Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
The Force hits Montreal
Star Wars exhibit at science centre
Where did you go?
To the Star Wars Identities Exhibit at the Montreal Science Centre.
Science fiction at a science centre. Interesting.
Interesting indeed. The exhibit explores the nature of human identity through the Star Wars characters. It features 200 items from the Lucasfilm Archives, including costumes, models, props, movie clips and drawings.
How can a Star Wars character explain human identity?
This is where the science part comes in. The exhibit is divided into three major themes that determine human identity: origin, influences and personal choice. Within each theme, the personality and actions of the Star Wars characters are analyzed. This is followed by an explanation of the science underlying these concepts and how they influence our identity.
Can you give me an example of this?
Alongside the scientific explanation of how social interaction affects who we are is a discussion explaining how Luke's personality was shaped by his relationship with Yoda and his friendship with the rebel alliance. The section describing how culture determines our identity includes a discussion of the bizarre subculture on the planet Tatooine and the activities going on in Jabba's Palace.
What is on display from the Lucasfilm Archives?
Even if you are not a fan of the Star Wars movies, it's hard not to get excited by life-size replicas of Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Yoda and all the rest, wearing the actual movie costumes. My favourites were R2D2 and C3PO. There are large-scale models of Pod racers, Starfighters, and the Millennium Falcon, sketches and anecdotes that show character and story development, as well as an interactive exercise in which you create your own Star Wars character.
Your own character? How does that work?
Visitors are given a wristband and asked to choose a Star Wars character. By swiping the band at various displays throughout the exhibit, personality traits are attributed to the character. At the end of the exhibit, their unique character is displayed on a large screen, along with its storyline. The profile can also be sent to you via email. My character was a female ewok who, despite being intelligent and benevolent, joined the dark side.
Are audio guides available?
Yes and they are definitely worthwhile. The earpiece automatically activates when standing inside a marked area on the floor and provides additional interesting background on each area.
Is there anything else I should know?
Throughout the exhibit, tidbits of information are revealed about the evolution of the movie's characters and plot. I discovered Luke's surname was initially Starkiller and that before settling on Darth Vader, George Lucas considered the name Dark Water. It was fascinating to learn Yoda's creators chose to convey his wisdom by giving him the eyes of the most intelligent person they could think of -- Albert Einstein.
Sounds like it is not only about the science.
For sure the Star Wars memorabilia could stand alone as an attraction, but the organizers have done such a good job of embedding the science into the displays, it makes learning fun.
Is this a permanent exhibit at the Science Centre?
Montreal is the world première of the of the exhibition's 12-city world tour. Edmonton is the only other Canadian stop. It will be in Montreal until Sept. 16.
How much does it cost?
Admission is $23 for adults; $20 for seniors and teens 13-17; $13.50 for children 4-12, and; $63 for a family. Price includes audio guide, wristband and access to the general museum. Tickets can be purchased online for a $3 transaction fee.
When is it open?
Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Summer hours (beginning June 24) are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Last entrance to the exhibit is always 1 1/2 hours before closing.
How do I get there?
The Montreal Science Centre is at the end of Saint-Laurent Boulevard on King Edward Pier, in the Old Port of Montreal. From the Trans-Canada (Highway 40), follow Highway 15 (Autoroute Decarie) to Highway 720 East (Ville-Marie Autoroute) and exit at Berri-Saint-Laurent. Turn right. Turn right again at de la Commune Street.
By metro, exit at Place d'Armes.
Is there parking?
Parking across from the Science Centre is $16 for three hours, $18 for three to 12 hours.
Where can I get more information or buy tickets?
montrealsciencecentre.com/ exhibitions/star-wars-identities.html or 1-877-496-4724.
-- Postmedia News
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 d9