Review: Star Wars Identities Exhibit
I finally managed to get my butt down to the Montreal Science Centre to see the Star Wars: Identities exhibit. If you are a fan of Star Wars, wether it be the movies, the books, the games or the cartoons, you need to see this exhibit. It ends on September 16th so there's still time to reserve some last minute tickets.
The exhibit explores what shapes our identity and is divided according to key factors into play when moulding one's self like birth place, parents, education, career, etc. At each of steps, you can listen to a short movie presentation specific to that stage in the development of one's identity with examples from the Star Wars universe, a interactive station for your own identity quest and artifacts from the movie.
Two heroes. They share the same genes. They come from the same planet. So what makes them so different? Follow Luke and Anakin Skywalker, cinema’s preeminent father and son duo, from their origins on Tatooine, to the friends and mentors they meet during adolescence, through the choices they make that will define them as adults.
You are provided with an audioguide for your visit. When you stand in front of one of the movie presentation, you will hear the movie's audio. The audioguide being basically a short range audio receiver, you'll need to stand in a specific area drawn on the floor or the audio will cut.
I liked the idea of everyone having their own headset because you could choose in which language you wanted to hear the presentation but mostly because it was easy to hear and understand the presentation in the crowded and slightly noisy exhibit. The only thing I found slightly annoying was that the presentations were looped so if you walked in mid-way through, you'd have to wait for the video to restart in order to see it from the beginning. I also found that I had to hold my audioguide in the air at crowded presentations in order for my receiver to work.
What I loved about the presentations were how they used Anakin and Luke as examples. Both share genes, similar experiences, similar background, same home planet yet they walked completely different paths and shaped opposite identities, one becoming a Sith Lord, the other, a Jedi Knight.
Interactive Identity Quest: Create Your Own Star Wars Character
Along with your audioguide, you are given a bracelet. At each station, you'll be presented with choices to make in order to create your own Star Wars Character. Once your choice made, you just need to scan your bracelet and all the information will be saved. For example, the first station asks for your race: human, ewok, mon calamari, etc. Another station will ask where you're from: Tatooine, Hoth, Alderaan, etc. Later on, you'll be presented with a dilemma and you'll have to make a life affecting decision. And so on and so forth until you reach the end of the exhibit where you can view your final character and email it for safekeeping. I made a Togrutat Jedi Knight. Check it out.
I really enjoyed the identity quest. It's by far one of the best interactive parcours I've seen in an exhibit. Each station were very easy to use: simply use the touch screen to answer a few simple questions. You're then prompted to scan your bracelet and once you get the confirmation that the data was saved, you move can move on to enjoy the next part of the exhibit. But as amazing as that was, it wasn't my favourite part of the exhibit because...
The interactive identity quest and the movie presentations were just icing on the cake for this exhibit. The pièce de résistance were all the props, costumes, storyboards and concept art on display. The original Yoda Puppet. Darth Vader's suit. All the models for the Rebel Forces and Empire starship fleet. Anakin's podracer. I spent most of my time just admiring the props and the artwork. Each major character had a touch screen placed in front of one their costume and you could scroll through facts that shaped that character's identity. It's worth a visit just to stand in front of the original Darth Vader suit.
This is a great activity for the Labour Day weekend. This exhibit is extremely popular so you need to reserve tickets in advance. If you're a Star Wars fan, you won't be disappointed.