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 (£75 per adult, in case you’re wondering).
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… 😉 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…
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! 😉 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:
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!
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:
(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….
WOW! And…. WTF? Shouldn’t it be Hoth? This isn’t A New Hope! Oh well – I hate being cold anyway. 😉 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.
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!!!!!
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.
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!”.
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:
Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a great weekend & may the force be with you. 🙂
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