Matt Donabie wants to share with the group...
My name is Matt, and I love the Ewok movies.
To finally put that out there... it feels so good.
When I was young and played with my many Star Wars action figures I'd recreate scenes from the films. I'd make my own play sets, often out of cardboard boxes. So Luke would fight Darth Vader against the backdrop of Clarks shoebox with scribbles on. It was the Death Star to me. I'd loop a towel into the shape of a donut and place it on the floor. Now I had the Sarlaac Pit, and Boba Fett better watch out. My point being is that Star Wars didn't need all the special effects to capture my imagination, just the thought of the characters and their adventures was enough to get me excited, and so when this first Ewok movie arrived I didn't care that it was a made-for-TV low budget affair, with dodgy sets, matte
paintings, and stop-motion-animations, all I saw was more adventures in the Star Wars universe.
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, it can make you very forgiving of any flaws because you're instantly transported to the happy memories of youth. This is so true of many movies for me, especially those from this mid-80s period, but even if I lose my rose-tinted glasses I still find The Ewok Adventure just as exciting, fun and charming today as I found the film when I first saw on its debut. To be sure, some of the animated special effects have aged, but that is to be expected of a made-for-TV movie from 1984.
Originally just titled The Ewok Adventure, but subsequently retitled to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, the film is set between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. We visit the forest moon of Endor in the Year 2032 where the Towani family starcruiser lies wrecked after a crash landing. The Towani family children, Mace and Cindel, are separated from their parents and soon, after some initial scuffles, befriend the Ewoks. With the help of Wicket and a caravan of Ewoks, they set off on a fantastical adventure to locate their parents, eventually facing off against the monstrous Gorax.
The original idea for a stand-alone Ewok adventure came from George Lucas himself, and he retained full creative control having been quite hands off on the previous made-for-TV Star Wars special which resulted in the embarrassing Holiday Special. Lucas also wrote the story, and Joe Johnston acted as production designer, so there was a fair amount of talent attached to the production. I say this because many people write it off as a quick cash grab production, put together cheaply to sell toys and line some fat-cat's pockets. I really don't believe this to be true, I think they made the most of the limited budget available, and employed as much talent as the production would allow.
Warwick Davis returns as Wicket, and although the rest of the cast is made up of unknown actors the story is narrated by the distinctive voice of Burl Ives. But the magic of Star Wars has never been about big name actors, and in this adventure everything is really about the Ewoks anyway. I suppose if they didn't appeal to you in Return of the Jedi then you are unlikely to appreciate them in any other movie. Fortunately I always loved them, and this gave me many more adventures to act out in my imagination.
Matt has a passion for just about anything from the 1980s, and prides himself on never having seen the movie Grease.