I Went To Secret Cinema’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

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For anyone who doesn’t know, Secret Cinema is an event that’s been going on in London for several years now where you go to watch a movie, yes, but you do this while experiencing recreations of events & scenes from that movie’s “world”. I’d heard a little about it but it got more attention than usual last year when they did Back To The Future but had some problems in getting the whole thing ready on time. When they did manage it, though, I saw photos of a recreated Hill Valley and it looked pretty damn amazing. Despite the problems, I wished I’d been able to go. When this year’s movie was announced, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, we immediately bought tickets (Β£75 per adult, in case you’re wondering).

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Was it worth the price? I’d say “yes”. It’s a lot of money to pay to watch a movie but, obviously, you aren’t just watching a movie. To fully enjoy this one, I’d say you have to be a pretty die hard Star Wars fan. But… I’m not sure why you’d go to Secret Cinema if you aren’t a huge fan of the movie being shown? Do I like Star Wars? Of course – I love it! The original three are some of my very favorite movies ever. I grew up with them and I’ll always love them (not the prequels!) but I’m not an obsessive fan in the way a lot of Star Wars fans are known to be. Did I go all cosplay or wear a huge homemade Millennium Falcon on my head like one guy who was there? No. I’m far too self-conscious to do stuff like that! Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I was a bit more fun than I actually am… πŸ˜‰ I’ll talk about my experience now. This will have some SPOILERS for anyone who may have tickets to go see this but I won’t reveal too much…

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I’d say that Secret Cinema is great fun for anyone who really gets into the whole “game” and the role-playing involved. As soon as we bought tickets, we got e-mails about various secret events that have been & are still going on. But that’s classified info so I can’t discuss the details! πŸ˜‰ Every e-mail talks of your “secret mission” and no actual address details are given. You’re not going to London – you’re going to a Galaxy Far, Far Away! Close to the time of your “departure”, you’re e-mailed the location of where your “flight” will take off. A link brings you to a map with just enough real-world details to find the location. But first, we had to stop at the secret shop for SUPPLIES:

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You are NOT required to dress up. However, I took the e-mails seriously & got a little stressed out thinking that we wouldn’t be allowed in without at least having some of the things listed. I chose a character that allowed me to dress in regular, all black clothing (I’m very boring!). It was very hot so I feel sorry for those in full Jedi robes… Once there, you’re given a stamp on your wrist. Look! My arm!

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As this whole thing is top secret, no photos are allowed. So, unfortunately, I have no cool photos to share with you. When you get there, an actor gives you instructions for your mission then you go through an area where your phones are put in a sealed bag. You do get to keep your phone, though, which was nice as I didn’t like the thought of handing my phone over to them. Well, here’s me in my scarf & goggles after the event:

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(Hopefully you’re all still here after that…). Here’s my one big SPOILER but this has been mentioned in enough articles now that I can say they’ve recreated….
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Tatooine!

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WOW! And…. WTF? Shouldn’t it be Hoth? This isn’t A New Hope! Oh well – I hate being cold anyway. πŸ˜‰ There were plenty of actors all dressed up and acting out scenes as you walked around. Some talked to you but you didn’t have to get too involved if, like me, you’re not totally comfortable with all that.

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After a while on Tatooine, we moved onto the next stage of the mission. This is still a big secret but it was very well done & I enjoyed this bit a lot.

THEN………. We watched the movie!!!!!

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It’s funny – it had already been a long night full of so much entertainment that I kind of kept forgetting we’d all be watching the movie at the end of it. I have to say it was a long evening and I was exhausted by the end of it. They say no kids under 8 are allowed but we saw a few kids who were definitely not 8, which was disappointing as we have a six-year-old who would’ve LOVED the whole experience. But it’s a very long night for young ones…

The entertainment didn’t end when the movie began as several key scenes were acted out while they played on screen. It was fun watching this movie in a room full of (1,500!) massive Star Wars fans and hearing what bits got the biggest reactions. The biggest cheer was when we see Han Solo for the first time. Everyone loves Han! Luke & Yoda got cheers and, luckily, so did Leia (after a wolf-whistle). Darth Vader of course got a boo.

