Heroes prepare for landing we are preparing to land on the forest moon of Endor! We have travelled back to 1980something to a simpler time to when Star Wars creator, George Lucas was coming off a resounding success of the final chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Return Of The Jedi! Fans and producers alike pushed for more Star wars content, but Lucas at this point was done with making films, however ABC Televison persuaded Lucas to continue his Trilogy and thus plans were put into motion the 1 Hour special, The Ewok Adventure. As scripts were tossed around and the cast was assembled Lucas actually agreed to make the special a two hour television movie! The Star Wars Saga would live on..this time on the small screen! This was not the first time Lucas had been pushed for more Star Wars as only 6 years earlier a full-blown Star Wars Holiday Special was released. In the process of funding Star Wars and being able to promote it George Lucas agreed to a full length television special which would live on in infamy. Feeling the special was forced upon him he essentially disowned the project and is often quoted as wanting to destroy every existing copy of the special. This was not the case with The Ewok Adventure and its sequel, Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. Both films were good stand alone specials and the subject of today’s journey back in 1980s TV and Movie making! Spears ready Ewoks, we need to protect Endor for all those reading this in 2014!!
The Ewok Adventure, originally aired November 25th 1984 on the ABC network to hungry Star wars fans.
The movie was said to take place 6 months prior to Return Of The Jedi. The movie introduced a slew of new characters into the Star Wars Universe namely the Towani family. Parents Jeremilt, and Catarine Towani, along with their son Mace (Who looks like a young Mark Hamill from Star Wars and wears a very X-Wing pilot like uniform) and daughter Cindel (The 5 year girl looks like she stepped out of an 80s dance instructional video with 80s head band and matching while jumpsuit.) crash-land their space shuttle on the moon of Endor.
Upon their arrival both parents are searching for their missing children after the crash and are sunsequently kidnapped by the evil Gorax , a giant werewolf like creature bearing a giant axe. The children how ever still in hiding escape the wrath of the monster and are discovered by a band of Ewoks With some resistance the kids are brought back to the Ewok village and befriend their new furry friends. The Ewok’s win the favor of the children after they help Cindel, the little girl back from illness and provide them food and shelter. Along with their newfound allies the kids and the Ewoks set up a caravan across Endor on Horseback to find the home of the Gorax! Upon their arrival to the giant-sized cavernous hideout of the Gorax they discover that the task of rescuing their parents will be a tough one as they have to go through the GIANT ever-changing scale of the Gorax. To put the Gorax monster into perspective it looks like a giant-sized bigfoot with a huge rat faced head with giant ears!!
THE BAD and THE UGLY: One interesting blooper with the Gorax monster is that the size of the beast changes from scene to scene. At the beginning of the movie the Gorax is shown menacing through the forests of Endor and looks large, but appears much more gigantic in the movie during some scenes, specifically in the lair of The Gorax. The monster looks grossly out of scale with the humans and Ewoks virtually the size of its toe. This changes from moment to moment in the final act but the effects are unforgivable. Credit is due to the Gorax, he is shot at, chopped in the toe with an axe, thrown down a raveen, survives, is hit hard in the head by a large stalactite, before finally tumbling to his death a second time into a giant raveen (The same one??) before finally giving up.
This movie is one I think many fans would love for it to get the famous or infamous, depending on your degree of Star Wars Hardcore that you rank that desperately needs an upgrade. One puppet/ stop motion animation is particularly bad. It appears halfway through the picture as a wild boar wolf creature attacks the Ewok’s and The Children. The result is laughable. Stop Motion animation is poorly handled and the combination of puppet and animation is horribly edited. The Ewok’s themselves look a little stiff and stilted and the mouths which rarely move distracts from their realism and at times its jarring how they do not look realistic as they did in Jedi!
As well..The Gorax has the Towani parents trapped in a large birdcage like contraption hanging from the ceiling. The caveat here is that when mace discovers them he not only manages to leap to the side of the cage that contained his parents but easily climbs into the cage as the wholes in the cage are more than big enough to escape!! The lack of logic as to why the Elder Towanis did not simply tie some clothing together and shimmy down to safety? I am over-thinking this..I know.
