Monday, March 20, 2017

Hey, remember those Ewok movies?

I'm surprised at how little Internet nostalgia there is for those Ewok movies.  You can find one or two videos on them, but I'd have thought there would be more.
Not that they were very good, but they were a huge part of everyone's childhood back in the 1980s. So you'd think with the revival of Star Wars and of all things nostalgic, these movies would be getting more attention.

Anyway I was young enough in the 1980s that I loved these movies at the time.
I'm told that they are actually pretty bad when viewed through adult eyes, but I wouldn't know.  (I've never re-watched these movies as an adult.  I was probably about 10 the last time I saw either of them.)

Anyway, there are a couple of Youtubers who have taken on these movie.  This guy here and here.

He mentions briefly something that I myself had always been annoyed by, even as a child--namely that the girl's entire family is killed off in the first few minutes of Ewoks: The Battle for Endor .
This is, as he mentions, an extremely dark way to start off a children's movie.  But actually the dark tone didn't bother me as a child.  If you're a child, you are already used to these dark scenes.  A kid losing their entire family and having to make it on their own is a surprisingly common theme in children's movies.  (How many Disney movies contain the death of one or more parent?)
No, what bugged me about it was not that the parents got killed off, but that the entire previous movie had been about rescuing the parents.  So you spent the entire previous movie getting invested in the rescue of the parents, and then in the sequel they decide to just undo all that in a couple minutes by killing off the parents.
So now how was I supposed to enjoy the previous movie ever again?  Even as a kid, that bugged me.

What caused this awful decision?  There's an interview with the actor who played the boy from these movies online here.  He explained why his character (along with the parents) was killed off in the first 10 minutes of the sequel.

Why did your character Mace die in the second film, The Battle for Endor?
I was personally taken aside by the brothers who wrote and directed the second movie with Lucasfilm. They told me that when they sat down with George they had a lot of ideas regarding my character Mace. Then George immediately told them that he was only doing the second Ewok film for his young daughter Amanda at the time. For Amanda, being a young girl around the same age as Aubree, Cindel was her hero. So the movie was to center around her character. The last comment they made was that if she was a teenager then it would have been a Mace movie. The orginal drafts didn't have any of the family involved except Cindel and the Ewoks. It was later decided that we would have to be involved even if we were killed off. The mother starts the movie already dead. The person who played the father in the first Ewok movie declined to work on it because his role was so small. So they hired Paul Gleason of The Breakfast Club-fame, to replace the orginial father, Guy Boyd.

Okay, I get George Lucas wanting to make a movie for his daughter.  But did they have to kill off her whole family?  Couldn't she have gotten temporarily separated from her family instead?  Wouldn't that have been much better?
This should have been a warning sign that George Lucas was starting to make incredibly poor decisions with his characters.  It was a foretaste of what was to come with the Star Wars prequels.

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