Turn Back the Clock
Star Wars: The Battle for Endor
Distributed by: MGM Home Video
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
After Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans were starved for anything related to their favorite science fiction heroes. When George Lucas produced a Star Wars made-for-TV movie called Caravan of Courage, fans were ecstatic and they let it be known that they wanted more. Mr. Lucas was only happy to oblige, creating the sequel, The Battle for Endor.
When we last visited Endor, the Towani family had just created an alliance with the Ewoks. Having crash-landed on the planet, the family had gotten separated. The children were found by the Ewoks and the parents were taken by a monster known as the Gorax. After the Ewoks helped Mace (Eric Walker) and Cindel (Aubree Miller) save their parents, the family was more than happy to spend their time in the Ewok Village until they could get their ship in working order.
Six months later, in The Battle for Endor, we discover that the Towani familyís star cruiser is almost completely repaired. Wicket (Warwick Davis) prepares to lose his new favorite playmate, but is happy that his friend Cindel will finally be able to go home. All celebration is cut short however when the Ewok Village is attacked by a group of marauders led by Terak and the sorceress Charal (Sian Phillips). Cindelís family is killed, the power cell for their ship confiscated and Wicketís entire village is captured.
Wicket and Cindel manage to escape the marauders. They happen upon a furry, speedy little creature name Teek and a grumpy old hermit named Noa. When Cindel is recaptured by the Terak in an attempt to make the child activate the power cell he stole from her family, itís up to Noa, Teek and Wicket to rescue Cindel and the Ewoks from the clutches of evil.
I have some mixed feelings about The Battle for Endor. The nostalgia of seeing this film after all these years makes me smile. The story is cute and great for the younger Star Wars generation. I think Cindel is adorableÖshe looks a great deal like Drew Barrymore when she was her age. And of course I love Wicket. In act, their antics, along with those of Teek, are incredibly cute and funny at times. I loved Wilford Brimley as Noa, the grumpy loner with a big heart. I also enjoyed the fact that Lucas decided to forego the blatant displays of special effects like the character made of flame in the last film. It was overdone and not especially entertaining and Iím glad they saw the error in their ways on that film and corrected it for this adventure.
Of course, there are bound to be some gripes. For one thing, there wasnít a great deal of backstory involving the marauders, Terak or Charal. For another, the film was only made a year later, they decided to change fathers on us. The first film featured Guy Boyd as Jeremitt Towani and the second film features Paul Gleason in the role. It shouldnít matter much since he only appears very briefly before heís killed off, but did they think we wouldnít notice the change? Also, I could have done without all of the scenes in which the marauders grunted and the Ewoks spoke their language with no subtitles. It was reminiscent of the Star Wars Holiday Special Wookie scenes and we know how well those were received.
Then, thereís the continuity issue. This movie is supposed to take place prior to Return of the Jedi. In Caravan of Courage, Cindel teaches Wicket how to speak Basic. In The Battle for Endor, Wicket speaks Basic fairly well. He has also run into his fair share of humans. So, why is it that when he meets Princess Leia he is not only afraid of her, he speaks only his native tongue and has no idea what she is saying to him.
Despite these gripes, I did have fun watching The Battle for Endor as an adult. I hadnít seen this movie in years and I really enjoyed that trip back into my childhood when life was much simpler and kidís movies like these were among my favorite media memories. The Ewok series of made-for-TV movies by George Lucas are great for the younger Star Wars fans out there who are just getting into the wonders of the Star Wars galaxy. Happily, they are available in a double feature set for a decent price from a variety of DVD sellers all over the internet.