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YMMV / Roots (2016)

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  • Broken Base: The existence of the remake itself has brought mixed reception from the public. Many think the incorporation of new facts regarding life in Africa and America during the story's time period and the ability to deliver a no-holds barred depiction of slavery on cable justifies the remake. However, a good chunk of viewers thought that remaking a classic was unnecessary. Snoop Dogg was particularly vocal in his objection to the remake. Granted, Snoop Dogg's comments were met with criticism from those who felt that he was being ignorant of legitimate American history. Roland Martin had pretty harsh words for not only Snoop, but anyone else who rejected the Roots remake as "another slave movie".
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  • Complete Monster: The Big Bad of Part 4 is Frederick Murray, a proud Confederate major who is defined by his Lack of Empathy for his family, slaves, and subordinates. When Chicken George visits his family at the Murray family's plantation, Frederick plots to have George re-enslaved by refusing to notify him of North Carolina's 30 day limit for freedmen. A vehement racist even by Southern standards, especially compared to his father, Frederick accuses Chicken George's son Tom of lying when a failed cannon test kills some of his men, and later lets his men gangrape Tom's wife. While Frederick supposedly loves Nancy Holt, he sends men to die in Nancy's and Jerusalem's trap despite knowing Nancy was an abolitionist spy for the Union. After Jerusalem is captured, Frederick orders his men to slowly lynch him even after Nancy reveals the truth about her and her friend's backgrounds. To his father's despair, Frederick then brutalizes and lynches Nancy after she puts Jerusalem out of his misery. A deluded sadist even after the war, Frederick declares that blacks will never be equals before he tries to kill Tom in front of his own family.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the Japanese dub, Kunta is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai, who previously voiced a guy who fights for the ones who are slaving his people.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Given the remake's unforgiving setting, it was inevitable that a few characters would cross the line.
    • Missy confirms herself to be an irredeemable bitch in Episode 2 when Missy allows her uncle to sell her Childhood Friend Kizzy to Tom Lea.
    • Tom Lea crosses it at the end of Episode 2 when he rapes and forcibly impregnates Kizzy.
    • If Frederick Murray doesn't cement himself as a racist monster when his men rape Irene (Chicken George's son Tom's wife), he certainly does when he orders his men to slowly lynch Jerusalem and Nancy.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Much like the original miniseries, the remake goes out of its way to reflect the horrific nature of slave trade onscreen. Moreover, being on cable allows the remake to depict a no-holds barred depiction of the brutality slaves faced. It also received praise for getting rid of what has become seen as undeserved sympathy in the original series for characters like the slave ship captain just for feeling kind of bad about the evils they were abetting while still not doing anything about it.
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  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Despite roughly half of the miniseries focusing on Kunta Kinte and his future generations portraying him almost as a messianic figure, a steadfast Mandinka warrior who never gave in, more often than not he comes across as little more than a spoiled Jerkass, even before his enslavement (picking fights in a dance circle, for example). His own father even calls him out for being irresponsible by saying he "won't be around forever to fix {Kunta Kinte's} mistakes". After his enslavement, his "sense of identity" isn't helped by his constant reference to Mandinka warriors; he was nearly kicked out of warrior training for insubordination and reckless endangerment, becoming one solely on an emergency-induced technicality. Even then, the last his parents saw of him was taking a horse his father gifted him and attempting to leave for Timbuktu without warning (and story-wise, without cause). What really makes him unsympathetic, even despite the new dark, bigoted, racist, and unforgiving setting of Virginia, is that not only does he never come to understand just how his rebellious actions hurt those who simply wanted to get by and survive (he could have at least ASKED Fiddler if he wanted to help in his second escape attempt, since aiding in a slave's escape was punishable by lynching, even if the offender was white), but he convinces otherwise passive and generally well-off slaves to become rebels, including his own daughter. The show tries to portray this as them rediscovering their roots and who they really are, but ultimately falls flat since not only does it end up getting them into trouble they otherwise would not get into, but neither case do they ever actually FIND their identity. Hell When Fiddler/Henry is killed in his Moment of Awesome, Kunta Kinte STILL calls him "Fiddler", despite already knowing his name is Henry. Well done, Toby.

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