The human actors themselves are hit and miss. Cindel carries herself as well as can be expected for her age at the time, Mace however is another story. Many people reflect at times that the original Star Wars trilogy was not a piece of acting supremacy but Caravan hits new lows with Maces performance. A couple of stand out scenes appears during the first 20 minutes of the movie. The kids have befriended the Ewok’s but poor Cindel is quite ill and unresponsive. Mace demands the Ewok’s get her more medicine, more medicine, more medicine, more medicine…you get my point. I did not notice this as a kid so this gets a pass as well. I have to keep in mind the target audience at the time for this one!
More on the effects there are some great scenes of Ewok village which carries on the wonderful use of Matte paintings the Star Wars films are known for. There is a wonderful Ewok glider scene at the beginning of the film that still stands up for the most part.A lot of the expanded universe we see again in The Ewoks cartoon (Which is another post altogether) and the short lived Marvel STAR Comics Ewoks comic book title.I was a fan of all things Star wars as a kid and watched the cartoons dilligently and was an avid reader of the comics! The Droids/Ewoks Power Hour was a must watch Saturday Morning destination for me! Fear not subscribers old Hero here is not forgetting these series..in fact they will all be part of my expanded Star Wars coverage as we build anticipation to episode 7!
I saw the movie as it aired in 1984 and my version of the movie was The Ewok Adventure. The title was changed however when the movie was actually given a theatrical release and was re-branded as Ewoks: Caravan Of Courage! I later picked up the double-sided DVD Lucas film release where the title Caravan Of Courage is officially used.
What we do get is an expanded detailed look into Endor. We see more of the expansive landscapes, the forbidden mountain ranges, new Endor Tree monsters, an in-depth look into Medicine healer Ewok, Lograys private quarters. We get to see a new Star Cruiser owned by the Towanis! This vessel was never again used in another Star Wars film outside of the Two Ewok TV Specials!
Star Wars didn’t have the internet behind it back in 1984 so if you were not tech savvy and own a VHS Video cassette Recorder or a BETA machine you missed this next installment of The Ewok adventure. Luckily another one of my favorite way to keep the memories of this movie alive was with the amazingly awesome Read Along Book and Record sets that featured a Story Book and a Record complete with awesome narrator that read the story to you! So with the scratch of the record player this is what we heard..Click the link below to listen to the store and scroll down as you hear the chime! I love technology!!
Hey!! You are still here? You guys are really hardcore Star Wars fans indeed!! In summary I am a fan of The Ewok Adventure! I have fond memories of this movie and its sequel as a child and a recent re-watch on YouTube confirmed my love of the movie. Yes it aged, the effects were horribly dated , and the acting goes without saying but and its a big but..I watched it with my five year old son and something amazing happened. He laughed at the parts we were meant to laugh at, was scared of the big monsters, and enjoyed the Ewoks and the kids! So..yeah, Ewok Adventure delivers to its target audience to this day! Maybe it is not as fondly remember as it should but it still stands as one of the most very rare Star Wars TV shows ever created! The Caravan Of Courage was actually followed up with a very fun sequel called The Battle For Endor and bares mentioning here!
More on the Battle For Endor will be written in the follow-up post dedicated to that movie! I have to summon my hardcore Star Wars spirit and re-watch that film again and The Satellite will be back with a full on recap of this piece of Star Wars TV history!!
That’s all for now Subscribers I hope you have enjoyed your tour of the planet Endor and I promise we will be back in a few parsecs to discuss the sequel, till then lets discuss The Ewok Adventure on Twitter by tweeting me @Charlton_Hero and use the #SuperHeroSatellite. Real Heroes leave comments below!! Dont be afraid..it doesnt hurt and we would sure love to hear from ya!!
Till Next time Heroes..I sense next time around we may enter into some possible secrets concerning the Next Super-Blog Team Up!! Look for it!!