member of the herd…at least until a cousin is born.  Their heard travels hundreds of miles from the Okavango delta to the river.  They are said to be among the last living elephants to do so.  For Jomo, it’s going to be his first migration.  Meanwhile, Shani must be ready at any moment to step up as the herd matriarch.  This comes with a lot of responsibility including knowing how to lead the way?  Will she be ready for the journey when the time comes?

Of all the animals living within the desert, the elephants are the species that is especially attracted to water.  It’s one of the reasons why they make this migration every year.  But before doing so, they make a stop at the salt mines to take in its minerals.  It’s a journey that both Gaia and Shani make time and time again.  But with young calves like Jomo and his newborn cousin, they can also slow the journey down.  The slow down isn’t the only thing that threatens their future.  No, there are lions, other heards, and serious threats that loom ahead in the distance.

It’s a known saying that an elephant never forgets but Elephant manages to drive this point home in an educational and entertaining way.

DIRECTOR:  Mark Linfield
NARRATOR:  Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex

Disneynature releases Elephant on Disney+ on April 3, 2020. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.