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The Force is strong in this exhibition...
The Art of Star Wars (Edinburgh)
Member Name: collingwood21
The Art of Star Wars (Edinburgh)
Date: 23/05/02, updated on 23/05/02 (164 review reads)
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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a couple went to Edinburgh for a romantic weekend to celebrate 4 years of having put up with each other. While searching for something to do (preferably indoors) after visiting a very windswept castle, they came across a large building with a giant picture of C3PO on the front. They sensed a disturbance in the Force that told them this would be a good place to escape from the Scottish weather, and went inside...
This refuge from the Edinburgh climate is the City Art Centre on Market Street. If you head over Waverley Bridge (outside the railway station) away from Princes Street, and then turn left, this will bring you to the art centre. It is about 5 minutes walk from Waverley Station, and is well advertised by the banners outside so you can?t miss the building very easily!
● The Exhibition
Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory really. The Art of Star Wars takes you behind the scenes of the films, showing you how they were made, who was involved, what the costumes and props were like and how the sound effects were achieved. This is a touring exhibition that is slowly making its way around the country (having already been to Bradford and London), this being its only stop in Scotland (where it resides until 8th September 2002). The main focus of the exhibition is the first four Star Wars films, although since May 17th Edinburgh has had the world exclusive opportunity of displaying 40 new exhibits from Episode 2.
The art centre has the exhibits arranged across all five floors of the building. In the basement are the interactives and the shop - this is where you can play games and use computer programs based around Star Wars, as well as view original film posters from across the world. This bit is of course very popular with children (and boyfriends), so there tends to be queues to actually use most of the set-ups. The shop is pretty good though,
and sells just about every piece of Star Wars merchandise going, as well as posters and t-shirts advertising the exhibition.
Up on the entrance level floor, once you have recovered from the shock of the ticket prices, you can view Anakin Skywalker?s pod racer from Episode 1, and some of the original concept artwork from all five films. This allows you to see just how the team originally designed planets, situations and characters to look, as well as some of the original hand-painted backgrounds from the original trilogy. This for me was the less interesting part of the exhibition, but die-hard fans will surely enjoy it.
On floor 2 are the models from the films. Housed in glass cases are the genuine Ewoks and Jawas, and you get to come face to face with the first Yoda (he was given a new hi-tech model for the modern films). There is also the chance to see detailed models, try on latex character masks (which kids love), and try out a working model built by Industrial Light and Magic to demonstrate how the facial expressions of animatronic aliens are controlled by operators using joysticks. This last piece was dropping to bits from over-use, but this didn't stop me from having a go anyway!
Floor 3 is home to the costume exhibits. On show are two of Queen Amidala's dresses, the Boba Fett costume from the original films, the outfits of Luke and Han from Return of the Jedi, Leia?s Hoth costume, and the clothes worn by Liam Neeson and Darth Maul in Phantom Menace. And, yes, you do get to see their light sabres as well, which was very, very cool. This gallery includes a video featuring Lucas and the main costume designers explaining how the costumes were made, and where their inspiration came from in designing them. I loved this gallery and spent the most time there, especially in watching the film through to see just how these amazing clothes came about.
The top floor finishes off the exhibition with a chance to learn ab
out how the music and sound effects were produced from the films. Who would have thought that the battle tanks were in fact the sound of an electric razor in a bowl? But by far the best bit of the show is kept to last, when you can enter the annexe that contains the Darth Vadar costume. Amazing, but some small children may find this a little bit scary. Also on this floor are C3PO, R2D2 and a selection of other original droid characters from the first four films.
Edinburgh city museums service is complementing this exhibition with a programme of educational and artistic events for all ages.
● The good bits
- Very, very cool :-)
- Enjoyable by all ages with an interest in Star Wars
- Full disabled access
- Excellent range of exhibits and good hands-on displays
- Good visitor facilities
- Easy to find site
● The bad bits
However much I enjoyed this, I have to admit that nothing is perfect...
- High entrance price
- Limited venues
- No student discount on entry
- Very busy at weekends
Adult ticket - £6
Child/OAP ticket - £4.50
Family ticket - £16
No student discount
The Art of Star Wars is open until September 8th. You can visit Mon, Tues, Fri and Sat 10am to 6pm or Thurs 10am to 8pm or Sun noon to 5pm - contact the gallery if you require more details (2 Market Street Edinburgh, 0131 529 3993). All parts of the exhibition are accessible for wheelchair users.