Star Wars' The Ewok Adventure Has A Connection To Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

"Star Wars" has always been a fairy tale at its core. The phrase "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" conjures visions of mythic adventures and imaginative settings as much as "Once upon a time" does. Yet, no entries in the franchise have held truer to this ethos than, arguably, the infamous live-action Ewok movies (and if you're surprised to hear me say that, then you clearly haven't looked at my author page before).

Now relegated to the non-canon sectors of the "Star Wars" universe, 1984's "Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure" (originally released as "The Ewok Adventure") was a made-for-TV movie following the cuddly murder teddy bears of the forest moon of Endor as they set out to reunite two young humans with their parents. Despite its limited budget, "An Ewok Adventure" is often just as visually accomplished as other theatrical '80s fantasy features thanks to the production design by VFX wizard-turned-filmmaker Joe Johnston (director of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "The Rocketeer") and then cutting-edge techniques utilized by Industrial Light & Magic artists to make its matte painting backdrops more convincing. This serves the film well as it accompanies its heroes through a series of encounters with fantastic entities and locations, ranging from boar-wolves — which look exactly what they sound like — to an enchanted lake that traps its victims beneath its surface, gigantic spiders, and a towering, hairy creature known as the Gorax.

However, "An Ewok Adventure" goes a step beyond other "Star Wars" movies by integrating a narrator who makes the whole thing feel like a bedtime story that's being read out loud — a narrator whose voice most people have unquestionably heard at some point in their lives thanks to director Larry Roemer's 1964 stop-motion Christmas TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

A fitting narrator for an Ewok fairy tale

Along with Thurl Ravenscroft's inimitable rendition of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from the 1966 "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" cartoon special, Burl Ives' performances of "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" have probably been passed into the fetuses of multiple generations subconsciously along with all the amniotic stuff (and here I thought being able to quote "Sliding Doors" off the top of my head would never be helpful). Ives recorded the tunes while voicing Sam the Snowman, the narrator of Roemer's "Rudolph" special and a character who, apparently, looks like the brother of Taylor Swift's current boyfriend to a lot of people. Personally, I think those Yukon Cornelius comparisons make more sense, but that's just me.

Ives' soothing, wizened vocals and undemanding narration are perfectly tailored for "An Ewok Adventure," a humble fairy tale that has no pretensions of being anything other than a basic parable about the importance of helping others in their time of need and the relationships forged in the process. It's not the best Ewok picture; that honor belongs to the 1985 sequel "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor," a film that opens by killing off most of the heroes from the first movie in a shocking, brutal manner before turning into a "Lord of the Rings" or "Chronicles of Narnia"-style war epic. (Literally, there's a tie-in book titled "The Ring, The Witch, and The Crystal: An Ewok Adventure," in case you think I'm exaggerating.) Even so, "An Ewok Adventure" holds many of the same simple charms as similar '80s titles like "The Dark Crystal," and Ives' voiceover is a major part of that. 

(Seriously, though, if you like your "Star Wars" dark and pulpy, you should at least watch "The Battle for Endor.")