SUB-GENRES: Fantasy / Adventure
DIRECTED BY: John Korty
WRITTEN BY: Bob Carrau (screenplay); George Lucas (story)
PEW PEW: The film isn’t as exciting as it could have been, but there is some action that goes along with the adventure spirit of the film.
CAT FOOD: This film is for young children and contains messages of friendship, love, and determination. It does stress the point not to judge things based on their appearance — a very important social commentary.
One can scarcely review the series of Star Wars films whilst failing to touch on the two mostly forgotten television films that featured the lovable ewoks.
Taking place before Return of the Jedi, Caravan of Courage presents us with an isolated storyline, one that involves the furry little buggers embarking on an adventure to save the parents of a pair of children from a deadly, and quite menacing, giant.
Basically, the children, Mace and Cindel, and their parents crash land on Endor, the home of the ewoks. When Mace and Cindel go missing in the night, the parents are kidnapped by the gnarly giant gorax, leaving the children hopelessly alone.
After being discovered by the ewoks (and despite Mace’s repeated belligerence) the two children convince the ewoks to help them journey to the gorax’s fortress. A team, not unlike the Fellowship of the Ring, is put together and the adventure, such as it is, begins.
By and large, Caravan of Courage is worth little more than nostalgic enjoyment. The plot is linear (although narrated by the legendary Burl Ives) and predictable. It’s meant for young children, so I can’t really slight it a whole lot for this. There are some neat moments where we meet stop-motion creatures, and the gorax himself is rather impressive for a film like this. Some concepts are inventive if not looked at too closely, and there are indeed some heart-warming and heart-wrenching moments.
Of significant note is that this film and its sequel do manage to maintain the overall aesthetic of the Star Wars franchise, and do add something to its world. There are strange creatures and perilous environments to explore, the sound design is incredible (the giant hound-like monster we meet near the beginning has a really strange and very cool beller), and what technology we do see maintains the look and function of those in the films proper.
Oh, but Mace is annoying as hell. Episode II Anakin and Episode IV Luke combined aren’t as whiny and unwilling to surrender to cool as this little bastard is.
I can’t really tell what an outside audience would think of this, as I’ve grown up with the film as a childhood favourite. What I can tell you is that as I grow older, it degrades a little, whereas its sequel, The Battle for Endor, surprisingly doesn’t. Thus, I must restate that this film isn’t really that good outside of its nostalgic qualities.