Ewoks: The Battle for Endor – Film Review

Marauders raid the Ewok village and steal a power supply they believe to be magical. Wicket (Warwick Davis) helps Cindel Towani (Aubree Miller) escape the evil witch Charal, and they befriend a hermit who may help them save the village.

Of all the Star Wars movies that needed sequels, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is certainly the film that needed one the least. Some fans would argue that perhaps Return of the Jedi should have never gotten a sequel in the form of The Force Awakens and the rest of the sequel trilogy to follow (I have to disagree and state that I loved the sequel trilogy), and that’s totally fair.

But at least the sequel trilogy has a grand scale to it and they all feel like Star Wars movies. Caravan of Courage felt like some weird fantasy film that somebody made in their local forest for a couple of dollars. Instead of a Star Wars film, it felt like a Star Wars fan film. There are plenty of fan-made films set within the galaxy far, far away that are truly breathtaking (take Star Wars Theory’s Vader: Shards of the Past for instance), but strangely enough, Caravan of Courage, which is a canonical film within this universe, feels like it was made by some random fan on a shoe-string budget.

I mean did anybody actually enjoy that movie? There may be a few people out there in the world that didn’t mind it but even the ones that did probably didn’t ask for a sequel. They probably just watched it once and went “that was okay”. So, fast forward one year later and a proper sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, is released.

You probably expected this to be a really awful film and you’d be right – it sucks. But the good news is that it is genuinely a little more tolerable than its predecessor. The annoying characters are back (minus one major one from the previous installment that gets killed off five minutes in for some reason) which is kind of frustrating. The non-Star Wars feel is back sadly, and the Ewoks are back.

But what makes this film a little less annoying than the one before it is that are a few attempts sprinkled throughout to be a fun movie that knows what it is. I feel like this film didn’t take itself too seriously and it actually knew how dumb and over-the-top it is. I mean this is a film in which there are long-drawn-out scenes where Ewoks talk in “Ewokese” and we are never let in as to what exactly they are saying.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

And in one hilariously corny scene in the first act, a character gets picked up by a weird claymation-looking dragon and gets flown across a forest while an Ewok chases the flying creature using a paraglider. Surely the filmmakers knew how absolutely ridiculous that scene was when they filmed it. How could they not?

One of the reasons why people love Star Wars so much is not just the lightsaber fights, the Jedi and Sith, the intergalactic ships and planets. Yes, those are all wonderful to watch on-screen or even read in comics and novels. But the main reason why people love Star Wars is because of two things – the characters and the journies they go on. The original trilogy beautifully depicts this.

Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and the rest of the crew are all lovable and their outer-world battles are extremely fun to watch for sure, but it’s even more fun to watch their banter. They are a family at the end of the day and because we get to know them so well in each installment, we feel like we are a part of their crazy family too.

In Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, we are presented with the most one-note, underdeveloped characters you could possibly imagine. There is never an attempt to make these characters feel grounded. Luke Skywalker may be a cloaked badass with an awesome lightsaber to boot, but at the end of the day, he felt like he was well, a human. Take away the lightsaber and the force and that’s really what he is.

The characters here are painfully dull and flat. The majority of this movie is just spent with the Ewoks and their silly little conversations. It’s the epitome of a movie that was made purely to sell toys. And I think that they even failed at doing that. People may have bought Return of the Jedi Ewok toys and they may have enjoyed seeing the furry creatures in that film, but trust me when I say that there is a reason why nobody brings up Caravan of Courage and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. They suck.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: TV-G

Cast: Wilford Brimley, Warwick Davis, Aubree Miller, Paul Gleason, Carel Struycken, Niki Botelho, Eric Walker, Siân Phillips, Marianne Horine, Daniel Frishman, Tony Cox, Pam Grizz

Directed by: Ken Wheats, Jim Wheats

Written by: Ken Wheats, Jim Wheats

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox Television

Release Date: November 24, 1985

Running Time: 94 minutes

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