A Review of The History Channel's "Roots"

The History Channel did a remake of the TV mini series Roots which premiered on Memorial Day.  I can tell you, due to seeing it in previews for the movie before it aired, the naming ceremony that was featured in the original series is still in there. I also learned from one of them it stays true to the original, which means it will feature lineage of one family starting with Kunta Kinte all the way to the man's grown great grandson Tom. It shows a period of history that includes when Kunta Kinte was sold into slavery, through what happened with that man's family after the Civil War. The original was 12 parts, but this is just a four part mini series. The character of Fiddler, who was played by Louis Gossett Jr is featured in the remake. Now he's played by Forest Whitaker.

The whole story of Roots is the oral history of Alex Haley's family he learned as a child. Lawrence Fishburne played the man who's narrating this story to the audience as it begins. It is spoken of that at the time of Kunta Kinte, they had to deal with slavery in his homeland. We then briefly see Kunta Kinte as a captive. This scene is timed perfectly with talk of why this man was born into this world. Which is, more or less, something someone would wonder when in this position. Next, we're treated to the birth of Kunte Kinte. Shortly after his father does the whole naming ceremony that I mentioned, we have a time jump to him as a grown man who in the next moment undergoes his warrior training. This consists of making him into some kind of warrior for the tribe. Due to a close call with slavers, Kunta Kinte shows us what kind of warrior he is. He is a warrior who's ready to fight.

Also, it is shown that Kunta Kinte is a brave man when he encounters slavers trying to take him. He attacks them and steals a horse to get away from them. That to me shows a great amount of courage. But if he had success with that, then there would be no story to tell. We are treated to a view of all those slaves being held in the cargo bay and talking to each other. That has Emmy value connected to it. I mean, if you were giving an Emmy to just one scene in the series: then that would be the scene. It was in the original one and they remade it very well. We're treated very accurately to how things were on a slave ship. They are chained together like animals and made to dance that way. If a historian was watching this, then there would have nothing to comment about when it comes to how accurately things are portrayed. I believe Alex Haley would not complain about what producers have created when it comes to this remake.

I believe that with both the 1970's version and the History channel's remake of it, I don't recall whether or not there was an attempt to seize the ship in the original. But it has certainly showed us how well Kunte Kinte can put his warrior skills into action. When he tries to run again, this is when we are introduced to Fiddler. Fiddler ends up being put in charge of handling Kunta and showing him how things are done. Basically, he's shown how to be a slave by Fiddler. To say the least, Fiddler has a challenge on his hands. He still the man holding on to the name Kunta Kinte when he runs toward freedom as the first chapter ends.