Matt Donabie returns to Endor...
I know that many Star Wars fans resent the Ewoks for adding cuteness and comic relief to Return of the Jedi. I also know that there are many fans that feel the same distaste to them as they do Jar-Jar Binks - the dislike for that character I get, he was obnoxious and terribly written - but I don't think the Ewoks spoiled anything in Return of the Jedi, and are nothing like Jar-Jar. They served their purpose of being the
indigenous species of Endor, and just happened to also be tiny and
furry. Cute and cuddly is allowed sometimes. Remember they did get in on the action in Episode VI, and in The Battle For Endor, as the title probably allows you to infer, they see another epic fight.
This 1985 made-for-TV movie is based on a story by George Lucas, but not written by him this time. It's also much darker than the previous years offering. Set sometime between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it's been about six months since the events of the first film, and the Towani family's starcruiser is almost completely fixed. Wicket has picked up some English from Cindel and her family, which is a good idea as it negates the need for a narrator in this film.
The darkness is evident quiet early on when
gang of Marauders attack the Ewok village, many of the little guys do not survive the attack, and in the midst of
struggle Cindel's mother, father and brother Mace are also killed. This is quiet a shock, and something which I found devastating on first viewing as a child.
Wicket and Cindel escape, and the main focus of the story is on these two characters and a human named Noa (Cocoon's Wilford Brimley). The middle section is a lot lighter and I still find myself chuckling at some of the scenes even now, but the battle at the end is all out action, as the Ewoks take arm against the Marauders.
Again I think they made good use of the limited made-for-TV budget, from the Marauders themselves and their dim-witted blurrgs (dinosaur-like beasts), to Noa's little rodent-like companion named Teek who runs at blindingly fast speeds. All in all, The Battle For Endor is the stronger of the two Ewok movies, and its a shame that so many people were put off my Caravan of Courage that they likely skipped this one. There was to be a third movie, but I suspect the ratings and poor box office from the limited theatrical release of this movie put an end to that.
The two Ewok movies are available on a single DVD, often find at a bargain price. So if you've never seen them, and if you're prepared to open your mind to the magic of the Star Wars universe then I think you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised. Especially if, like myself, you have a soft spot for the Ewoks.
Matt has a passion for just about anything from the 1980s, and prides himself on never having seen the movie Grease.