I have a confession to make – I am not a Star Wars fan. I actually booked tickets for this exhibition for my boyfriend who is one.
In fact, I hadn’t actually watched any of the Star Wars films until I was about 20 so, when I think of the franchise I feel no excitement, and I have nothing to be nostalgic about. I’d actually made a point of never watching the films until I eventually relented for love.
It was this that made me book the exhibition as part of a birthday gift. I went in open-minded, and admittedly, quite excited. I hadn’t heard much about the exhibition but had a browse of the website beforehand. I liked what I saw. The front page reads:
Get to know the characters of STAR WARS™ on a whole new level and learn more about yourself in the process.
I was curious to see what Star Wars, of all films, could teach me about myself? Visiting yesterday I found that actually, it taught me a lot.
Before you enter the exhibition you’re given an audio guide which is very easy to use as well as a wristband. This little wristband is the key to your Star Wars identity and character that you actually get to create. It’s such an amazing concept, and a really cool piece of technology. Anyway, more on that later.
To begin, you watch a short introductory video which introduces the characters of Luke and Anakin (for me obviously this was quite new), but genuine fans benefit from this too – you’re given a brief summary of the characters and learn that you are going to follow them on their journey, whilst creating your own. You embark on an “Adventure into Identity” as the film explains.
After this you get to choose your own alien race. This is where the wristband factors in.
There are ten parts to the exhibition, nine of which allow you to scan your wristband and interact to create your character. Anyway, I named mine Narin (of course) and chose to be a Twi’lek (mainly because I liked the way they looked).
You go through the exhibition, which is actually much more scientific (and surprisingly very intelligent, nothing is dumbed down), and encounter the many factors of identity e.g. culture, your peers, parenting etc. Every section has a short video, explaining the theory behind it, and relating it to both Luke and Anakin . Every section also has the characters that millions love and Lucas’ thought process behind their creation. For me this was all completely new. I loved Jar Jar Binks (controversial, I know) and all of his 3D character sculptures. Of course, all of the most loved and well known characters are present.
Throughout the exhibition you see amazing pieces from the films: props, costumes, and other general mis-en-scene that even I was so excited by. Really I had such an amazing experience.
Eventually, unfortunately, you come to the end of the exhibition, where you enter a large room. Here, you enter your email address to have your character sent to you (double check that you receive your email before leaving) and get to see it on a large screen.
Here are a few of the things that I liked about the exhibition:
- I loved its interactivity – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Truly immersive.
- I appreciated the fact that it was also a serious exhibition with the science explained intellectually.
- The exhibition was very well organised, and the layout was excellent – it flowed perfectly.
- Even though I am not a fan I enjoyed learning about the characters that have become so popular and liked the way in which their identities were explained.
- Really and truly I loved getting my own little digital souvenir and seeing what I would be like if I came from the Star Wars universe.
And a few of the things that I disliked:
- I would have liked a little longer in there – I felt a bit rushed towards the end.
- It seemed as if the identity software was a little too generic, maybe some personality tests would have been nice but I get that it’s clearly new technology and this will hopefully be developed at a later date.
- The booking process is a bit awkward.
- It’s only in two languages unfortunately: English and French.
That’s about it really. One more thing I would add is that I wouldn’t take small/young children in there. It’s quite pricey and think that the interactive element would be lost on them (which is very clearly why it’s so expensive).
So basically, I had an amazing time and definitely enjoyed it more than my boyfriend did (even though he loved it too!).
You can buy tickets here. The exhibition runs until 3rd September 2017, tickets start at £20 for adults and £10 for children.
Thanks for reading, I had no idea this would be such a long post!