Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) – Review

Star Wars is certainly one of the biggest franchises around, not just in terms of money made, but the sheer volume of content. Beyond the 6 movies (for now), there are animated series, video games, books, comics and various other sources of information. Somewhere in this pile however lie a couple of lesser-known live-action features. Other than the infamous Holiday Special there are two Ewok made-for-TV movies. Battle for Endor is the second of these, though it soon became apparent that not having seen the first wasn’t too much of an issue as there really is little in the way of plot padding out these 90 minutes. George Lucas is often derided by Star Wars fans for his late-‘90’s tinkering of the original movies and for his prequel trilogy featuring 38 hours of political ‘drama’, Darth Vader being a whiny little girl, and Jar-Jar Binks. However, long before any of this, the Ewok movies were made. This film’s sole writing credit is to Lucas himself, meaning he is single-handedly responsible for what lies within. We open on Endor where a young girl called Cindel and “Warwick Davis” Wickett are going about their day. Without any real sense of consequence her family is killed before a reasonably brutal battle scene for a children’s movie results in the abduction of her and her furry companions. Inexplicably escaping the clutches of the evil army they befriend a cantankerous old man and his friend – a thing called Teek that at first glimpse could set the fear of death into the sturdiest of souls.

One person I watched this film with screamed in terror

It soon transpires however that Teek is the single greatest thing about this film, with his hideous yet somehow friendly face, mannerisms that eschew the other critters of this film by not prompting you to wish another character would wear them, and more convincing puppetry than anything else that graces the screen. Many if not all of the Ewoks are obviously borrowed from Return of the Jedi, whereas the original villains in this feature would be more at home in a Power Rangers episode. With no mention of The Force (or anything Star Wars related really) a main villain, menacingly named Morag, is a witch who uses her magic ring for evil; including, but not limited to, turning herself into a crow. Because apparently crows live on Endor too. Along with the horse she often rides. When the second act takes place mostly in a medieval castle it really compounds the feeling that this is not a Star Wars film at all.

George Lucas, WHY!?

After the villains are disposed of by means that makes absolutely no sense and the credits begin to roll you’re left remembering the fact that most of the film was completely irrelevant and/or nothing actually happened – a hazy recollection like a fever dream. Particularly unsettling memories are probably topped by the scene in which Cindel sings the song her Mum used to sing. It lasts far too long and is in contention for being the most awkward-to-watch movie scene in cinematic history. Oddly though, for this bizarre, barely watchable randomness I actually enjoyed it. It’s like the children’s equivalent of the trashy action and horror flicks of the 1980’s that make absolutely no sense but are horribly enjoyable.

3/10

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