The Star Wars universe is vast and unlimited, with six main films but also a myriad of spin-offs. These range from the excellent, including the tremendous Clone Wars that has just recently finished its second season, to the distinctly average - the Droids and Ewoks cartoons being prime examples. The live-action Ewok TV-movies, which were made back in the mid-80s, definitely fit into the latter category.
Caravan of Courage is the first of the two tales. The Ewoks, who were not exactly the highlight of the Star Wars trilogy, popped up in Return of the Jedi to provide some furry fun. Largely just primitively armed and drably coloured Care Bears, the Ewoks live on the moon of Endor. In the Caravan of Courage, a star-cruiser carrying a small family - the Towanis - crashes on Endor and the parents are captured by a large monster called Gorax. Left to forage by themselves, the two children - a girl, Cindel and a boy, Mace (no relation to Samuel L. Jackson's Episode II and III character) - are discovered by a family of Ewoks who take them back to their village. After learning to trust the funny, furry creatures, the kids discover that their parents are still alive and go looking for them, this time with the assistance of the Ewoks. On their journey, the group pick up other Ewoks, thus becoming the Caravan of Courage.
The Battle For Endor is a direct sequel to the Caravan, in which the Ewok village on Endor comes under attack from a gang of marauders. Cindel - returning from the first film - who was just about to escape the planet on her families' repaired star-cruiser, manages to escape along with one of the Ewoks, Wicket. Together, after a series of adventures and confrontations, they come across another person who crash-landed on the planet, Noa, an old man who reluctantly agrees to help them.
Perhaps there are no real big names here, but it is worth noting Wilford Brimley as Noa in the second movie. He's a fairly recognisable bit-part actor who has done films as varied as Tom Cruise's The Firm and Van Damme's Hard Target. The rest of the cast are relatively unknown and, although the child actors are very 'cute', they are not particularly talented. Both of the productions are pretty low-budget affairs, especially the first one, relying on leftover sets and costumes from the original Star Wars films, and of course the Star Wars name itself, to sustain your interest. The stories are actually quite well thought-out and extremely well tailored for children, obviously the intended target audience, but they are not significant in the grand scheme of things with respect to the Star Wars universe and are not particularly adult-friendly. I'm not suggesting that some won't find this interesting - it does have its good moments - but I would recommend it strictly for avid fans of Star Wars, preferably those who are fond of the Ewoks, or for kids. And if you do find that you like this production and the stories within, you should also look out for the new cartoon release of the Ewok adventures, a spin-off series that follows on from these movies.
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