If you haven't seen The Ewok Adventure, you aren't entitled to call yourself a Star Wars fanatic. I've spoken to quite a few SW fans as of late who have never even heard of this old made-for-tv movie.
Course, growing up with three older brothers who were in the target age group when Star Wars first hit theatres in 1977, I was absolutely engulfed in everything surrounding it for my entire life. When I heard about this movie, I waited endlessly for weeks for that fateful night when it would appear right on the tv set. It was 1984, so I was 5 at most...but still I knew this was some magical moment that was going to be remembered.
Either that, or it's just a silly movie about Ewoks.
First, a little background: In 1984, George Lucas decided to expand his Star Wars universe onto the small screen. He wrote the story for this 'spin-off' of Return of the Jedi. The story focused on the popular furry creatures from Return of the Jedi, the Ewoks. Wicket, everyone's favorite Ewok, was the lead character, along with two humans who are stranded on Endor and looking for their parents.
To be honest, the movie didn't even come close to the quality of the real Star Wars movies. In fact, if they called the Ewoks 'Fuzzimals' and dropped any ties to Star Wars altogether, I'd probably say it sucked. But I'm a loyalist, so I actually have this on video and watch it from time to time when I need to punish myself after committing some form of evil.
Before we start nitpicking, I wrote out (read: stole and edited) the basic plot of the story, so here it is...
One day Wicket's father, Deej was looking out for his sons, Weechee and Widdle, and instead found a crashed star cruiser with the human children Mace and Cindel Towani. Deej brought the children back to the village and nursed them back to full health. When Cindel was healing, she became friends with Wicket. You'll notice right away that Mace is a knock-off Luke Skywalker character.
A question arose round the tribe not long after the children were back to full health. Where were their parents? Not long after that the question was answered. They were being held captive in the lair of the giant Gorax. Gorax was like the mean old lady down the block, only 50' tall.
The children asked the Ewoks to help them free their parents. And so Deej and his three sons Wicket, Weechee and Widdle left with the children. The traveling caravan was soon joined by Chukha Trok, an Ewok lumberjack, and Kaink, an Ewok priestess. The eight adventurers found that there were many obstacles and new experiences like Barra monsters, deadly pools of water, and fairylike Wisties.
Mace made friends with one of the Wisties during the adventures. (they were kinda like neon Tinkerbells) Wicket saved Mace's life from one of the deadly pools of water with a magic stick.. When they reached the lair of Gorax, Wicket and Widdle stayed just inside the cave to protect Cindel. In the dark cliffs, Mace and the remaining four Ewoks had to climb a web to cross the cliffs, where they encountered a giant spider. While Kaink distracts the spider, Chukha Trok used his axe on the web so the creature fell down the cliffs. Then they faced Gorax...
Down below Wicket faced the spider that just fell down the cliffs. Killing it with his own knife he saved Cindel and his brother. Up in the cave Mace's Wistie friend, Ezerina distracted Gorax while Chukha Trok and Mace freed the parents, Jeremitt and Catherine. During the battle, Chukha Trok was killed. Gorax fell down some pit, presumably to his death.
The Ewoks took the reunited Towani family back to the village and celebrated their good fortunes.
Reading that, it probably doesn't sound all that bad. And it really isn't, but there's a few odd things about this flick. First of all, there's a narrator throughout the film...and for the first 15 minutes, you feel like you're watching an Ewok documentary on the Discovery channel. 'Here we see the Ewoks...the younger Ewoks...playing...yes playing. When they get older, the Ewoks will bear more...yes more...responsibility to their tribe.' It was pretty odd.
You know how everyone nowadays complains about how George Lucas cares more about visual effect and computer animation than getting superior acting from his cast? Well, he was much worse back then. If the people who played the Towani family won any academy awards, I'm pretty sure it would be opposite day.
Starring as Wicket once again is Warwick Davis. You'd think he has it pretty good for a midget. There's not too many dwarfs (aside from Michael J. Fox) that could say they made it to the big time. You notice that Davis was in all these movies, and you figure he broke the mold. Well, not really guys. Take a look at some of the characters this guy has played...
Aside from the Ewok, Warwick played that closet case little Beedo guy from The Phantom Menace, The Leprechaun, and Willow. These aren't exactly the kind of things that get you handprints on Hollywood streets.
The Ewok Adventure wasn't without it's charm though. It had a lot of black magic and fun monsters. If you've seen it before, you'll feel like a little kid again watching it now, so that's another plus. Nothing like Star Wars for a pseudo-purity bath.
There's actually another made-for-tv Ewok movie...The Battle For Endor. It's much darker and it co-stars Wilford Fucking Brimley. I'll review that one down the line a bit.
If you'd like to see this movie...good luck. Chances are, you won't find it on Amazon.Com or anything. And unless you've still got a mom'n'pop video store in your area, I don't think any Blockbuster video stores are making sure they've got enough copies of this classic on the shelf. However, there's always eBay. If interested, do a search...you'll probably find it there.
On a semi-related topic, new Star Wars star Natalie Portman now has her own X-E Gallery.