Previously, I watched Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, a made-for-TV Star Wars spin off for kids that was… fine. It was fine. I’ve definitely seen worse kids movies and worse Star Wars films. But then there’s its sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. While the first film is a story of togetherness–children teaming up with teddy bears to save their parents–the second film is darker, but also no longer fine. Kinda bad, in fact.
Remember Cindel, the little girl from the first film? Good, good. How about her brother, Mace, and their parents? Well forget about them, because they all die in the first 10 minutes as bandits raid the ewok village and murder a bunch of humans and fursuiters. Now alone with Wicket (once again played by Mr. Warwick Davis), the two try to survive while being pursued by the cruel Terak (Carel Struycken, AKA Lurch from The Addams Family movies) and his pet sorceress, Charal (Siân Phillips, AKA Reverend Mother from Lynch’s Dune). Oh yeah, she’s retroactively considered a Nightsister, making her sort of the first appearance of the dark sisterhood, but what really is canon, these days? Anyway, Terak wants a power source that he thinks is from Cindel’s spaceship, but turns out what he’s looking for was once owned by Noa (Wilford Brimley), another human who crash landed on the planet ages ago. Noa reluctantly agrees to help Cindel and Wicket, as does his… pet, I guess, Teek, a truly nightmarish creature. It appears happy and friendly, but I can see it begging for the sweet release of death in its soulless eyes. Anyway, they get captured and taken to Terak’s castle–sure, I guess it was either built a hundred years after Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi or Leia and crew got the fuck off of that moon without ever looking around. But it turns out the crystal he’s been looking for has been Charal’s ring the entire time. Terak grabs it, but gets destroyed with it when it’s damaged slightly. The film ends with Noa and Cindel leaving the forest moon of Endor, saying goodbye to Wicket and Teek. I imagine they had to get out of there before ewok mating season began.
For a children’s film that starts with a massacre, this was a really boring movie. The stakes are definitely higher, but nothing really engaged me. Terak is a bland villain while Charal has some interesting aspects to her, but the Nightsister connection is a retcon so the coolest part of her is something that was made up years later. It’s just bland. This didn’t need to happen. And yet, the Ewoks animated series is a spin-off of this, so I guess someone enjoyed it (that someone being George Lucas and only him).
One interesting thing about the movie is that it was written and directed by a pair of brothers, Jim and Ken Wheat. They’ve written some less than stellar sequels, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, The Fly II, and The Birds II: Land’s End. Fuck, man, I didn’t even know about that last one… But those aren’t what they’re known for. Oh no, these are the men who created the character of Riddick, writing the story for Pitch Black, which stands among their filmography because it doesn’t completely suck. That film appears to be a turning point for the Wheat brothers, because everything they’ve done since then has been Riddick related or cancelled, like their Apt Pupil remake. Congratulations, boys, you created your own Star Wars-like cinematic universe. Too bad it’s only well regarded by weirdos like me.
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