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One of the biggest reactions, though, was from the female fans during the kiss scene. I’m happy to report that at least 40% of the people at Secret Cinema were FEMALE! Possibly even 45%. So…. Time to stop ignoring us female geeks, world! Time to start making Princess Leia toys easily available for our daughters, dammit!! (Okay – I’ve ranted enough about that in the past. I’ll move on!). Speaking of Leia & kissing, the reaction to her kissing Luke was pretty hilarious and there was of course one shout of “They’re gonna regret that later!”.

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If anyone is at all interested, tickets for Secret Cinema are apparently still available for some of the week nights. I’d definitely recommend this to those who are massive Star Wars fans but, if you’re just a casual fan, I’d say you wouldn’t really appreciate it. I probably enjoyed it slightly less than the cosplay/role-playing types of people but I found the scene reenactments a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the “world” they created. Maybe someday I’ll make more of an effort and dress up as Bespin Leia – that’s always been my favorite look & hairdo:

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Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a great weekend & may the force be with you. πŸ™‚

Oh… I suppose I should rate this like my movie reviews!

My Secret Cinema Rating: 8/10

My Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back Movie Rating: 10/10

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66 thoughts on “I Went To Secret Cinema’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

  1. I so want to read this in full but I’m going next month so I can’t (I spotted the world spoiler as I skim-read!). I went to the Back to the Future one last year and really enjoyed it, so looking forward to this.

    • Oh, cool! We’ll have to discuss it once you’ve gone. Yeah – I mention one thing that’s been mentioned a lot online but I know some people want to know nothing whatsoever beforehand (I knew nothing). πŸ™‚ Any questions I can answer for you here spoiler-free?

      • Yes. Does deep space have a better toilet system than Earth? Wiping is tiresome, and the bΓ©dΓ©e is invasive. IPC Eric might be able to shed some light on this for me.

      • HA! I’m a girl – I would know nothing about these things as I don’t engage in such activities. I’m sure Eric can tell you every possible thing there is to know about, um, wiping and stuff…. However, I can tell you that the temporary toilets were the nicest temporary toilets I’ve ever seen! Hey… Hi! How have you been? πŸ™‚

      • Thanks but I think the fewer questions I ask the better! I’m looking forward to it and promise to come back for a more thorough read once I’ve been!

  2. I’ve been to Secret Cinema once back when they didn’t tell you what the film was. In my case it was Brazil, which is a film I loved… but I appeared to be the only person there who had seen it. I had a whale of a time and it was such fun!

    • Yeah – I thought the film used to be secret as well. That would be cool! Although also kind of sucky if it ended up being a film you hated… Did they recreate the Brazil world?? That would be a bit of a bizarre one. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m not a Star Wars fan but having been to Back to the Future last year, I can say I’d definitely do another one, if the film was right.

    The thing I wasn’t mad about was ALL THE NEVER ENDING pre event emails, and how we didn’t get to use any of the props they told us to bring. I’m still not sure how they were meant to fit in.

    • Lol. Yeah…. I can see how some probably had fun with all the emails but I wasn’t into all that. And it was the same with the “props” we brought to the Star Wars thing. Think it’s just for show but I think you could have TRIED to use some of ours with the actors. But I’m too shy & self conscious to get TOO involved. πŸ™‚ Back To The Future looked really cool!! Think I’d almost have preferred that one judging by the pictures.

      • BTTF was really good. I’m not sure what you’d need to do to get involved with the actors/props. I think these events are on such a massive scale now that unless you’re exactly in the right spot at the right time, or are the kind of person to push to the front, it’s hard to get involved. Plus, like you, I’m actually happier to hang back.

