The Ewok Adventure AKA Caravan of Courage Review

The Ewok Adventure was released on TV in the US and in overseas theaters as ‘The Caravan of Courage’.  Two human children are searching for their missing parents after a starship crash leaves them stranded on Endor. Who should show up to help…but Wicket the Ewok’s family.

The story:

Mace and Cindel are very young, and clearly from a place where someone like Ewoks are considered primitive. Mace in particular has some growing up to do in regards to how he views the furry natives with the spears. He also is now responsible for his little sister, who does like the ewoks but is also sick.

When a clue surfaces as to wear his parents are and the danger they are in, Mace has to admit they need help. So begins the trek to a monster’s fortress, across Endor’s strange land to rescue their parents. We see the moon is not all forest. There are plains and lakes, deserts and rock. Strange creatures appear, such as the Wisties. There are magic crystals and magic rocks.

Characters:

  • Mace Towani is about 13 and already knows how to handle a laser rifle. He’s also very cocky and thinks he’s tough.
  • Cindel Towani is about 5 and is still innocent and untouched by prejudice.
  • Jeremitt and Catarine are their parents.
  • Wicket of course is the same Wicket as in Return of the Jedi. Now we meet his family:
  • Deej: his father, who first finds Mace and Cindel.
  • Shodu: his mother, who gives Cindel medicine.
  • Weechee and Widdle, his older brothers.
  • Also we have Logray, (he who will think Han Solo is dinner)
  • Chukha-Trok the woodcutter
  • Kank the priestess.

Review:

I loved the whole family element to this. It was a classic story: 2 children who have to rescue their parents from a monster.

We get to see a side of Endor unknown in the movies, as well as a side of the ewoks. We have seen the fierce (if small) warriors who took on an Empire who was despoiling their land.

Now we see a smaller, family element. And without the mass threat of what the Empire plans for them (which one can infer by what they did to the previous planet where they built a Death Star as well as their known treatment of natives) how will they react?

Mace begins as an outright jerk, rapidly put in his place by the ewoks.  Mace’s attitude bothered me at the time.  But Mace did have courage and he did grow to respect the furry fighters. After all, he was a teenager and acting cocky, over confident and tough is hardly unheard of in boys of that age. He also may have been acting brave for the sake of his sister.

Cindel is sweet and open.  She recognizes the Ewoks are people, as opposed to animals, straight off.  She is open to learning from them and never looks down on them.

I felt rather amused and sorry for Deej, who already has two squabbling sons of his own plus one eager to grow up too fast and a baby daughter. Now he has a human teenager to deal with!

I won’t deny a certain bias to them having real ponies too, being a horse lover myself. Ultimately its just a nice family story and I enjoyed the ending.

Continuity:

This is one of those things that appealed more over time, as more occurred to me. To begin with, this is set during the Rebellion era apparently. After A New Hope but before Return of the Jedi (Wicket is not yet a warrior and is still somewhat protected.) As such Mace’s attitude suddenly made more sense. He was raised in a time where other species were not given equal rights.

Jeremitt (the Dad) too asks ‘what is that’ as if he isn’t too familiar with non humans. Then again, he had no reason to know if an Ewok was a he, she or had genders at all. They aren’t so much anti-alien as just unfamiliar with how smart or wise a non human might be. So this made watching Mace grow out of it even more interesting because it fits into a larger picture.

Mace also makes it easy to imagine what a young Luke Skywalker was like, or even just a hint of a young Anakin as a padawan. They were boys,  teenagers like Mace, and just as likely to have bravado and be reckless as he was.

The Ewok characters don’t just tie into movies, but also the animated TV show. Wicket’s family makes appearance there, especially his brothers. Chukha-Trok also shows up.

Kank’s crystal and the magic of the ewoks remains a bit of a mystery. However crystals with force powers have been documented elsewhere.

Cindel Towani is mentioned  as being a journalist in post Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe stories.

TV Effects

Made for TV, this has a lower budget than the primary movies and it does occasionally show in the somewhat jerky stop motion creature animation. This involves the giant mighty gorax (and his pet) who have taken Mace and Cindel Towani’s parents.  Instead of exotic riding beasts the ewoks ride ponies. Yes, real earth ponies. None of this diminishes the story in any way.

Also the Star Wars fan should go in aware of the alterations to Return of the Jedi in later media releases.  In the original version they couldn’t blink. Small details like that make a difference.   But in later releases,  the ewoks were somewhat tweaked for the later releases, such as Blu-Ray. It probably makes it more noticeable that they don’t in this.