This weekend, I had the Star Wars Secret Cinema to look forward to.
Unlike the Back to the Future one, I was actually going to get dressed up in a suitable outfit. And after spending an afternoon traipsing around various fabric and charity shops in Walthamstow, I had got my costume together costing about a tenner.
So my plan for the weekend was to have a quiet night on Friday, get some writing done during the day on Saturday and go to Secret Cinema, then do an Edinburgh preview in Balham on Sunday afternoon.
Just as I was about to leave the office on Friday, I remembered that I needed to print my ticket. However, when I saw the date on my ticket I realised that I hadn’t booked for Saturday at all. I had actually booked for Friday. I haven’t had much luck with this event, first I booked a child’s ticket in my excitement, and then I forget exactly when I’m meant to be there.
The problem with getting everything organised for my Edinburgh show and now having more responsibilities at work is that anything that doesn’t fall into one of those categories can get overlooked.
I thought about heading back to my house to get my outfit, but this would probably delay me by about an hour and a half. So I had to head straight there in my civilian clothes. Well, I say ‘civilian clothes’, but I was actually wearing a niche Star Wars reference t-shirt for Tosche Station power converters. And to think, I’d spent all that time perfecting my Jar Jar Binks look for nothing.
The event was talking place at an old printing works in Canada Water. The organisers had impressively recreated a wretched hive of scum and villainy in the place where they used to print the Daily Mail. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it certainly gives the whole thing a satirical slant.
The scope of the event is huge, taking in space travel, Tatooine and a space station, not a moon. They’ve done a great job recreating the look and feel of the Star Wars universe, looking around you know exactly the world you’re meant to be in.
Actors in costumes were walking around throughout proceedings, re-enacting certain points in the films. It’s always a thrill to see Stormtroopers, Boba Fett and Darth Vader, even if they aren’t the real ones.
The most impressive moment is when [spoiler alert] they re-enact the attack on the first Death Star, with the trench run featuring a full-sized X-wing suspended from the ceiling and moving around as if it’s actually flying.
In many ways, it was a lot easier for the Back to the Future event they did. The film was set on Earth, with clothes, technology and vehicles having really existed in the 1980s or 1950s, apart from the time-travelling ones. Star Wars is almost the exact opposite, with everything having been created specifically for that universe.
It was always going to take a lot to top Back to the Future and I applaud the Secret Cinema team for their ambition in realising such a massive project.
There is no getting away from the cost for a ticket. It is £80. And the more money you spend on things, the higher your expectations are. I enjoyed Back to the Future more, mainly because it was a bit more laid back. You had a chance to explore and take in the surroundings. Although you can spend a fair amount of time exploring Mos Eisley with this event, it did feel a bit like you were being ushered around. I can understand that though, it was inevitable with such a gargantuan undertaking.
But if you’re a Star Wars fan, you will find a lot of stuff to enjoy. If I could go again at a discounted rate, I definitely would. If I can also get my voided child ticket upgraded and pay another £20, then I would also go again. I’ll make sure I wear my costume, even if it involves wearing it to work.