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|Index||59 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I enjoyed the book so much I read it twice. It captivated, it
entertained, it made me cry, it made me proud, it was a fantastic book.
So when I saw the video in my local video store I eagerly snatched it from the shelf and ran home to watch the people I had come to feel I knew so well.
Boy was I disappointed! Perhaps if I had not read the book I would have felt different, but this mini-series was just so watered down. "Master Waller" is not even present, new characters are invented (who is Fanta?), The ship captain was turned into a sympathetic person. The violent things that happened to Kunta are greatly diminished.
To be honest, I have so far only watched the first two episodes, but I am so disappointed that I may not even finish the series. I am wondering if his foot is ever even cut in half?
I first became interested in Roots when I heard about it on the Disney Channel movie "The Color of Friendship" in 2001. The next time it resurfaced was in Jan. 2002, when Hallmark was going to reair it. Rather than wait (and waste tape) for every night, I bought it on DVD. It is amazing how the crew acheived the dream of Alex Haley's ancestors horrid past, from slave capture to auction, to escape to crippling, to being sold and death. The one thing that shocked me the most was how the KKK was involved in that family's life. When there were funny moments, I laughed and when there were sad moments, I wept. To sum it up: Roots is a masterful miniseries that no family should be without.
I grew up in the whitest small town in the upper midwest. I had one fellow
minority high grad (out of 800) who was chinese but was adopted and named
"Anne Palmquist" - that's how white it was. So I grew up without any
My mother made me watch Roots back then so I could visualize what I read about...and it had a positive impact on my little world. Of course it was merely a lesson in my parents greater plan, I'm glad it existed and was aired.
I'd like to see it again as an adult.
The story of Alex Haley's ancestors is a powerful one, and he turned it
a very fine (if partly plagiarized) book. The 1977 miniseries, on the
hand, is an example of television's "dumbing down" process. It's
relentlessly obvious, cheesy and cliched. The writing is dishonest when
just inept. Scene after scene is played to the rafters. African-Americans
in particular deserved better.
You want specifics? Chicken George (Ben Vereen) was born after his mother was raped by his master. In the book he's aware from childhood that their master is also his father, which is exactly what you'd expect. Here, however, we're asked to believe that this is a Big Secret he doesn't know because his mother didn't tell him. (Does he think it was a virgin birth?) That's so she can finally tell him when he's grown up with children of his own, and give the episode a cheap emotional climax. This is a familiar TV cliche.
The conclusion is particularly laughable. Formula requires "empowerment," so they have an unbelievable scene where the ex-slaves tie the Evil Klansman to a tree before leaving town. First they point a gun at him, then his henchmen come out and get the drop on them, then other blacks get the drop on the henchmen. (This happened on GET SMART once, but the laughs were intentional there.)
True, there are fine performances by actors like Louis Gossett and Vereen, but the white cast is mostly at sea. (As the slave ship's Ineffectual Christian Liberal Conscience, the normally able Edward Asner gives one of the 10 worst performances in TV history.) As for production values, ABC spent more on ROOTS than on any past TV movie, but you'd never know it: it looks very cheap.
In sum, the miniseries ROOTS (like the miniseries HOLOCAUST) was "politically correct" before we knew the term.
My fiancée and I just rented the entire Roots saga on DVD. For both of
us it's the first time we've seen it since 1977. We watched it over the
period of three days and came away from it moved and intrigued.
I was 10 years old in 1977 but I remember that even then I was hooked on the story, so much so that the following year I tackled the book (one of the best I've ever read.) As an adult, the story and the characters have had an even greater impact on me.
As was the case at the time, the acting is somewhat heavy-handed and the sets are not exactly what I'd consider to be convincing. I'm no botanist but I'd venture to guess that there weren't too many oak trees in Kunta Kinte's village in the late 1700's (or now, for that matter.)
Like any TV adaptation, liberties were taken. Most of them are of minor consequence given the scope and importance of the project as a whole (so quit your grumbling about Chicken George not knowing who is father was!) This is a film that appeals to the viewer's heart more than his/her head and in that respect it succeeds admirably.
I won't bother with a synopsis; if you're reading this most likely already seen the film and are simply looking to see what others thought of it. About all I can say is that this film--this story--moved me and has stayed with me for almost 30 years. How anyone can watch it and come away less-prejudiced is beyond my understanding.
The two things I'd like to comment on are the music and Tom (aka Jesus Christ.) Is it me or did the music seem to be inappropriately cheerful and bouncy at the worst times (i.e. the scene after Kunta's whipping, after Kizzy's rape, etc.) The next time you watch it, listen and see if you agree.
The other annoyance was that of Tom. I liked his character and I think that the actor did a credible job with what he was given but come on...Jesus Christ himself wouldn't have been so wise, patient and forgiving! Seemed a bit too good to be true.
I don't know how much of the book/film was conjecture or outright fiction but, in the end, it worked for me. It worked for me enough that I now intend on digging a bit deeper to see what I can learn about this remarkable family.
I have the complete series on tape and yet I watch it everytime it airs, Roots is a must see for everyone who is interested in history and geneology. The series really opened my eyes into a whole new perspective of the plight and the fight for the black men and women to know and win their God given freedom. To witness the love and life shared between Omoro and Binte, who's sole purpose was to raise and nurture their children was heart warming, then to watch it taken away was heart wrenching. The story eventually follows 200 yrs. of the decendants of this family who's strong will and striving finally brings them to Justice and Freedom. Do Watch!!!!!!!
...this is a GREAT mini-series... It will guaranteed take your breath away, and then send you into the bathroom, making you take a real hard look at yourself in the mirror. It's amazing, and I think it portrays the story and history of many african americans in the world. It will make you cry, laugh and rage with anger, but it's done so great, you feel like you got a gift handed over to you. 9/10 stars! See it - you won't regret!
This TV movie and mini-series is like no other has ever seen, it not
only change the way we look at our ancestors, America, it has also
change the world forever, this great TV movie featuring Kunte and the
crew and the rest is history, great performances by the cast, wonderful
story, terrific cinematography, wonderful writing and everything else,
your know the 1970's was a depressing time for America, disco,
Watergate and many others that has hurt the world deeply, this, star
wars, close encounters of the third kind brought us deeply closer
together, I Wanna thank Alex Haley and the crew for letting my watch
this great mini-series and it will be on for many generations to come.
See this TV movie like no other.
I was thirteen years old when I watched this. Oh, what much it taught me... it taught me that people used to enslave each other not many time ago. It also taught me that you never have to give yo, it taught me many things, that had shaped my life on many ways. It's why I can't forget this mini series... I got moved and cried a lot while watching this and I could not understand that there was such injustice in the world. And that it was based on the reality did it even worse. My impression was very big, and I could not get rid of the thought of this mini series for many weeks, maybe also months. The actors were beautifully performing their characters, and it gave me an impression of them playing their characters with the whole of their hearts. I have never experienced such reality (no wonder when it is based on the true events) in a mini series. I have never got such an impression of a mini series except from the movie Amistad, that can be compared with this. Both is highly recommended if you want to know the history of the slaves... Here is the truth and nothing else than truth.
I was a child of the ABC Novels For Television, but I've missed this one, the granddaddy of them all, until now. I have the second half to go, but considering I cried like a girl watching last night, I suppose I can give this nothing less than a perfect 10... It's a true shame that no one is even attempting to tell stories like this on television anymore. In this age of Eminems preaching hate to everyone who isn't a straight white male, stories like Roots remind us that we may have come a long way, but we can never rest in the fight for equality. If we forget humanities atrocities, we slide back into them... I dare anyone to watch Roots and not come away changed for the better.
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