Better that 12 years a Slave - despite being a bit dated with creaky dialogue + acting
- Roots: The Original Series review by PV
I watched this now for the first time since the original broadcast. I find I remembered a couple of scenes, which, when one thinks I saw this in maybe 1978 aged 10, shows how powerful this drama is and how it sticks in the memory. I can hardly remember anything of the Hollywood movies I watched last week!
OK, so it is a bit dated. That slow 1970s zoom is everywhere, and by modern standards it is slow-moving (though I like that; I despise the quick cut noisy running around goggle-eyed Dr-Who-style way of upping the drama). The acting and dialogue is a bit dated and wooden at times BUT the characters are well-developed as is the story and context. I suspect a similar drama made today would feel it had to hammer homes the race politics points; happily, Roots focuses on telling a story, as all drama should. Historians will never GET drama or fiction, of course, and so constantly snipe at historical inaccuracies - forgetting, if they ever remembered the fact, that writers have no responsibility at all expect to tell a good story.
The history is inaccurate of course; in reality whites rarely hunted blacks - slavery was thriving for centuries in Africa before the white man even visited in any mercenary way, and the Arabs were there slaving well before Europeans (that is why Kunta Kinte s Muslim - because his ancestors were enslaved within Africa by marauding Arabs - and that is why north Africa is Muslim now too; people had a choice - convert to Islam of die...)
Having said all that, this is a FAR better drama than the worthy and emotive sob story 12 Years a Slave, which I found tedious and manipulative, having more to do with modern race politics in the USA than anything else. That movie Armistad was also a bore.
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