The beauty of that first installment (in both versions) is how it takes viewers to Kunta's life the slave trade.
The reason Kunta remains the most remembered character of the series is thanks to the way the story gives us a taste of a home he loves very much, then rips it away from him viscerally.
, the initial response was the same as when any beloved cultural work is remade: Is this really necessary?
It's easy to see why this is often the reaction when remakes are announced.
Everybody comes from somewhere, and the better you understand that somewhere, the better you understand yourself.
That's a message essentially anybody can relate to — but pushes past that message by creating a world where one family's story is interrupted by great, unnatural trauma, visited upon it by outsiders.
This version is also better directed, particularly in the first installment; directed by Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce, it concludes on a gorgeous image of Kunta Kinte, bleeding after being viciously whipped, collapsed on the ground and cradled in a pieta-style pose by Fiddler, ash drifting around the two of them.
There are similar moments and images in the original, but Noyce's eye for tiny visual details (that ash!
Writes Seitz (in an essay that should be read in full): The show’s casting masterstroke occurred in the white roles.
They were filled by actors who had usually played sympathetic, adorable, or noble characters.