Monday, 21 January 2013

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)

Mace and Cindel return for the follow up story to their predicament. Cindel's family don't get too far into the film which leaves us with the helpless princess and her best Ewok friend Wicket. This time the duo must save their other Ewok friends and battle against Terak, a nasty pirate marauder and his rather band of dumb henchmen. Along the way they are helped by a kind but grumpy old man played by the legendary Wilford Brimley.

The whole plot is virtually the same as before really, some characters are taken prisoner, so it's up to a small band of other good guys to save them. Naturally it's still a full on kids film so it's very comical, silly and a bit camp at times but that's to be expected. Acting again is pretty ropy but Brimley has a good go adding some flavour.

Much the same deal as the first Ewok adventure only this is slightly better methinks. The bad guys are a silly bunch but they certainly look the part and fit into the Star Wars universe perfectly. If you think along the lines of the Weequay race that are seen in 'Return of the Jedi' and then just add the CGI animated Clone Wars series characters lead by Hondo for an idea of lots of them in a gang.

Effects are still sketchy but this is an old film, heavy use of stop-motion animation which is really jerky but again it adds to the charm just like the first film. Gotta admit I loved the large dinosaur-like 'Blurrgs', a simple yet effective design which is pure Star Wars ('Willow' pinched the concept I reckon), even more so with the classic stop-motion animation.

The whole look of the film is actually quite good and better than the first if you ask me. It still looks a bit cheap and basic but Terak's fortress is nicely done and the forest moon of Endor looks less like California. Costumes and makeup for the Sanyassans are nice too, nothing original but they do the job, Terak the leader looks the best of course, even has white balding hair which actually gives him a good sense of depth and history.

The witch/sorcerer character of Charal seems rather pointless frankly as she does nothing except turn into a crow, or raven? I dunno. Much more magic and sorcery in this adventure but still a quirky fun deeper look into the world of the Ewoks and their home. Overall a closer feel to the Star Wars universe for me and slightly more exciting but only just. A film aimed at kids which is extremely tame and admittedly the only reason it gets away with it, is because its [i]Star Wars[/i].