Caravan Of Courage : An Ewok Adventure is one of two made-for-TV movies taking place in the Star Wars Universe. Released in 1984, one year after Return Of The Jedi, both films are obviously aimed towards children. Let’s face it, you had to be child to like the amount of Ewoks in Return Of The Jedi. I do believe you need to have an emotional connexion to Caravan Of Courage to be able to enjoy it. I used to watch it on a regular basis as a little girl so I have a soft spot for it. If you’re discovering the film today, as an adult…well, I’m sorry for you !
The film takes place on the moon of Endor, home of a race of teddy bear-looking creatures called Ewoks. A family of four crashes on the moon and when the parents are kidnapped by the Gorlax (a minotaur-looking monster), it is up to their children, Mace and Cindel, to save them. On their journey, they are helped by a group of Ewoks, including the famous Wicket.
If you didn’t watch Caravan Of Courage as a child, you’re in for a painful ride as it is objectively a bad film. Written by George Lucas, it lacks the scale of the Star Wars films in the sense that no matter what the outcome is, there’s no other consequence than the family being reunited.
The acting is terrible from the entire cast (that is to say, the four actors portraying human characters). The first scene in which the parents realize they don’t know where their children are looks like a parody in the way every line is delivered. But then, it gets even worse when you get to meet the children. Never have I seen such unlikable characters meant to be the heroes. Mace, the older brother, is obnoxious, ungrateful, whiny and full of himself. He’s such an annoying character despite his purposeful resemblance to Luke Skywalker (from the orange suit to some character traits). And then, there’s Cindel, the little sister, who is simply a human version of an Ewok. She is indeed a cute little girl but her delivery of every single line is painful to the ears (and monotone).
Caravan Of Courage also suffers from mediocre writing. The story follows a pattern : the caravan reaches a location, Mace does something stupid that endangers him, Wicket saves the day, on to the next location. The films quickly gets repetitive. However, in its short running time, it is adventure-packed. As repetitive as it is, I wasn’t bored throughout my viewing.
The third act unfortunately doesn’t pay off. The journey in itself, to reach the Gorax’s lair, wasn’t as difficult as anticipated. The final act, as epic as it would look in theory (a giant spider and an enormous monster), is disappointing as the enemy is rather easy to defeat. There’s never a moment when you fear for the heroes thus rendering the entire confrontation pointless.
I could write a few more pages listing Caravan Of Courage’s many flaws but you get the idea : it is a mediocre film from the writing to the acting. That being established, here’s my final statement about it : I love this film ! Granted, the main reason is my attachment to this story having watched it countless time during my childhood. I would recommend it if you are a hardcore Star Wars fan who needs to watch everything related to our beloved universe but for anyone else, don’t waste your time, you won’t like it if you’ve never seen it before.