Star Wars Ewok Adventures – Caravan of Courage / The Battle for Endor

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Caravan of Courage:
Aubree Miller as Cindel Towani
Eric Walker as Mace Towani
Warwick Davis as Wicket W. Warrick
Fionnula Flanagan as Catarine Towani
Guy Boyd as Jeremitt Towani
Burl Ives as Narrator (voice)
Daniel Frishman as Deej Warrick
Debbie Lee Carrington as Weechee Warrick
Tony Cox as Widdle Warrick
Kevin Thompson as Chukha-Trok, Great Ewok Warrior
Margarita Fernández as Kaink, Ewok Priestess
Pam Grizz as Shodu Warrick
Bobby Bell as Logray, Village Mystic

Battle for Endor:
Wilford Brimley as Noa
Warwick Davis as Wicket W. Warrick
Aubree Miller as Cindel Towani
Siân Phillips as Queen Charal
Carel Struycken as King Terak
Niki Botelho as Teek
Paul Gleason as Jeremitt Towani
Eric Walker as Mace Towani
Marianne Horine as Young Witch
Daniel Frishman as Deej Warrick
Tony Cox as Willy
Pam Grizz as Shodu Warrick
Roger Johnson as Lieutenant
Michael Pritchard as Card Player #1
Johnny Weissmuller Jr. as Card Player #2

Special Features:
None

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Stereo Sound
Running Time: 190 Minutes

Synopsis:
Caravan of Courage originally aired in 1984 while The Battle for Endor aired in 1985. The following is the description from the DVD cover:

“Join your favorite Star Wars characters, the Ewoks, in this double feature collection, and enjoy hours of fun and entertainment for the whole family. These action-packed adventures take us back to the forest moon of Endor for a reunion with the young Ewok hero Wicket, and the brave warrior Teebo.

Caravan of Courage – In Caravan Of Courage the Towani family are separated when their shuttlecraft crashes on Endor. While the parents are soon captured by the giant known as Gorax, Mace and Cindel, the son and daughter, are missing. When the Ewoks discover the missing Towani children in the remnants of the shuttlecraft, it becomes clear that the children must establish trust with them in order to embark on an adventure to rescue their parents.

The Battle For Endor – In the Battle For Endor, an army of Marauders, led by King Terak and the witch Charal, attack the Ewok village. Cindel and Wicket escape into the forest, where they meet Teek and Noa. They must befriend Noa in order to team up to defeat the Marauders.”

This DVD is not rated.

The Movie:
I remember as a kid racing home to see The Ewok Adventure when it first aired on ABC in 1984. It was with quite a bit of eager anticipation that I watched the first bit of Star Wars to hit the screen since Return of the Jedi. Back then I found it to be a little bit boring at times, but overall a welcome sight to see on TV. Now as an adult I pretty much have the same feelings. Caravan of Courage is a nice thing to have on DVD, but it is slow and a bit too much aimed at children to be of entertainment for me. I set my kids down in front of it and they enjoyed it, but I found myself getting bored quickly.

By far the highlight of Caravan of Courage was the Gorax. This 100 ft tall beast was quite impressive and it added a lot of coolness and scariness to an otherwise cute film. In fact, it may be a little too scary for some kids, but that’s another matter. The production also looks good and was designed by Star Wars veteran Joe Johnston. Oddly enough Caravan of Courage was narrated by Burl Ives. Since the Ewoks didn’t speak English in this movie, his dialogue helped explain what the heck was going on with the fuzzy creatures (who now, thanks to Jar Jar, are no longer the most annoying creatures in the Star Wars Universe). Unfortunately the acting of the children is on par with that of Jake Lloyd’s in Episode I. The kids do a fine enough job, but it’s not an Oscar worthy performance.

The following year I was quite eager to see The Battle for Endor. Imagine my surprise when, in the first few minutes of the film, they kill off most of the human characters from the first movie. If kids weren’t traumatized by Caravan of Courage, this might do the trick. Too bad the characters had to die so that George Lucas could do an Ewok version of Heidi.

Overall, though, The Battle For Endor is probably a better film than Caravan of Courage. It has more action, more humor, more creatures, and more excitement than its predecessor. Again, Joe Johnston does a great job with the production design. The Marauders and the monsters all look great. And though Wilford Brimley seems less like a candidate for a role in a Star Wars production than Bea Arthur (err…wait a sec…), he does a pretty good job. He transitions from grumpy old man to grandfather with ease. His backstory of being a marooned star pilot is also interesting. Brimley also has good chemistry with Cindel, Wicket, and Teek. The introduction of Teek reminds me of the introduction of Raven Simone on The Cosby Show. Once Rudy wasn’t cute anymore, they brought in a new cute kid to take her place. So once Wicket wasn’t cute anymore, they brought in the cute and zippy Teek. But as sickeningly cute as Teek is, he provides a lot of the comic relief for the film.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, then these films are required viewing. As odd as they may be, they are a part of the Star Wars Universe and one of Uncle George’s creations. Kids will also enjoy them. But if you’re not a Star wars fan or a kid, then you’re probably better off passing on the Ewok Adventures.

The Extras:
Unfortunately there are no bonus features on this DVD. This is the bargain basement version. I think they could have interviewed Warwick Davis or Aubree Miller for this DVD. Too bad they passed on the opportunity.

The Bottom Line:
The Ewok Adventures are for Star Wars fans and kids only. If you’re not one of these, then this is not the DVD you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.

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