RATING: * *
RATING: * * *
THE EWOK ADVENTURE isn't going to win any awards for its basic storyline, plot, and acting routines, and it may remind some of us about the silly live-action Filmation programs that once dominated Saturday mornings in the 70s. The leftover sets from JEDI and its costumes are a real help along with Burl Ives' narration. Don't expect BIG results here; it's VERY predictable! While its fun for virtually all ages, leave this to the kids.
This is such a big deal after all because it offers a walloping combination of soul tunes, car chases, special effects, and crazy characters like female assassin Carrie Fisher and Nazi leader Henry Gibson. Put everything else together and you have one of the wildest experiences ever. If you want to know why it's so wild, the supporting cast of dancers, prison inmates, and law enforcers really shows that the movie itself is very hard at work! The music was supposed to be the main attraction in the first place, with real-life singers James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Cab Calloway. They add to the theme of this "bluesy" movie with their own style of performing familiar tunes. The real stars are Aykroyd and Belushi who can be both funny and talented on and off the stage. Probably the duo's all-time best performance is the singing numbers. But after the singing, we await the sudden amazement of car crashes and smashes that make up the excitement, with the largest impact ever since the 1974 cult classic GONE IN 60 SECONDS. It certainly has "Made In Chicago" stamped all over this picture! There are tons of entertaining moments that never go blind. Just sit back and watch it all go boom!
Aykroyd and Belushi would have fared well in GHOSTBUSTERS had there been more movies produced, but this remains to be THE comedy classic for the wild SNL pair. DVD owners must not miss this one as it makes a valuable addition to your library. It's not really the masterpiece of a genius, but it is a good-natured effort in using different film genres in one complete package. Definitely recommended for Landis lovers out there.
If there had to be one litle thing I would disgress on the trilogy, it's the cute-and-cuddliness of this third installment. Almost everywhere is a big puppet, and that's saying much for the children who has endlessly loved the STAR WARS phenomenon. Ewoks included, the puppets and heavy costumes were the most creative and lively characters ever since the first film (not counting C-3PO and R2-D2). It feels like you're watching a Jim Henson masterpiece, though. The disadvantage is that it loses much of its epic splendor that was present in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but it is gracefully made up by the greatest climactic conflict between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. This IS worth seeing the whole 6-7 hour saga in the anticipation of a captivating and powerful premise. You've got to see the first STAR WARS...first!
We go to the movies to see special effects, and there has been much more done. Without them, there would be no signs of real life! Just remember to hang on tight for the "air ski" sequence which was amazingly well done at showcasing a little speed for the ultimate thrills. The Special Edition gives us an ending that must be believed. It was a desperate need in front of the unsentimental one the original version had. Long live Lucas!
No matter what striking events there may be, the best recommendation lies upon the original STAR WARS TRILOGY (1977-83).
It looks like we have another director in charge: Irvin Kirshner. But it is still George Lucas who's in full command. Key elements are (or were) beefed up to maximum "force", which is very noticable throughout. The simple layout of the story is still STAR WARS, now with a plot that thickens into greater epic dimensions. Continuing the story in motion is a brilliant thought. You just never call this a sequel! Characters have much more to their integrity than the previous film, with Yoda as a new addition. Luke Skywalker remains the powerful hero, but his interest with Yoda adds to his legacy along with the revealing truth about Darth Vader. Han Solo and Princess Leia have some touchy chemistry in-between the action (finally!). R2-D2 remains likeable, but you've got to look at C-3PO! What happened to him? We've come to know more about the cast, that is if you aren't careless to see EPISODE FIVE for the first time in your life.
Like I said before, this next installment has much more. More speed, more intense combat battles, a more thundering orchestrated soundtrack by John Williams, and more special effects. Sights of objects that float in the air looked unbelievable (for the time). The biggest achievement goes to location filming under adverse conditions (the scene of Hoth), adding life to the story.
George Lucas' script was of extreme brilliance in the first STAR WARS that only some further polishing would make his follow-up more revolutionary. Which is the one and only improvement in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Once again, please don't forget the Special Edition; no major movie classic has ever been updated in style thanks to Lucas' ILM team. Will EPISODE TWO live up to this?
You can very well remember how George Lucas and the whole ILM gang made this trilogy through its history of complications. The original STAR WARS was a terrible undertaking for Lucas because he wanted a movie that feels true to realistic. When JAWS was playing in 1975, it showed off some new special effects technology of a great white shark, and managed to achieve in editing. That hit film was released at a time when production values remained tight, which they were often called "B" movies. STAR WARS has been the same thing, and it wasn't exactly clear that high-quality visuals would ever be possible. It would take more than the entire National Football League to create a 70s masterpiece. Lucas tried, and won by displaying a thrilling speed of action with a lightning fast pace. One example is the brief "hyperwarp" scene, where one blink of an eye ruins your day. When you have an incredible view of the fireworks, there's always a big plot to make more excitement. Like the movies themselves, one good story leads to another.
Without characters, there wouldn't be a movie at all. Make them appealing and then everyone can enjoy the fun. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) lives the adventure; Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is always the bold type; Chewbacca The Wookiee adds to the chemistry with his furry appearance; likeable droids C-3PO and R2-D2 are loved by the kids. But there's always the villain, Darth Vader whose familiarity would still be hated through fun, but always recognizable. This first installment actually serves as an introductory platform for the characters and their potential of things to come. We know them well, but this is only the beginning (in Episode four!). Keep in mind, though, that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has always been the central hero of the series. Pretty fascinating!
Always take notice of the 1997 Special Edition. This is a mandatory must for STAR WARS newcomers who still haven't taken advantage of the Force in all these years. The myth is that there aren't a whole lot of changes. The truth is that they're saying quite a lot because the editing of these enhancements is phenomenal, and hasn't been done before. It's a remarkable achievement in modern film technology, and the scene with Jabba The Hut explains why. Remember that some of original pieces of footage remain the same with a certainty of noticeable glitches, which is still a minor offense. Add to this some incredible restoration and we still have a sci-fi gem that will stick around longer while the new trilogy slowly builds on. Think of this, you're watching an entirely new movie!
I hope this original movie and the whole trilogy in itself doesn't fall victim to a terrible amount of backlash when EPISODE ONE arrives. That one will do excellent business based on our cravings for special effects; they actually sell the movies! Should it happen, this would be a fatal blow to preserving a quality image to American cinema, past or present. We must take for granted that movies are essential as entertainment, and how the many possibilities can be discovered. Judging a movie's popularity against the odds is only going to hurt it. It is currently being demonstrated with E.T. (1982) and TITANIC (1997), two highly acclaimed films that are receiving tons of negative criticism and scrutiny from the public. They do this by pushing popularity off the wall. At least we know how to handle STAR WARS movies carefully, and while we enjoy science fiction as a make-believe cushion, it's important to know that it took a genius like George Lucas to create a universe where excitement exceeds the imaginable. Without him, the movie industry would be in deep space beyond the far reaches of our galaxy. The greatest movie ever made? Only on a cult level; it is the best one for the crowd, but consider this a fine American piece of movie art for all.
The Force will be with us.....always.