It would be easy to write off the new “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry as a money-grubbing attempt to capitalize on what has steadfastly remained, despite widespread criticism of Lucas and the newer films, one of the most celebrated phenomena in pop culture history. That said, shameless ploy or not, it’s still pretty damn cool—in the most nerdy, uncool, rabid otaku-like way possible, of course. Yeah, there are a lot of neat exploratory stations that let kids play around with robotics, magnetic levitation and other scientific-learning-made-fun-type deals—including one legitimately impressive terminal that transforms a tabletop and movable tiles into different Star Wars landscapes, allowing the user to hover ominously over an unfolding Tatooine civilization on a projected video screen—but let’s face it, the real draw here is the collection of models, costumes, props and other goodies taken from the six “Star Wars” films. From Chewbacca to R2-D2, lightsabers and laser blasters, Darth Vader’s disassembled helmet, model starfighters and Luke Skywalker’s very own life-size landspeeder—wheels and all—it’s a veritable fanboy paradise. And, as with any good fanboy convention, be sure to check out the mass of memorabilia on sale, where you can even pick up a pet Yoda costume for your dog. (Sean Redmond)
“Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” shows at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 South Lake Shore, (773)684-1414, through January 6.