24 April 2017

Star Wars Identities

What do you do when you get the chance to enjoy a Star Wars experience on a Bank Holiday Friday? Accept, of course. I brought along my Stepdad, a huge fan, and myself - a huge fan of Yoda, Carrie Fisher and Natalie Portman...

Although the exhibition is at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, we steered clear of the restaurants for lunch beforehand. The O2 has every kind of outlet, offering every kind of cuisine, but it lacks soul, y'know? My Stepdad doesn't come to London much, so I wanted to take him somewhere not too far away that had a bit of a buzz.

So I took him to The Breakfast Club by London Bridge, and we both indulged in The All-American (eggs any way you like, crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, patatas bravas, herby sausage and maple syrup, ohmygosh) with frothy coffee and a glass of Prosecco each. So delicious.

Classic soya cappuccino and Prosecco combo

Then we made our way to North Greenwich to feel the force (we were given a time slot, so couldn't be late!)...

When you go into the exhibition you're given a rubber bracelet with a magnetic tag inside, an over-the-ear headphone (singular) and plastic disc which you're instructed to keep facing outwards. It's all very technical.

You're then guided into a room for a video, which introduces you to the format of the exhibition. It's a walk-through, interactive experience, whereby you create you own Star Wars Identity by considering what makes you, you. Your species, where you grew up, the parenting style you were raised with, etc.

Interwoven with this are the corresponding stories of Luke and Anakin Skywalker, who both grew up on the same planet, but become hugely different people; the latter, of course, succumbing to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader.

You select each decision (there are 10 in total) with your rubber bracelet, simply holding it up to the hexagonal to 'log' it. It makes a beeping sound to show your answer has been logged.

As well as decision-making, there's loads of Star Wars memorabilia, as well as case studies on particularly famous characters, such as Yoda, Jabba the Hut and Jar Jar Binks. Voiceovers are activated when you walk into specified carpeted areas which have a speaker symbol within them. Snazzy.

You could pick between English and French on the headphone device, but no other languages...? And this was reflected in the collateral too. It was odd.

The best bits, for me, were all the costumes and models.

 The stormtroopers - my Mum used to be terrified of these!
 The robotic companions - R2D2, CP30 and BB-8
 Various ships, jets, destroyers...
 Queen Amadala's outfits

After you've chosen 9 of the 10 identity pathways, you're led to your final decision - do you stay on the path of the good and righteous, like Luke? Or do you chose the dark side, like Anakin?

You get to face the most evil of characters...

Anyone remember Darth Maul? Freaky.

And what Star Wars exhibition would be complete without encountering the emblem of darkness himself?

When you've made your decision, you enter a separate room to reveal your identity.

Here was mine (FYI, when I tried to type my name it kept messing up, but it kind of serves to look more sci-fi, so I'm going to roll with it).

Hello, yes, my name is S OFIIE. 

You have the option to send your full profile to your email address, which we chose (of course). It's an extended biography of who you are, incorporating all your identity 'choices' made along the way. My Stepdad and I compared ours, and it's obviously standardised copy, adapted, but still interesting.

The whole 'choosing your identity' premise isn't what I expected - I thought it would take into account your upbringing, personality etc and transform you into a character based on that. But actually, for the most part you could choose who you want to be.

I think the identity part was of far more interest to the younger generation; the older generation (me included) seemed to get more of a kick out of the memorabilia - the models, the sketches, the costumes - of which had an incredible attention to detail. A good day out for Star Wars fans, for sure.

**I was invited to Star Wars: Identities in exchange for review. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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