The characters of Kunta Kinte and Fiddler from Roots are back in this movie. In this movie the two of them accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time and they learn that ... See full summary »
Louis Gossett Jr.,
A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into ... See full summary »
Mexican and Latin-American classic. Four independent stories based on writer Francisco Rojas Gonzáles's work, depicting the reality of Mexican indian people: Las Vacas, Nuestra Señora, El ... See full summary »
A saga of African-American life, based on Alex Haley's family history. Kunta Kinte is abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation's cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George, a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation. Written by
Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>
I decided to look up Roots recently after remembering that LeVar Burton starred in it. I had heard about it somewhere years ago, as a kid, and knew it was about slavery, but not much else about it. I'm glad I decided to take the time and watch it. It's a story that should be seen by all people, regardless of skin color or background, for it is first and foremost, a human story. That people could treat other human beings the way the slaves were treated is completely appalling.
It is heartbreaking to see an innocent young man taken away from his home and forced to be a slave. It is sickening to see the grim reality of slavery and how people were treated worse than animals because of their skin color. Although many parts of the movie are disturbing, it is necessary that that those things are shown in order to fully understand the extent of what these human beings had to endure. Kunta Kinte is the image of the indomitable human spirit, and has become one of my favorite characters. I admire how he refused to submit and be treated like he was nothing, how he fought to keep his name and heritage though they were all trying to change him.
If you are human, then you will definitely feel immense compassion for the main character, and for all the slaves who had to endure such cruelty from people who called themselves human and civilized. There are many parts of it that will leave you feeling disgusted about how anyone could do such things to human beings.
The actors do a great job of making you love or hate their characters. You will feel repugnance at characters like Slater and Ames, and Edward Asner does a great portrayal of a Captain Davies, commanding a slave ship but at the same time deeply bothered by his own conscience and morality.
Of course, the star is LeVar Burton and he is excellent as Kunta Kinte, bringing all the emotions of his character to life. Through Kunta's eyes, you see the horrors he is forced to endure, you feel his pain, and the endearing innocence of his character makes it all the more heartbreaking. The only thing I did not like about the movie is how they used two very different actors to portray the same character. Especially since John Amos doesn't look, sound, or act like Levar Burton.
I understand that they couldn't believably make a 19 or 20 year old LeVar Burton look like like he was 50, so getting an older actor to play that part was necessary, however, John Amos came into the movie way too soon. In 1776, Kunta is only 26 years old and still a young man. It makes no sense that they got John Amos to play him at that age, it should have definitely been LeVar Burton still portraying Kunta. (And as many people know, in real life, LeVar still looked pretty much the same in his 30s as he did at 19) I also feel that they should have gotten an actor who resembled LeVar a bit more than John Amos did and that he shouldn't have come into the movie until much later, when Kunta was to be portrayed as a graying and middle-aged man, not someone still in his 20s. What they did took away from the continuity of the story and I lost some of that sense of immersion that I'd felt since up till then.
That said, the story itself is a great one, a very tragic and heartbreaking human story that reflects the struggle of all the oppressed people in this world, as well as educates people about the grim and disturbing reality of a part of this nation's history. It also is a reminder that they can never take away who you are as a person, no matter what, and that the strength of the human soul rises above all. Now that I've seen it on screen, I'm definitely going to read the book, which will undoubtedly have more details than can be shown on screen and enrich the story even more.
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