DisneyNature’s latest movie Elephant tells the story of African elephant Shani and her spirited son Jomo as their herd make an epic journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert, from the Okavango delta to the Zambezi river, just as countless generations of their ancestors have done before. And in DisneyNature’s “In The Footsteps Of Elephants”, we get to see how that movie was made, what the crew had to do to get those incredible shots and what life is like for not just the Elephants but the whole region.
This documentary is a perfect addition to those who enjoyed watching “Elephant”, as it gives you a glimpse into all the tricks the filmmakers used, but also to see what risks they had to take. There are some incredible stories told in this film, seeing the crew sleeping out on a truck while having to defend themselves from a pride of lions, swimming with crocodiles and to see how difficult filming in this location is.
“In The Footsteps Of Elephants” isn’t just a 5 to 10 minute fluff piece, it’s just as long as the original “Elephant” film. It features some amazing footage of the beautiful location and has a more grounded feel to it.
Hearing from the animal experts, explaining in detail about how the animals are under threat, how the locals have to live with them and in general, giving us more information, makes this documentary very interesting. The dangers of the mass migration seem so much more real when it’s told from this perspective.
There are lots of technical moving making stories told throughout the documentary, such as how they added special modifications to vehicles to get those flowing shots of Elephants walking or how the drones struggled with the vast amount of water at the incredible Victoria Falls.
I will be completely honest, I don’t enjoy the narration style of the DisneyNature movies, since they sound like they are telling a story to a child. In the UK, we have a long history of amazing animal documentaries from the BBC such as Planet Earth and the Blue Planet, which are almost always narrated by Sir David Attenborough. I feel DisneyNature movies would be far superior with a different approach to its storytelling, because the actual footage caught by these amazing filmmakers is superb and this behind the scenes documentary makes me even more convinced that should be the case.
Actor Jeremy Sisto provided the narration for the documentary, which I think worked out better, since this comes without the extra baggage of Meghan Martle doing the voiceover. I just found this documentary’s narration to be more natural, it’s there to give detail, to give context and is so much more enjoyable.
So if you are like me, and find DisneyNature movies too childish, give the behind the scenes documentaries a try, it feels more like something National Geographic would release and aimed at slightly older audiences.
“In The Footsteps Of Elephants” is a fantastic documentary and I really enjoyed it, much more than the actual “Elephant” film, which I wasn’t expecting. This is a Disney+ Original that will probably be flying under people’s radar’s but I’d highly recommend it.
Rating 4 out of 5 Stars.