        I wonder what they’ll do next. I’d love it if they did Labyrinth!

      • Yeah…. I’d rather hide in the crowd. πŸ˜‰ I was a little uncomfortable when one actor talked to us! Oh man…. Labyrinth would be awesome!!!! I’d totally go! πŸ™‚

  4. What is this movie you’re talking about and 75 pounds is like 300 dollars here. That’s a lot to go see a movie from 1985 (or so).

    : )

    • It was! I enjoyed it. I hope they do another all-time favorite of mine – I’d definitely go again. And hooray for female geeks! There are loads of us these days. πŸ™‚

  5. Loving the pics here and the review! So many memories and such a brilliant night. It’s funny how we went on the same weekend. Just remembered the stamp thing! Mine rubbed off not long after they did it thanks to the hot weather + Jedi robe. Where was Hoth when I needed it? The scene reactions from the crowd happened in my screening as well. I do remember shouting “awkward” during Luke/Leia’s kiss which drew in a few laughs around me. Best reaction is Darth Vader’s confession – a unanimous “nnnnooooo” from everyone. Hilarious stuff.

    It would be interesting to know what they do next after this. I did the Back to the Future Secret Cinema last year and that was brill. If they did Indiana Jones next, I’ll be rocking a fedora hat.

  6. Cutey Mutey!!!!! This sounds pretty awesome. Too bad I’m nowhere near as into Star Wars as I would need to be to go to this year’s edition, but man I’m going to keep my eyes on this event for the future. This just sounds great for cinephiles!!!

    Also, very lovely to have finally met you. I think my new name for you fits. πŸ˜‰

    • Tom!!!!! You’re so sweet. I need a nickname for you! Hmm… Nothing good rhymes with Tom. Tom the Bomb! Hmm…. Lol. I’ll keep thinking. This was loads of fun! I’d definitely go again if they do another movie I really love. Too bad I missed the Shawshank one! Although… I’m not sure how much fun being in a prison will have been… I want them to do The Princess Bride! πŸ™‚

      • Tom the Bomb. Tom the Toolbag. Tom the Twit. There are lots of things to go with!! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

        Man, a Princess Bride version would be epic. Tickets would be in my hand in a heartbeat.

      • Aww… You’re not a twit! Although I’ve always loved that word. Lol. And I already call Eric a Tosser so we can’t go with that. Plus, you’re not a Tosser. πŸ™‚ You’re a Princess Bride fan too?? Woohoo! Man I love that movie…

      • Yeah it’s definitely up there for me. A top ten favorite probably!

        “As you wish” might be one of my favorite movie quotes haha

        Tom the Bong?
        Tom the Schlong…
        Tom the Pom
        Tom da Dong
        Tom the ….

    • It was pretty great! Yeah – I’m now really looking forward to seeing what movie they do next year. I’d totally go again if it’s another movie I love! I think you’d enjoy it. Be on the lookout for the next one! πŸ™‚

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  9. OK came back for a read now that I’ve been! I’d agree it was well worth it, my wife and I had an amazing time. I’m a bit like you in that I feel a bit awkward interacting with the actors, but we did get involved quite a bit before the film. It’s interesting how people genuinely react to stormtroopers and people dressed as Imperial officers, too – averting eye contact, moving out of the way, etc. etc. It was hot though, and I was one of the Jedi style characters so my decision to wear my brown dressing gown backfired! Anyway – cool article. I went to Back to the Future last year and kind of hope they do Raiders of the Lost Ark next.

    • Aww – I felt so sorry for people really dressed up as it was really hot when I went too! Lol. Glad you had a good time. πŸ™‚ Ha – yeah, I took it quite seriously in a way. Like “oh my god – stay away from the bad guys…” I’m jealous you went to Back to the Future! That one looked really good. I’d love it if they do Indiana Jones next – I’d definitely go to that. πŸ™‚ Are you going to do a post about this? I’ll have to be on the lookout for it!

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