The massive new ‘Star Wars’ exhibit at Madame Tussauds in London sees two floors taken over with characters and sets from the mega movie franchise. Film fanboy Tom Huddleston files his report from a waxy galaxy not so far away.
‘I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee!’
If, like Princess Leia (and a surprising number of my female friends), you’ve always dreamed of snuggling up with fabulously furry intergalactic playboy Chewbacca, you’re in luck. At the new Madame Tussauds exhibit, punters are encouraged to stroke, nuzzle and generally get physical with several waxy ‘Star Wars’ legends (within reason, of course). The Millennium Falcon cockpit set is undoubtedly the coolest aspect of the exhibition – not only do you get to occupy the pilot’s seat, bark orders at your hirsute co-pilot and mess around with the painstakingly recreated pre-digital control panel, you can also hit the red button and blast off into hyperspace thanks to some nifty projection technology. Punch it, Chewie!
The poses, the costumes and especially the haircuts at the Madame Tussauds exhibit are just plain breathtaking: ten professional ‘hair-inserters’ spent more than 1,000 hours covering Chewbacca’s frame in yak hair. But if anything, we’re more impressed by the old-school insouciance of Han Solo’s ’70s feathered ’do. Every character here comes replete with clever little details: Han’s utility belt is bristling with tools for a spot of spaceship DIY (plus a weighty steel blaster); C-3PO’s golden chassis is caked in oil and Tatooine sand; and the snot rolling down Jabba the Hutt’s face is genuinely nauseating.
‘I felt him... Skywalker is here’
Lads, please, break it up! Unsurprisingly, lightsabers are a key element of the ‘Star Wars’ exhibit. The very first set-up beautifully recreates the three-way ‘Duel of the Fates’ (aka the good bit in ‘The Phantom Menace’ between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and the villainous Darth Maul). And if you’ve ever fantasised about taking on that smirking traitor Anakin Skywalker, Madame Tussauds staff will provide visitors with their own laser sword for a quick mock battle. But the main attraction is the Death Star Throne Room where cinema’s most dysfunctional father-son duo, Luke and Big Daddy Darth, square off in an almighty battle of good versus evil, all under the nose of sneering, cackling Sith-crone Emperor Palpatine.
‘I have a bad feeling about this’
It was embarrassing enough when George Lucas opted to take the universe’s leading (only) blaster-packing female badass and dress her up in dodgy fetish gear for ‘Return of the Jedi’. Did Madame Tussauds really have to follow suit, bondage chains and all? Princess Leia is a role model for millions of girls worldwide, but somehow we don’t think they’re the target audience for this creepily hyper-realistic sculpture. At least the hapless princess gets to perch in front of the exhibit’s largest and most impressive figure: a wonderfully grotesque, 35-stone, saliva-drenched and sluglike Jabba the Hutt.