Whispers: An Elephant's Tale is a 2000 film produced, written and directed by acclaimed wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.
In the wilds of Botswana, a matriarch elephant named Gentle Heart gives birth to a son, who is gifted with an impressive trumpet. But soon after his birth, the family is attacked by poachers ("Takers," in elephant parlance). In the chaos, the calf is separated from his mother, and though he waits for her to come find him, she never comes. Worse still, the trauma of the poachers' attack has left him unable to trumpet anymore, which lends him the disparaging name of "Whispers."
Lost and alone, Whispers meets up with Groove, a sarcastic and emotionally distant elephant who recently fell out with her sister (and family leader), Half Tusk, and left the herd. Groove reluctantly agrees to help Whispers find his mother, leading them on an epic quest across the African plains, braving fire, lions, and poachers.
This movie contains examples of the following tropes:
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Groove initially wants nothing to do with Whispers, but she slowly warms up to him as their journey progresses.
- Elephant Graveyard: Mentioned. At one point, Groove and Whispers come across a jumble of elephant bones. The calf asks if it's the graveyard, but Groove replies that it's "just a story they tell baby elephants."
- Heroic Sacrifice: Groove charges in to rescue Whispers when the poachers attack them during a fire; she is shot in the process, and dies the following day.
- I Will Find You:
- When the poachers attack, Gentle Heart tells Whispers to run and hide, promising that she'll come back to find him. She's as good as her word, ultimately reuniting with her son after he's been accepted into Half Tusk's family.
- When Gentle Heart fails to show up after the poachers leave, Whispers decides to team up with an unrelated elephant to help him find her.
- Lost Voice Plot: A variation. Whispers starts the film being able to trumpet, but after being separated from his mother when the poachers attack, he can't trumpet anymore. Fortunately, he regains his voice at the end, when he trumpets an alarm call.
- Separated from the Adults: Played with. Whispers winds up separated from his birth family, but teams up with Groove to find them. In the end, he is accepted into Groove's family.