- Co-written and Directed by Jim and Ken Wheat
- November 24, 1985
In order to steal a power supply they believe magical, a group of mysterious marauders raid the Ewok village and now Wicket with the help of a hermit must help Cindel escape their clutches.
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is an improvement over Caravan of Courage. The story here was clearly constructed as a television film and not a padded-out idea for a special. It is a much stronger story than its predecessor because of that simple fact.
One thing that bothered me is this time around the Ewoks that are shown in the film-and there’s maybe 10 or 15 in this movie-clearly all live on the ground when it was established in Jedi that Ewoks are exclusively tree dwellers. For me that’s a huge change especially since this movie still features Wicket (Warwick Davis) and he was one of the tree dwelling Ewoks. Come on, man!
The Battle for Endor, much like its predecessor, leans heavily into magic stuff. That’s all well and good but it makes this much more of a fantasy film than it does a science-fiction film. And that’s even though the monsters who speak in some alien tongue have blasters.
Early in the story Cindel’s (Aubree Miller) family is wiped out leaving her the central human character with Wicket as a mere sidekick. And she is the main character despite ‘Ewoks’ being in the title. I still believe the Ewoks should have been the focus of both movies with there being no human characters. Star Wars has plenty of characters spouting gibberish that you can still understand.
The ever-elderly Wilford Brimley joins the goings on as Noa-an individual who is also stranded on the moon of Endor. In the story his character crashed there many years ago with a friend who went wondering around the moon of Endor hoping to stumble across a crystal for the power converter of their starship. Was he prospecting? Or was he just hoping to stumble across somebody with the thing they needed? Was this section of space known for its crashes? Or maybe this takes place at some point after Jedi, and he was hoping to find something left over from the Imperial forces or maybe this takes place before Jedi and the guy was an idiot? I have no idea.
Noa is a gruff old man but it’s clear this gruff old man has a heart of gold and a soft spot immediately for the cute little girl with the curly blonde hair. I give the actress props for doing a much better performance this time around than in the last one. I’m not sure what caused her improvement, but it was very welcome.
The sorceress Charal (Siân Phillips) works for the warlord Terak (Carel Struycken) whose species looks suspiciously like the Nikto species first seen in Jedi. Were they the same? Terak is under the impression the device he seeks is a source of great power that he can use for conquest.
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is very child friendly but unlike the last movie the events of the story do lead to the conclusion. This isn’t filled with random side adventures to pad out what was originally 30 minutes worth of narrative. It is all a slow progression towards the end but it is all a progression towards the end.
One thing that impressed me when I was a kid and still works for me today is the use of stop motion animation in this movie. Here we get a giant bird creature as well as two reptilian creatures very similar to the dewbacks from A New Hope.
The action in this movie is an overall improvement over the last one as well. Again it’s child friendly but it’s still pretty exciting stuff. The music doesn’t remind me so much of Star Wars as it does Star Trek (specifically Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). That’s honestly what I was thinking when I heard this.
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is the better of the two Ewok films and I think it can be justifiably called the second Star Wars spinoff movie. An improvement over the first, I think you should give this a watch.