Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, on ABC
Disney+; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikipedia; Wookieepedia
This first aired in 1984 (originally titled The Ewok Adventure), but I'm pretty sure I wasn't aware of it until much later, probably in the mid-90s. A second TV movie, "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor," aired in 1985. I didn't get ABC at the time, but I do remember watching the second movie on TV at some point in the 80s, probably on the Canadian network CTV. For a long time, I wanted a chance to see both movies, and then in 2004, they were released on a single DVD, which I remember seeing at Walmart and thinking something along the lines of, "Cool, I gotta get that. But I can't afford ten dollars right now." Not long after that, it was gone from the shelves, and if you looked for it online, it cost around a hundred dollars. Over the years, prices fluctuated up and down, but I never got it... until 2020, when I received it as a Christmas present. I watched it a few days later and thought, "This really does feel Christmas-y, because it's narrated by Burl Ives." Anyway... normally I have no rating between "meh and three quarters" and one smiley, but for this movie I wanted to rate it somewhere between those two ratings. I can't quite give it one smiley, but I also don't want to have "meh" in the rating. So whatever. I made up something new. It's really not a very good movie, but I still feel it was worth watching.
So, what can I say? A family has crashed on Endor, sometime prior to Return of the Jedi, the theatrical film in which we first met the Ewoks. There's a mother (Fionnula Flanagan) and father who are looking for their children, who had wandered away from the crash site. They include a young girl named Cindel Towani and her older brother, Mace. After the parents get captured by a monster called a Gorax, the kids are found by an Ewok named Deej, and two of his own children. At first, Mace doesn't trust the Ewoks, but Cindel quickly befriends them, and the others back at their village, including Wicket (who was always my favorite Ewok). Cindel soon falls sick, the Ewoks give her some medicine, and she gets better. Later, a group of Ewoks go along with Cindel and Mace to rescue their parents from the Gorax. They have some mishaps along the way, but eventually they find the elder Towanis, and everything turns out well.
It's a very simple story, and much more in the realm of fantasy than science fiction. The creature effects weren't as good as in the theatrical films, of course. And I found it weird how many animals there were that were just ordinary Earth animals. And it's a bit irritating often having no idea what the Ewoks are saying, but at the same time I found it weird how well they managed to communicate with the human children. (Mace is like a typical American tourist in some foreign country, repeating himself in English and expecting people to figure out what he means.) But there were some genuinely scary parts in the movie, I guess, but probably more so for young children than older viewers. And... I'm not sure what else to tell you. But I'm definitely glad to have seen it.